Hometown driver Giesler wins Naylor Classic at Meridian

Hometown driver Giesler wins Naylor Classic at Meridian

By Jon Brown, MERIDIAN, Idaho — Wednesday night, it was Johnny Giesler’s turn to win the duel of Meridian.

Two days after finishing second in the first leg of Northwest Asphalt Speedweek to fellow Meridian driver Mike Murgoitio, Giesler got a big jump on a late restart to win the Bob and Tom Naylor Classic 50 in the second race of the Canadian-American Western Winged Sprintcars season at ASA-sanctioned Meridian Speedway.

“It was great for us,” the 2010 Naylor champion said. “I’ve been chasing a win for this year, and I couldn’t think of a better one than this trophy sitting right here.”

The victory gave Giesler a four-point lead in the Western Winged Sprints standings after two races. Murgoitio sits in second.

Murgoitio was runner-up two nights after winning the Western Winged Sprints season opener at Rocky Mountain Raceways in West Valley City, Utah. Wyatt King completed a Meridian sweep of the top three in the Naylor.

In other memorial races Wednesday:

Reigning Pit Stop Drive Thru Mini Stocks series champion Ray Bolinger of Meridian survived the crash-filled LeeRoy Nelson Memorial 40.

Another Meridian driver, Shelby Stroebel, won the Sean Miller Memorial 40 for Modifieds.

Dylan Caldwell, a 2010 Nampa High School graduate, climbed the fence on the north end to celebrate his victory in the Bill Crow Memorial 40 for the NAPA Late Models.

“It feels awesome,” Caldwell said. “Ever since we’ve been running Late Models, I’ve been wanting to get my name on that trophy.”

Caldwell dedicated his race to Jeff Russell, the Boise racer who was seriously injured in an October 2010 crash at a Las Vegas speedway.

“He’s the one who got me into racing,” Caldwell said.

Wednesday’s Naylor Classic was shaping up to be a carbon copy of the WWS opener in Utah as King roared out to the front of the 16-car field.

But Giesler began an amazingly fast march to the front after something broke on Dave Parrie’s sprinter, sending the Eagle, Idaho driver into the Turn 3 wall and bringing out the yellow flag on Lap 6.

Nine laps later, Giesler was knocking on King’s backdoor, reigniting a rivalry that first sparked when both young drivers were locked in wingless duels in the Pepsi Sprintcars at Meridian two years ago.

Giesler seized his opportunity and flashed by King on the low side moments after the race leader got stuck behind Caldwell, Idaho’s Matt Elliott, whose No. 77 racer slowed in Turn 1.

After shaking West Jordan, Utah’s Ryan Burdett to take control of third place, Murgoitio set his sights on the front of the field. Giesler built a four-second lead while Murgoitio and King duked it out for second.

Murgoitio’s last chance at a second WWS victory came with 10 laps left after 2011 Naylor champion Sierra Jackson of Middleton, Idaho, rolled to a stop on the frontstretch with a flat right rear tire.

Giesler got a break because the WWS requires a single-file restart when 10 or fewer laps are left in a feature, and the lapped car of Salt Lake City driver Jimmy Waters stood between Murgoitio and his chances to catch the Johnny the Jet.

“This kid that won it tonight is one of the best,” Glen Naylor, the father of the Classic’s namesakes, said. “I love to hear those motors run.”

Murgoitio effortlessly sliced around Waters on the restart, but Giesler got such a big jump off the green flag that no comeback would be possible.

“He did a good job. He had a good car all night. He was solid in qualifying, solid all day,” Murgoitio said of his hometown rival.

The reigning Mtn. Dew Winged Sprints champion at Meridian, Murgoitio said he switched to his backup car Wednesday, forsaking the racer that took him to the checkered flag Monday.

He promised he wouldn’t make that mistake again.

Youth was served in the Bill Crow Memorial as Dylan Caldwell remained strong through an early duel at the back of the field with Tyler Monroe of Meridian and steadily worked his way toward the front.

Boise’s Dan Lowther held off 2011 Crow champion Chris Fenton of Meridian and then tried to do the same against Caldwell after Monroe’s spin triggered a yellow flag with 14 laps left.

Lowther tried to keep Caldwell at bay, but the 20-year-old was able to drive his No. 40 racecar to the lead with 13 laps left.

After the race, Lowther said he had difficulty brewing horsepower after losing one of his engine’s cylinders. After the cylinder failed, Caldwell steadily pulled away.

Caldwell withstood one last challenge from Fenton, who had worked his way back into the picture despite driving an unfamiliar racecar that was brought from California a week ago.

“I wanted that trophy real bad. It was a nice one to win,” Fenton said. “Dylan had a hot rod, that’s for sure.”

In the 11th running of the Miller Memorial, Stroebel collected possibly the only big trophy he hasn’t won in a Modified at Meridian. And, of course, he did it in dominating fashion.

After picking up fast time, the reigning track champion rolled from the back of the pack and pulled into the top four just eight laps into the race. At the same time, Tim Elam of Boise moved past Fruitland, Idaho’s Travis Pavlacky on the high side for the lead.

The high side of the track was the place to pass throughout the Modifieds feature.

Stroebel grabbed the lead with a pass on the outside with 26 laps to go. He then opened a four-second lead before Pavlacky’s spin triggered a caution flag with 12 to go.

The stoppage didn’t mean much to Stroebel, who sped to a five-second lead within five laps of the restart. On the final restart after Wes Pogue of Star, Idaho spun around, Stroebel blew past Elam to claim the final lead.

“It’s definitely an honor to have your name on that trophy,” Stroebel said. “All the racers on that trophy are great racers. I’m obliged to have my name on it next.”

The ninth running of the Nelson Memorial got off to an ominous start as a seven-car crash at the green flag resulted in five of the 28 cars in the opening field leaving the track – some permanently.

Two laps later, five more cars crashed in Turn 1.

All the while, Bolinger was seemingly biding his time.

“I want to thank everybody for coming out,” he said after accepting the LeeRoy Nelson traveling trophy. “That was a lot of fun once we got going.”

Once he got going, Bolinger was hard to stop. He went low on the track to pass C Heat winner Travis Pavlacky with 17 laps to go.

Within 10 laps, Bolinger had a five-second lead on Pavlacky. Pavlacky would also build a five-second edge on third-place Jason Lampman with three laps left. Lampman rallied from the opening-lap wreck to pull in a top-three finish.

But the checkered flag didn’t fall without another mishap as Boise, Idaho’s Larry Hull III spun right before Bolinger took the flag for the win.

Quick reflexes were the keys to winning early Western Winged Sprintcars action Wednesday night.

Nearly every WWS heat and dash winner to take the checkered flag got the jump on the rest of the field when the green flag dropped and never looked back.

In the A Dash, a four-lap sprint for a trophy, Jeff Montgomery of Langford, British Columbia, throttled back on an ill-handling sprintcar after bolting to the front. The veteran racer admitted after the race that the setup on his open-wheeler was still a work in progress.

“We’re just really loose,” he said. “The local guys are quick, so we’ve got some work to do.”

Montgomery’s self-fulfilling assessment of his racer materialized in the eight-lap Heat No. 1. He pitched his car sideways in every turn, but couldn’t hold off Mike Murgoitio, who blasted into second place on the final turn of the eight-lap race.

But all that action was going on far behind Meridian’s Cody Veenstra, who rocketed to the front on the high side on the first lap.

Ragin’ Jimmy Waters of Salt Lake City, Utah, lived up to his nickname in the four-lap B dash, pacing the field for the win. Quesnel, B.C., driver Ron Larson spewed parts on the track when something let go in his racecar midway through the race.

In another eight-lap heat race, Herriman, Utah, driver TJ Thorne moved out to a four-car-length lead and then had to hold on as handling problems forced him to slow in the turns. He still held off four other racers for the win.

In the second eight-lap heat, Larson came back from his hard luck in the dash and roared out to a three-second lead. The Canadian drove past former Bob and Tom Naylor Memorial winner Sara Henry at the start of the race when it appeared that the Nampa driver couldn’t accelerate when the green flag dropped.

The racers are back at the speedway Friday and Saturday for third and fourth nights of Northwest Asphalt Speedweek for the Western Winged Sprints. The BOB 96.1 FM Diamond Cup XXIV presented by GNO Jewelry features the Stinker Stores night on Friday, for which discount vouchers are available at participating Stinker Stores. On Saturday, the racer who has scored the most points in the two nights of racing wins a diamond ring furnished by GNO Jewelry and AmeriStar.

Friday night tickets cost $15 for adults, $12.50 for seniors/military personnel and $11 for children 7-11. Kids 6 and younger get in free. A $5 discount is available by using the BOB FM promo code when ordering tickets online through the EasyTix option on the speedway’s website or at www.wingedsprintcars.com.

Also racing Friday are Project Filter Pro-4s, Domino’s Pizza Legends and Jr. Stingers.

Admission on Saturday night is $18 for adults, $15.50 for military personnel with ID and senior citizens, and $14 for children ages 7-11. Children 6 and younger get in free. Fans can save $3 off the adult admission price by ordering tickets online at the speedway website orwww.wingedsprintcars.com.

Saturday’s support classes include the SPI Super Sixes, Street Stocks and Tates Hornets. The evening will be capped with a bang as the speedway presents its first fireworks show of the year.

Racing each of the three nights begins at 5 p.m. with qualifying. Heat races start at 6:30 p.m.

Call (208) 888-2813 for more event information. Details of other races in the Western Winged Sprints Series can be found atwww.wingedsprintcars.com.

More information on Meridian Speedway is available at www.meridianspeedway.com.


Meridian Speedway

Canadian-American Western Winged Sprints

Northwest Asphalt Speedweek No. 2

Bob and Tom Naylor Classic

Wednesday’s unofficial results

Main events

30th Bob and Tom Naylor Classic 50 for Western Winged Sprints – 1. Johnny Giesler, Meridian, Idaho; 2. Mike Murgoitio, Meridian; 3. Wyatt King, Meridian; 4. Jeff Montgomery, Langford, British Columbia; 5. Ryan Burdett, West Jordan, Utah

Western Winged Sprints series standings after two races – 1. Giesler, 131 points; 2. Murgoitio, 127; 3. Warf, 111; 4. Montgomery, 108; 5. Burdett, 97; 6. Alberding, 94; 7. Jackson, 93; 8. Jimmy Waters, 91; 9. King, 87; 10. (tie) Thorne, 65; and Larson

37th Bill Crow Memorial 40 for NAPA Late Models – 1. Dylan Caldwell, Nampa, Idaho; 2. Chris Fenton, Meridian; 3. Dan Lowther, Boise, Idaho; 4. Tyler Monroe, Meridian; 5. Travis Anderson, Boise

11th Sean Miller Memorial 50 for A and B Modifieds – 1. Shelby Stroebel, Meridian; 2. Rus Ward, Boise; 3. Jentry Pisca, Nampa, Idaho; 4. Tim Elam, Boise; 5. Jay Cook

9th LeeRoy Nelson 40 for Pit Stop Drive Thru Mini Stocks – 1. Ray Bolinger, Meridian; 2. Travis Pavlacky, Fruitland, Idaho; 3. Jason Lampman, Middleton, Idaho; 4. Brandon Shira, Boise; 5. Michael Wolfe, Nampa

Western Winged Sprints trophy dashes

(4 laps each)

A Dash – 1. Jeff Montgomery, Langford, British Columbia; 2. Bryan Warf, Meridian, Idaho; 3. Giesler; 4. Andy Alberding, Roseburg, Ore.

B Dash – 1. Jimmy Waters, Salt Lake City, Utah; 2. Sara Henry, Nampa, Idaho; 3. TJ Thorne, Herriman, Utah; 4. Ron Larson, Quesnel, British Columbia

Other heat races

Western Winged Sprints

(Eight laps each)

Heat No. 1 – 1. Cody Veenstra, Meridian; 2. Mike Murgoitio, Meridian; 3. Montgomery; 4. Jimmy Waters; 5. Alberding

Heat No. 2 – 1. Larson; 2. Ryan Burdett, West Jordan, Utah; 3. Giesler; 4. Sierra Jackson, Middleton, Idaho; 5. Henry

Heat No. 3 – 1. Thorne; 2. Matt Elliott, Caldwell, Idaho; 3. King; 4. Warf; 5. Matt Mansell, Victoria, British Columbia

Pit Stop Drive Thru Mini Stocks

Fast Dash – 1. Jason Lampman, Middleton, Idaho; 2. Sarah Shaw, Boise; 3. Larry Hull III, Boise; 4. Donovan Parker, Garden City, Idaho; 5. Ray Bolinger, Meridian

B Heat – 1. Jayson Wardle, Boise; 2. Chad Barker, Kuna, Idaho; 3. Duane Gerber, Boise; 4. Colton Nelson, Meridian; 5. Brenden Fries, Meridian

C Heat – 1. Travis Pavlacky, Fruitland, Idaho; 2. Nathan Dearing, Boise; 3. Brandon Shira, Boise; 4. John Ellsworth, Kuna, Idaho; 5. Robbie Hyde, Twin Falls, Idaho

D Heat – 1. Michael Wolfe, Nampa; 2. Art Heath, Nampa; 3. Everett Meek, Garden City, Idaho; 4. David Edwards, Jr., Nampa; 5. Sam Young, Boise

A and B Modifieds

Fast Dash – 1. Josh Jackson, Payette, Idaho; 2. Tim Elam, Boise; 3. Jentry Pisca, Nampa; 4. Wes Pogue, Star, Idaho; 5. Shelby Stroebel, Meridian

B Heat – 1. Pavlacky; 2. Jay Cook, Nampa; 3. Pete Trammel, Boise; 4. Caitlin Stroebel, Meridian

C Heat – 1. Randy Keckley, Boise; 2. Rodney Houpt, Nampa; 3. John Hensley, Meridian; 4. Rosalee Weller, Caldwell, Idaho; 5. Randy Wilcox

NAPA Late Models

Fast Dash – 1. Caldwell; 2. Monroe; 3. Fenton; 4. Dennis Wurtz II, Kuna

B Heat – 1. Lowther; 2. Anderson; 3. Dave Thomasson, Kuna; 4. Rob Powers, Meridian


Fast times

Western Winged Sprints – Alberding, 11.316 seconds

A and B Modifieds – Stroebel, 14.046

NAPA Late Models – Wurtz, 14.013

Pit Stop Drive Thru Mini Stocks – Bolinger, 15.085