Hot Racing, Cool Oldies Close August Action at Meridian Speedwayadmin
Over seventy of the Treasure Valley’s coolest classics and hottest custom cars gathered for the Kendall Ford of Meridian Hot August Cruze and Drag Night at Meridian Speedway. Along with a full slate of drag races, burnout competitions, and quarter-mile cruising, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds, TATES Rents Hornets, and Junior Stingers battled for their Allegiant Home Care trophies.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds brought a dozen hungry competitors to the green flag of the first of two thirty main events. Pole sitter Randy Keckley piloted his Pegasus Transport and Towing, UniFirst modified to the early lead with Meridian, Idaho’s Rodney Houpt in tow. Outside pole sitter Jerry Green fought back to counter Houpt’s advance, and on lap five Kuna, Idaho’s Green moved past Houpt and worked to put his machine ahead of Keckley.
Action picked up on lap eight as Houpt’s Boise Spring Works, Royal Purple Oil modified got a bump and slid to the middle of the track. The field was able to keep from running over each other, but the jumble allowed Boise, Idaho’s Larry Hull III to shoot to the outside line and put his Diversified Carpet Cleaning machine the lead. Hull III held the top spot for just one lap before Colton Nelson put his Integrity Pools, YMC Inc. racer inside the leader, which slowed both drivers and allowed Josh Jackson to motor his way to the lead.
The frantic action continued as Hull III and Nelson battled each other for the runner up spot. Nelson got the best of that fight as Hull III fell into the clutches of Nampa, Idaho’s Trevor Cristiani and Boise, Idaho driver Rus Ward. Cristiani and Ward hooked up to freight train Hull III and take third and fourth on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard.
As the battle for third through fifth settled, Jackson found himself in a hornet’s nest of lapped traffic. Stuck behind Hunter Gates and pole sitter Keckley, Jackson soon had Nelson on his rear bumper. But with four laps left the traffic cleared and Jackson blasted to a convincing first main event victory.
“We’re having a lot of fun,” Jackson said in the Caleb’s Chop Shop Winner’s Circle.
A strong field of Junior Stingers crowded the quarter-mile for a twelve lap main event. On the green James Gates put his YMC Inc., Banner Promotions machine in the lead with Notus, Idaho’s Alyse Schildhauer in tow. On the move early were Shane Ahlrich and Shane Harris, who took to the high groove to make time. Schildhauer wheeled her CCT entry hard to keep the runner up spot, but a bobble in turn one on lap three led to contact with Harris and sent both racers to the back of the pack for a restart.
Boise, Idaho’s Ahlrich took to the high line and shot around Gates for the top spot on the restart, followed by Caitlin Sharp in her A-1 Chem Dry, La Sierra Tire and Wheel machine. Again the big mover was Harris, who sailed through the field to put his Kim’s Kars racer second with seven laps left. With Ahlrich in his sights Harris closed the gap, but wasn’t able to make a move as Ahlrich took the checkered flag.
“Shane put up a great race, and he got me,” Harris said of Ahlrich’s performance.
The TATES Rents Hornets crowded the quarter-mile for their thirty lap feature race. On the green flag Pat Hellickson took the lead in his Hungry Onion machine as Boise, Idaho’s Josh Parkkila shot to the high groove and passed half the field in turn one.
Hellickson had no time to enjoy his lead as he was immediately under siege from point leader Josh Randolph, Mat Henry, and Lynn Sharp. Sharp was first to make a move as he put his A-1 Chem Dry machine in the high groove and the lead on lap eleven.
Next around Hellickson was Parkkila, who worked through traffic and used a string of blistering fast laps to catch the leader. Parkkila first tried the outside line, but Sharp had too much and kept the lead. Parkkila had just set his H&H Accounting, Goodwill Finance racer up for an inside move when Hellickson was spun from his mid-pack running spot. This reset the field with just thirteen laps left and brought Parkkila even with sharp when the green flag fell.
Parkkila gave Sharp everything he had on the restart and the pair battled door-to-door for six laps until Parkkila forced his way in front of Sharp to take the top spot. But Sharp wasn’t content with second, and mounted a late-race charge of his own. On the white flag lap Sharp gave it one last ditch effort, but Parkkila had the stronger mount and he raced to the start finish line first.
“That was a fun race,” Parkkila said.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds roared back onto the quarter-mile for Saturday night’s final feature race. On the green Meridian, Idaho racer Rodney Houpt overpowered Beau Gillogly to lead lap one. On the move early was Trevor Cristiani, who piloted his Rocky Mountain Supply, Idaho Gasket machine to the inside groove and the lead on lap three.
The battle for fourth went sour on lap six when contact sent CJ Stirm’s Boise Spring Works, Allegiant Powder Coating entry spinning in front of the field. Point leader Colton Nelson, Larry Hull III, and Jerry Green all piled into Stirm’s machine. Both Stirm and Hull III were towed from the racing surface while Nelson undertook major repairs in the pit area. Try as Nelson’s crew might, the damage proved too severe and he was forced to retire from the event.
On the restart Cristiani powered back to the lead with Beau Gillogly’s Razor’s Edge Window Cleaning, PBT Auto Sales entry and Josh Jackson’s jacksonbuiltracing.com, Motor Mayhem Chassis Dyno Tuning modified in tow. Jackson moved Gillogly out of his way to take second, then the Nampa, Idaho driver ripped off a series of fast laps to track down Cristiani. With his lead visibly shrinking, Cristiani looked for help in the form of either a caution flag or lapped traffic to fend off Jackson. With just a car length separating the top two Cristiani caught the tail end of the field and began to pick his way through a handful of back markers.
But the traffic was no help as Jackson closed the gap to nothing and pulled inside Cristiani with nine circuits left. Cristiani fought off that maneuver, but Jackson continued to fight, and pounded Cristiani’s rear bumper. With three to go Jackson tried the inside again, but this time went for a wild slide in turn four, handing a two car length advantage to Cristiani. On the white flag lap Jackson tried a dive bomb maneuver in turn three to take the win, but he didn’t have enough and Cristiani flashed across the line first.
“I really wanted to win this one,” Cristiani said.
Meridian Speedway falls silent next weekend as they prepare to crown the NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Latemodel champion on Saturday, September 3. The Mountain Dew Winged Sprintcars, Domino’s Legends, Project Filter Pro-4s, Teleperformance Claimers, and Kendall Ford of Meridian Mini Stocks also take to the quarter-mile for a full night of short track racing. General admission is just $10.50 for adults, and $6.50 for kids 7-11 years old. Gates open at 4 p.m. with qualifying at 5 p.m. and racing at 6:30 p.m. Be sure to text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 for exclusive updates from the quarter-mile and pick up your advance tickets at meridianspeedway.com. We’ll see you Saturday, September 3 for the NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Latemodel Championship Night under the big yellow water tower at Meridian Speedway.