Meridian’s Miller Claims K&N Fan Appreciation Nightadmin
Meridian Speedway roared into the month of July with K&N Fan Appreciation Night Saturday, July 1. The Pro Truck Series, NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds, Domino’s Legends, Teleperformance Claimer Stocks, ad College of Western Idaho High School Tuners raced into the dog days of summer to kick off the asphalt quarter-mile’s Independence Day weekend festivities.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds kicked off main event action with a thirty lap shootout. Payette, Idaho’s Travis Pavlacky overpowered Meridian, Idaho driver Myles Petersen to control lap one. The mid-pack action started early as Hunter Gates drove his YMC, Blue Line Graphics machine forward and took the lead on lap five. Hot on Gates’ heels was Colton Nelson, who swung his Integrity Pools, YMC modified low and shot to the top spot two laps later. This dropped Nampa, Idaho’s Gates into the clutches of quick qualifier Josh Jackson and Larry Hull III. Jackson and Hull III shot past Gates and worked to track Nelson down as he entered lapped traffic.
Jackson used the lapped cars to close on Nelson and with eight laps to go the Nampa, Idaho racer began his assault on the leader. Jackson tried low first, but Nelson countered to stay out front. With five laps to go the leaders made contact in turn two. As Nelson skated high Jackson piloted his Motor Mayhem Chassis Dyno Tuning, Cyclone Cycles modified to the lead and cruised to K&N Fan Appreciation Night’s first checkered flag.
The College of Western Idaho High School Tuners had twenty laps to determine a main event winner. On the green Oasis, Idaho competitor DJ Sirani raced around the high side of James Gates to put his Husky Auto Electric, Sirani Racing car in the early lead. Behind Sirani and Gates, Nampa, Idaho’s Kendra Occhipinti and Meridian, Idaho racer Riley Rogers worked their way forward. By lap three the pair held third and fourth on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard.
Rogers was first to make a move, and cut his H&H Accounting, Wildside Wraps entry to the inside of Occhipinti and scooted to third. With a dozen laps to go Rogers moved back to the high groove and rocketed to the lead. With Rogers out front the battle was on for second as Gates worked his YMC, PBT Auto Sales racer around the inside line to take second from Sirani. This left Sirani with a mirror full of Occhipinti’s Marv’s Tire Service, Dillon Auto Craft Performance Engines machine. On the white flag lap Occhipinti moved Sirani to take third, but all the action happened behind Rogers, who claimed his third win of the season.
The Teleperformance Claimer Stocks rumbled to green on their 25 lap feature. Boise, Idaho’s Jamie Hyde piloted his Wacky Shacks, Guppies Hot Rod Grille racer to the early lead while the pack jockeyed for space behind him. After an eight lap battle Boise, Idaho driver Shawn Hansen worked his Coast to Coast Auto Transport, Northwest Auto Transport machine around Caldwell, Idaho’s Micky Lawson to take the second position. But Lawson fought back, and drove her GR Farms, Franklin Auto and Truck Repair entry back into the runner up battle. With Lawson and Hanson side-by-side, the rest of the field packed in two-by-two and ran high-speed parade laps.
With eleven laps to go Hansen finally broke free of Lawson and worked the high line to draw close to Hyde’s rear bumper. As Hansen tried to find a way beneath Hyde, Lowther squeezed his Allan Marsh Travel Center, Klines Alternators and Starters of Marsing machine into the high lane and blasted to the lead. No sooner was Lowther out front than contact with Hansen sent Hyde spinning from second. Hyde slid his machine to a stop just short of the back stretch wall, and after a left rear tire change rejoined the action, now with just six laps left.
With the green flag back in the air Lowther sprinted back to the lead with Lawson in second and Brian Hyde in third. Hyde worked his Affordable Rain Gutters, All Makes Auto Salvage racer past Lawson with two laps remaining, but ran out of time to catch Lowther, who steamed to the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe first.
A full field of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds took the green flag for their second main event of the night. Twin Falls, Idaho’s Morgan Rasmussen sailed around Travis Pavlacky and roared to the lap one lead. Behind Rasmussen, young Daytona Wurtz worked her VooDoo Racing, All Makes Auto Salvage machine into the runner up spot, with Josh Jackson and Colton Nelson planted in her tire tracks. Jackson and Nelson used lap six to make their way around Star, Idaho’s Wurtz and set their sights on erasing the nearly five second advantage Rasmussen held.
An early caution flag sped Jackson and Nelson’s mission, and when the green flag waved again Jackson raced his Jacksonbuiltracing.com, Motor Mayhem Chassis Dyno Tuning modified to the top spot. Nelson tried to follow suit, but Rasmussen battled hard to keep second place on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard. At the race’s halfway point Nelson used the high line to compete the pass for second and turned his sights on Jackson.
As the laps wound down Nelson pedaled his Integrity Pools, Shake N Bake Racing machine hard to make up time on the leader. While Jackson’s advantage shrank, Nelson’s mount ailed before it lost power with three laps to go. This handed the race to Jackson, who turned in his second double main event swept of the season.
A tough group of Pro Trucks battled through a fast 55 lap feature. The green flag waved and Jerome, Idaho’s Drew Reitsma sped around West Jordan, Utah’s Rodney Park to lead lap one. But Reitsma wasn’t safe out front as his Reitsma Holsteins machine came under heavy attack from rookie Jayden Park. Lap after lap Jayden Park jabbed low, and lap after lap Reitsma maintained his lead.
With fifteen laps in the books Twin Falls, Idaho’s John Newhouse battled his way free of the knotted pack and joined the lead fight. With the pressure on, Park tried to make something happen in his Picks Insulation, Kings Camo entry. Park zigged low in turn one, but so did Reitsma, and the two made heavy contact. Both trucks slid sideways, but somehow both drivers gathered their out of control machines. The damage to Reitsma was extensive, and he would surrender the lead to Park and second to Newhouse by turn four.
In a replay of the Pro Truck Series’ last visit to the quarter-mile, Newhouse stalked Park as he waited for the young driver to make a mistake. That hitch came seven laps later as Park slid into turns one and two, which allowed Newhouse to take the high groove and plant his The Car Store, Coca-Cola racer in the lead. Now in second, Park found his hands full with Twin Falls, Idaho’s Jason Quale and his Quale’s Electronics, Custom Auto Repair pickup. With twenty circuits left Quale drove around Park on the inside and took the second spot.
While Newhouse cruised out front, Quale wrestled his truck as he laid down a string of fast laps. With five circuits to go the young competitor was within striking distance, as he and Newhouse entered lapped traffic. Newhouse picked his way past the slower trucks, but Quale tore around them and had a windshield full of Newhouse as the white flag waved. Though Quale was close, he didn’t have enough to take the win from Newhouse, who claimed the Champion Produce 55 victory.
The Domino’s Legends rolled twenty-two machines to green for their 45 lap main event. On the break Ken Frickey raced his way to the lead, with Adam Street and Tyler Driever in tow. While Driever reeled Frickey in, Alex Bartlett picked his way through the field and made it a three car battle for the top spot. Bartlett made quick work of Driever on lap six, then took the lead from Frickey on lap seven.
As Bartlett zipped to the front, Driever and Frickey tangled as they battled for second. Driever catapulted over Frickey and tumbled down the front stretch while seven more racer piled into the fray. When the smoke cleared all drivers emerged from their machines okay. Driever would even return to the action on lap 12.
On the restart Bartlett fought his way past Peter Peirce to retain the lead, but Peirce faced heavy pressure from Duane Swanson and Caity Miller. Swanson and Miller would dispatch Bartlett after a lap thirteen caution before the pair dueled for the top spot. Miller, minus a fender from the early dust up, dove low and jogged high as she worked to take the lead before she took the top spot with 24 circuits left.
While Miller was out front she was anything but safe as Jake Woods joined the lead fight. The Yakima, Washington racer applied heavy pressure to Miller as she worked to hold the top spot. Lap after lap Woods fought to find a way by Miller, and lap after lap Miller countered. But with ten laps to go Woods changed tack and went to war for the lead.
Woods first unleashed a flurry of contact which moved Miller up the race track, but Miller wheeled her Farm Bureau Insurance of Darrin Post, Kustom Fab machine hard and stayed out front. As Woods drove harder and harder, something had to give, and with five laps to go Woods spun in turn three to set up one last shootout for the win.
The green flag waved and Darrel J Stewart sped around Miller for the lead. But Miller fought back hard and regained the top spot one lap later. While Stewart worked the high line, Miller dug hard in the low line. Miller’s defensive strategy worked to perfection and she stormed across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe first.
Racing action continues all week at Meridian Speedway. Monday the quarter-mile hosts the first leg of its annual INEX Legends Regional Qualifying races. Tuesday your NASCAR Home Tracks swings back into action for the Stinker Stores Firecracker 50 and The City of Meridian Fireworks Extravaganza. Don’t miss your chance to celebrate Independence Day along with the Interstate Winged Sprintcars, the second INEX Legends Regional Qualifier, Pepsi Crate Cars and Super Sixes, Project Filter Pro-4s, Thunderdogs, and the TATES Rents Hornets’ Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. Monday’s event is pit access only. General admission to Tuesday’s race action and a front row seat for fireworks is just $13 for adults, $6.50 for kids 7-11, and as always kids 6 and under get in free. Log on to meridianspeedway.com to purchase your advance tickets and be sure to text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 to receive exclusive updates. We’ll see you this Monday and Tuesday under the big yellow water tower at Meridian Speedway.