Mid-Week Rumble Crowns King of the Wing Winneradmin
The fastest winged sprintcar drivers on earth packed the Meridian Speedway pit area Thursday for the inaugural running of The Pink Lady Classic. Over 20 of Davey Hamilton’s King of the Wing Sprintcars rolled onto the paved quarter-mile to contest a 50 lap feature that will be the measure of many Saturday features to come. Along with this national touring series the regional touring Honda Performance Development Midgets and INEX Legends tore around the quarter-mile to position themselves for national a national championship. The College of Western Idaho High School Tuners rounded out the mid-week festivities.
The Restricted Honda Performance Development Midgets started Pink Lady Classic proceedings with a quick 15 lap dash. On the break Annie Breidinger mashed the gas pedal and took the lead on the low side of the track. Breidinger was not safe out front though, as hard-charging Justin Love wound his racer up and zoomed around the high line to the top spot. While Love checked out Breidinger fell into the clutches of Dezel West. West tried to take the short way around the quarter-mile, but Breidinger kept her momentum on the high side and held on to take second behind Love.
The College of Western Idaho High School Tuners rolled 15 racers onto the quarter-mile for a 30 lap main event. On the green Tayvia Morris charged through the field and put her Kim’s Kars, Challenger Transport machine in the lead. By lap two familiar faces like Hunter Gates, Jordan Harris, and Kendra Occhipinti formed up and ran past the lady racer to claim the top three spots. Nampa, Idaho’s Harris was fast around the outside and raced to the lead on lap four. Harris’ lead was far from safe as Occhipinti dove low to challenge for the lead. Occhipinti used lapped traffic to steal the lead and drive her Marv’s Tire Service, Bearclaw Graphics away from the pack. At the halfway point Occhipinti held a nearly two second advantage over Harris, Daytona Wurtz, Peter Woog, and Riley Rogers.
As the laps dwindled the intensity soared as battles for position heated up. Woog’s racer couldn’t keep pace and the right front tire flew from the car in turn three. Woog smacked the wall as his racer slid out of control. The young racer emerged from his car unscathed, but would retire from the event.
The green flag came back out with ten circuits remaining. Harris jumped to Occhipinti’s outside and tried to overpower the race leader, but Occhipinti kept up just enough speed to hold him off. As Harris fell back Wurtz pulled her Ada County Sheriffs Employee Association, All Makes Auto Salvage racer to his inside and this pair went fender to fender for three laps to settle second. Wurtz took the spot and put her foot down to try and catch Occhipinti. Wurtz got to the leader’s back bumper, but ran out of laps to pass Occhipinti.
“It was a tough race, that’s for sure,” Harris said of his third place finish. “I think it’s going to be tough for the rest of the year.”
The HPD Open Midgets took the speedway with 13 racers ready to do battle for a 35 lap main event. On the green Mike Daniels outdueled Dylan Nobile to grab the early lead. Back in the pack Annie Breidinger sliced her way forward on the heels of fast heat race winner Jeff Kelley. While Breidinger worked her way forward her twin sister, quick-qualifier Toni Breidinger joined the battle for second as she and Jimmy Waters laid siege to Nobile. Waters looked to the high side first, but couldn’t make the move. Now he switched to the inside line, but Nobile held off these advances too. Only a caution at the half-way point allowed the racers and fans to take a breath.
As soon as the green reappeared Nobile rocketed to Daniels’ tail tank, intent on taking the top spot for himself. But Daniels was too quick through the corners and pulled away as again Nobile fell into the hornet’s nest of Waters and Breidinger. Nobile would fend off his competitors, but couldn’t track down Daniels as he sprinted to the Arctic Circle Victory Lane.
“It’s been a good fun day,” Daniels said as he collected the hardware. “You guys have been awesome man. What a crowd.”
The INEX and Domino’s Legends combined for a forty lap Regional Qualifying race as the sun sank behind the bleachers. Kuna, Idaho’s Casey Tillman was fast out of the blocks as he got the jump on Aubree Wartman and the early lead. Behind Tillman the pack fought to settle into the long race. First to emerge and battle Tillman was Cameron Morgan, who got to Tillman’s rear bumper on lap five and went to work on the low side of the racetrack. When that didn’t work Morgan switched to the outside. On lap ten this decision bit Morgan as he spun going into turn one. Somehow the field missed the stricken car, but Randy Beddow and Chance Davis tangled in the jam up and had to restart at the back of the pack.
Next to challenge Tillman’s YMC Inc., Taylor Made Upholstery machine was Trevor Cristiani, who wheeled his backup car hard on the outside. Tillman was able to keep his racer at the point until lap nine when Randy Schaff and Peyton Saxton found their way inside the local racer and relieved him of the lead. Now the battle raged between Schaff and Saxton. Saxton used a restart to get the high line on Schaff and the two dueled for just one lap before contact out of turn four sent both leaders spinning and stacked up the field. When the smoke cleared six cars lay in a heap just past the flag stand.
The race restarted with 25 laps left and Tillman back out front, followed by Tristen Hyder, Zach Blume, Wartman, and Matt Mead. Hyder got three laps worth of heat in his tires then unleashed his legend on Tillman. Tillman weathered this storm and moved into lapped traffic with just a dozen laps left.
Hyder didn’t give up and with six circuits left mounted his final charge. He jabbed low first trying to catch Tillman asleep. Tillman never made a mistake over the final laps and held off Hyder to claim not only the Thrusday night victory, but also an automatic entry into the national INEX Legends event later this year.
“It feels great,” Tillman said of his win. “The guys that come in, they’re the best of the best.”
WOW Country Thursday concluded with the inaugural running of the Pink Lady Classic as 23 of Davey Hamilton’s King of the Wing Sprintcar Series machines crowded the quarter-mile. The drama began before the green flag waved as the race’s namesake Pink Lady sprinter driven by Kenny Hamilton laid a stripe of oil on the racing surface and was forced to the pit area. This left series point leader Aaron Pierce and Jimmy Waters on the front row when the green fell.
The stands shook as Pierce thundered into the lead bringing Bryan Warf with him past Waters on lap one. It took only three laps for Warf to show Pierce his nose in turn three, but Pierce slammed the door and continued his torrid pace. While the leaders battled Davey Hamilton Jr. was on the move as he tore his way three-wide toward a spot on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard. A lap fifteen caution was the only thing that settled the action. Along with resetting the field the caution allowed Hamilton and the Pink Lady to join the field.
On the restart Pierce reestablished his top position while Warf and Ron Larson gave chase. As his Hoosier tires came in Bobby Santos started a charge to the front as he diced his way out of mid-pack to fourth. As Santos turned up the wick on his racer so did second place Warf. At the halfway point just a half second separated the top two runners. With twenty laps left Warf ducked inside Pierce, but a caution cut his run short.
“It took three to four laps for this ting to come alive,” Warf said of his machine post race. “It looked like he was coming to us.”
Pierce showed off his short run speed again as the field came to full song. While Warf worked to track Pierce back down a battle broke out between quick-qualifier Matt Mansell and Sierra Jackson. Jackson, her sprinter planted in the low line, made a series of jabs into turns one and three, but couldn’t make the move stick as she tried desperately to make up valuable series points.
With just six laps to go Pierce got hung up in traffic and Warf pounced. The outside move didn’t pay off for Warf though, and with no time left he would settle for second behind Pierce. In fifth place Mansell put on a smoke show as he melted his right rear tire in order to hold off Jackson.
“That car was a rocket ship,” Pierce said of his machine. “It was good to put this car in victory lane. We really had it going good tonight.”
The Meridian Speedway action just keeps coming this week as Saturday night features the second leg of the INEX Legends Regional Qualifying event, the Coors Super Stocks, College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Program Street Stocks, Kendall Ford of Meridian Mini Stocks and Junior Stingers as they race for the Boise Bath and Kitchen Company trophy. Gates for Saturday’s action open at 4 p.m. with racing taking the green flag at 6:30 p.m. As always stay tuned to meridianspeedway.com for the latest news and text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 for exclusive updates. Grab your seat under the big yellow water tower early Saturday at Meridian Speedway.