Mother Nature Shortens TATES Rents Fan Nightadmin
Mother Nature reigned supreme Saturday night at Meridian Speedway as the Outlaw Compacts joined with the TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks for TATES Rents Fan Appreciation Night. Along with a huge pack of mostly stock 4-cylinder competitors the Pepsi Sprintcars, SPI Super Sixes, Meridian Speedway Modifieds and Budweiser Modified joined forces with a massive field of TATES Rents Hornets. While only the open-wheeled competitors would beat the storm, the action only intensified as the weather rolled in.
The late August conditions proved perfect for speed as Casey Tillman set a new track record in ISRL Super Six division qualifying, and with an early season win under his belt Tillman was an obvious favorite to pilot his Tailor Made Upholstery, Dick Sola machine to victory in the 30 lap ISRL Super Six main event. As the green flag fell Dean Bachman jumped to the early lead while Tillman navigated his way to the low side, finding himself fourth by lap four. The next lap Tillman would hook up with Dean Waltman on the high groove and the two would take first and second. Now Tillman went to work on Waltman for the top spot. The high groove would prove to be the groove to beat as Tillman flew around the Meridian Speedway veteran. That left Waltman in the clutches of Ben Hinkle as the leaders worked lap traffic. Halfway through the race Tillman held a commanding two-second lead over Waltman and Hinkle. As the leaders settled into their finishing positions the fight began for the final spot on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard as Bachman and Pat Young dueled for fifth. Young would peek high numerous times in the last dozen circuits, but wouldn’t be able to take the spot from Bachman. But the race was all about Tillman, who claimed his second ISRL Super Six main event of the year.
Impatience was the word of the evening in the Pepsi Sprintcar division, as plenty of bumpers and paint had already been traded before the racers wheeled their way onto the asphalt for their 30 lap main event. Thomas Barrow was able to muscle his A&R Automotive entry around the outside of pole sitter Thomas Harrod for the early race lead while deep in the pack fast Tony Ackerland worked his way through a muddle of bumping sprintcars. While Ackerland worked his way through the field young Riley Rogers tried to make a move in the high groove, but Barrow continually closed the door. Finally eleven laps into the event Rogers would make the move stick and take his Goodwill Finance, The Cutting Edge sprinter to the lead. Larry Hull III would pull his Diversified Carpet and Upholstery machine to second and at the halfway point and Tony Ackerland would settle into third. Then the winds began as a fierce August storm rolled over the speedway. Unaffected Rogers ran away from the pack, wheeling desperately through lapped traffic while Ackerland closed the gap from second spot. With five to go Rogers would get hung up behind a battle for position, and that would slow him enough for Ackerland to catch up and peek low with four laps to go, but a spin by Hull III would negate Ackerland’s run. On the restart Rogers couldn’t match the muscle in Ackerland’s machine and would settle for second behind Ackerland’s Banner Promotions entry.
“I want to thank everyone for coming out,” said Ackerland as rain began to pour onto the quarter-mile.
As the heavy rain showers flooded the asphalt the TATES Rents Hornets flipped on the windshield wipers and took to the track for their 30 lap main event. From the outside pole James Pahl tip-toed his Raceway Video, FreakishlyUncommon.com entry around DJ Everett to take the lead. Behind the leaders Rob Powers was the early mover, making his way from the back of the nineteen-car pack to sixth in just five laps. As the track dried out Everett’s car warmed up, and the driver began to cut into Pahl’s lead. At the halfway point Pahl and Everett went door-to-door for the top spot, but each time Everett mounted a run Pahl would trap him behind lapped traffic. With ten circuits remaining the traffic ran out and Everett positioned himself inside. Two laps later Everett would complete the pass while Mike Vester pulled up to the lead battle. Pahl would employ the same lapped traffic strategy to fend off Vester that he had used on Everett, but with four to go Vester took his Discount Tire, Bender Electric car to the runner-up slot and turned his attention to leader Everett. Vester was within striking distance on the white flag lap, but Everett would not be denied as he used a daring three-wide maneuver to keep the lead through turns three and four and claim the Fire Trucks West trophy.
“Of course it took the rain for me to win one,” Everett joked in the rain-soaked pits.
There is still time to catch some racing action this Labor Day weekend. Meridian Speedway hosts the Oldies Cruise and Drag Night on Sunday, August 31. Racing includes the Domino’s Pizza Legends, another installment of the TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stock and Outlaw Compact battle, and the final event of the NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Latemodel Series. Plus, kids, make sure to grab your bikes and helmets as Tile Outlet sponsors the Bike Races for Kids. The night’s racing action doesn’t stop there as Meridian Speedway will open its gates to classic car spectator drags, a burnout contest, and classic car show featuring 65 of the regions hottest automobiles. Admission for Sunday’s festivities is just $10.25 for adults, $6.25 for kids 7-11. Gates open at 4 p.m. and races begin at 6:30 p.m.
As always this week’s action was sponsored by The Contingency Connection, which offers nearly $2000 in awards each week from NATIONAL manufacturers. See Meridian Speedway officials for more details about Contingency Connection.