Nampa Native Aces Latemodels’ Toughest Test Saturdayadmin
Three weeks after their shortest race of the year, the NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Latemodels thundered onto the asphalt quarter-mile at Meridian Speedway for their longest race, the NAPA Auto Parts Treasure Valley 125. The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds, Kendall Ford of Meridian Mini Stocks, College of Western Idaho High School Tuners, and rookies of the TATES Rents Hornet division also converged to do battle for the Boise Boys Transportation trophy.
Main event action started with the TATES Rents Hornets rookies-only invitational. On the green Nampa, Idaho’s Kari Deane raced her 2C Auto Sales car to the lead, but was overtaken by Brandon Kelley’s Kelley Rooter machine on lap two. Kelley worked to set sail from the field while Boise, Idaho’s Will Ostrum moved below Deane to secure the runner up spot.
At the race’s halfway point Kelley’s machine lost power, which allowed Ostrum to drive his Diversified Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning car to the top spot. Ostrum didn’t waste his opportunity at the point and sped to his first win.
“A big thanks to my family and all you fans for supporting us so much,” Ostrum said in the Caleb’s Chop Shop Winner’s Circle.
Ostrum then lined up on the outside pole for the College of Western Idaho High School Tuners’ 20 lap main event. On the green Ostrum fought his way back to the lead while Meridian, Idaho racer Riley Rogers roared through the field eager to put his racer up front. While Rogers chopped his way forward Hunter Gates overhauled Ostrum for the lead on lap three in his YMC, Banner Promotions entry. Meridian, Idaho’s Alex Hibbert followed Gates past Ostrum two laps later.
The battle for third heated up as Rogers worked his way around Peter Woog. Woog wheeled his ill-handling Discount Tire, Les Schwab car hard to keep the spot, but eventually yielded to both Rogers and Taylor Occhipinti. Jordan Harris was next to try Woog, but contact on lap eleven sent Woog to the front stretch concrete.
This left a nine lap shootout for Gates to hold off Hibbert, Rogers, and Occhipinti. Gates was first to the gas pedal and retained the lead, but Rogers made quick work of Hibbert’s Team Construction, Paz Electric machine and pulled to Gates’ rear bumper with five circuits remaining. Rogers took the high line by force and blew past Gates for the lead. With clear track in front of him Rogers gapped the pack and ran away with the victory, his fourth of the season.
Fifteen NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Latemodels took the track for the division’s longest race, the NAPA Auto Parts Treasure Valley 125. With the green flag in the air Boise, Idaho’s Camron Madson launched into turn one and led the first lap with young Tyler Marston-Henderson and Justin Ellis in hot pursuit. The man on the move early was new track record holder Trevor Cristiani, who had his Sharp Transportation machine tuned for the high groove and weaved his way from the back of the pack to fifth on lap six.
Cristiani’s charge continued as he overtook Ellis’ Neil Alan Fine Jewelry, YMC entry for third, and then went to work on Marston-Henderson on lap fifteen. After some close quarters bumping and banging in lapped traffic Cristiani had his machine in the runner up spot and started eating into Madsen’s lead. On lap 32 Cristiani arrived at Madsen’s rear bumper, but a caution flag slowed his momentum and reset the field.
On the restart Cristiani steamed to the outside of Madsen’s machine and shot to the lead. With Cristiani out front the battle raged for second as Madsen wheeled his racer hard to keep Marston-Henderson, Hannah Newhouse, and Jim Tremewan at bay. In the battle Nevada City, Nevada racer Tremewan broke loose and pounded the turn one wall in his Dillon Auto Craft, Metal Pro machine. Tremewan walked away from the wreck unscathed, but his homebuilt car was retired from the race.
On the restart Twin Falls, Idaho’s Newhouse surprised Marston-Henderson and took third place by force before she raced her Boise State University, Burke’s Tractor machine to Madsen’s rear bumper. With fifty laps down Newhouse pulled to Madsen’s outside, but got loose, which allowed Marston-Henderson to get back by for third in his Maz-Tech Automotive, C/Driven CAD Services, Inc. racer. While Newhouse worked to get back past Marston-Henderson, Madsen managed to wheel his West Side Body Works, Mulder’s Auto Machine entry to a one second advantage. That advantage was overcome when Newhouse used a mid-race restart to take second. This left Marston-Henderson and Madsen to duel for the third spot. Marston-Henderson would win that battle as Madsen went for a spin with four laps left.
The caution flag brought Newhouse to Cristiani’s bumper for one final dash to the checkers. Newhouse pedaled her machine hard, but Nampa, Idaho’s Cristiani was able to drive his machine harder and he cruised to his fourth consecutive NAPA Auto Parts Treasure Valley 125.
“I got really lucky,” Cristiani said of his early race charge. “We’re pretty fortunate with this stuff.”
Seventeen Kendall Ford of Meridian Mini Stocks packed the quarter-mile for a 35 lap main event. San Jose, Calif. driver Michael Capps got to the accelerator first and took the lap one lead, but Terrell Daffron was able to zip past Capps in the low line on lap two to put his Gilmore Meats, John’s Auto Body racer up front. First to challenge Daffron was Meridian, Idaho’s Garry Hussey, who made the pass on lap three and set sail to a comfortable lead in his unsponsored machine.
Deep in the pack it was Kuna, Idaho’s Jayson Wardle that was on the move in his Blohm’s Family Deli, Perfectly Posh racer. From his back of the pack starting spot Wardle moved to second in just twelve circuits. With Hussey in his sights Wardle clicked off faster and faster laps, hoping to make his way to the top of the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard. With a dozen laps left Wardle looked low, but traffic blunted that move.
With just seven circuits remaining Wardle looked low again, but this time Hussey countered and staved off the advance. The cat and mouse game continued until the checkers, where Hussey took the victory.
A fast field of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds rolled to the green flag for a forty lap main event. On the break Randy Keckley worked over Boise, Idaho’s David Wurtz Jr. for the top spot, but enjoyed the lead for only a lap before Rodney Houpt challenged the former series champion for the lead. Houpt soon had a fight on his hands as the Meridian, Idaho driver came under heavy attack from Nampa, Idaho’s Josh Jackson. With a dozen laps down Jackson moved Houpt’s Boise Spring Works, Royal Purple Oil machine out of the top spot.
The battle for third heated up as Keckley wheeled his Pegasus Transport and Towing, Curtis Clean Sweep modified hard to keep Jordan Kirkland, Colton Nelson, and Larry Hull III behind him. Kirkland was the first one by Keckley, but immediately had a mirror full of Hull III and Nelson. Hull III took the third spot on lap fourteen, followed by Nelson one lap later.
A caution flag brought Hull III to Jackson’s inside with 25 laps to go, but Jackson fought off the advance, dropping Hull III to Nelson’s clutches. Nelson roared past Hull III, who had to manhandle his Diversified Carpet Cleaning, Shake N’ Bake Racing modified to keep up. With eighteen laps left Nelson drove his Integrity Pools, Mobile Dent Specialists racer below Jackson for the lead, and took the top spot with fifteen laps left.
Jackson kept pace with Nelson until a caution with five laps to go bunched the field and brought Jackson to Nelson’s outside. When the green flag flew so did the body blows as Jackson and Nelson fought wheel-to-wheel for two laps. Finally Nelson roared ahead and raced his way to the win.
“That was a really hard fought race,” Nelson said in the Caleb’s Chop Shop Winner’s Circle. “I had a lot of fun.”
The fun continues Saturday, June 25, as Meridian Speedway hosts the College of Western Idaho Dairy Days Races and Carnival. On tap Saturday night are the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds, CT400 Winged Sprintcars, College of Western Idaho Super Street Stocks, and a one hundred lap endurance race for the TATES Rents Hornets. General admission for Saturday night’s full slate of race action is just $10.50 for adults, $6.50 for kids 7-11, and as always kids 6 and under get in free. Gates open at 4 p.m. with qualifying at 5 p.m. and racing starts at 6:30 p.m. Don’t forget to check meridianspeedway.com for all the latest news from around the quarter-mile oval and text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 to get exclusive updates. We’ll see you next Saturday night under the big yellow water tower at Meridian Speedway.