Nelson, Alberding Victorious in Classic Double Headeradmin
The biggest open-wheel show of the season descended on Meridian Speedway as the King of the Wing, Northwest Sprintcar Racing Association, and Speed Tour Sprint Cars went wheel-to-wheel on a Friday-Saturday double header. The Salt Lake City and Wicked Energy Gum Focus Midgets, and West Coast Vintage Sprintcars also pulled the double, with the Factory Motor Parts Mini Stocks joining in on Friday and the Pepsi Crate Cars and Idaho Sprintcar and Roadster League Sprintcars, Firehouse Pub and Grill Bombers, the Big Daddy’s Barbecue Hornets, World Famous Boat Races and Fireworks packing the Saturday night schedule.
A crisp breeze greeted the triple-sanctioned Speed Tour, NSRA, and King of the Wing Sprintcar field for Friday night’s Elliott Sportsman Classic. Colorado’s Chris Muhler and Meridian, Idaho racer Colton Nelson led the 25 car field to green for the 40 lap feature.
Using his outside front row starting spot Nelson catapulted around Muhler to put his Miller Lite, Maxwell Plumbing machine out front. Strong in the early going was long-time qualifying record holder Andy Alberding, who piloted his Rockmount Nassau, Davison Auto Parts sprinter to fourth before a caution flag halted his charge.
Per King of the Wing rules all restarts were single file, and Nelson easily got the jump on Muhler when the green flag waved. A series of early caution flags set Nelson and Muhler up bumper to tail tank time and again, and with each green flag Nelson stormed to a comfortable lead.
For those mired deep in the pack, the early caution flag laps narrowed their chances of advancing. Sidney, British Columbia’s Ryan Orchard was one such trapped driver, and during the race’s first multiple green flag lap stint he pinned his Orchard Plumbing, Rondex machine to the high side to make up time. The strategy worked until lap seven, when a wild slide sent Orchard cartwheeling over the retaining wall and into the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard before coming to rest at the pit entrance.
Though shaken, Orchard emerged from the crash unscathed. The scoreboard was another story, and fell dark for the rest of the evening’s event.
Back under green, Nelson managed to open up a sizeable lead on Muhler’s DHM Services machine. Further back in the pack, NSRA Sprintcar point leader Aaron Willison turned up the wick on his Tri-X Group, Taylor Metal Craft sprinter, and quickly dispatched Andy Alberding for fourth place.
This left Jeff Montgomery in Willison’s sights, and the Surrey, British Columbia racer wasted no time in catching and passing his fellow Canadian to take the final podium position. Though Willison wheeled his sprinter hard through the race’s closing laps, he could only keep pace with Muhler as the leaders ducked in and out of lapped traffic.
But it all happened behind Nelson, who flashed across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe to take the race victory and also the Speed Tour Regional Sprint Cars championship. With his third place finish Willison all but wrapped up the 2019 NSRA title.
Saturday night, with the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard relit and a Speed Tour Regional Sprint Car champion decided, the NSRA and King of the Wing competitors rejoined for the Pink Lady Classic. With the legendary Pink Lady roadster pacing the field, 25 winged sprintcars rumbled to green behind Ron Larson and Kyle Alberding.
The flag waved and the field roared into turn one, Alberding outside of Larson. Alberding hung his Holte Drilling Tools sprinter out in a bid for the lap one lead, but it was Larson who slid up the track out of turn two to lock his Maxwell Trucking, Corny Bueckert Enterprises machine into the lead.
Behind the leaders, Ryan Burdett, Randy Price, and Aaron Willison entered the north turns three abreast, somehow avoiding disaster. Out of the mess Willison emerged third, Price fourth, and Burdett fifth ahead of Friday night victor Colton Nelson and King of the Wing point leader Eric Humphreys.
Traffic was heavy, and after six laps Larson found himself tangled in the tail end of the pack. For three laps Larson picked his way through, but as he dove into turn one on lap ten the leader hopped a right rear wheel and pounded the turn one water barrels. The Quesnel, British Columbia driver climbed from his sprint car unhurt, but the whole of turns one and two were coated in water.
In just fifteen minutes the mess was cleaned up and the field was fired for a restart. Now out front, Alberding slipped away from second place Willison as the pack jockeyed for position. The most physical action was that between Middleton, Idaho’s Hunter Stanley and Tristen Spiers. The young racers diced back and forth for a dozen laps before contact sent Stanley’s Mighty Grip Suspension, LNS Paving car hard into the turn three concrete. Stanley leapt from his car okay and, after an animated display aimed at Spiers, strode to the pit area.
Through a bevy of late caution periods Alberding held station up front, as Willison pressed his RBR Motorsports, RODD Excavating racer to its limits to keep up. As the laps wound down Willison moved to a dirt track groove to try and track down Alberding, but the Winston, Oregon racer was too strong and Alberding parked his Holte Drilling Tools machine in the Caleb’s Chop Shop Winner’s Circle.
Tim Fahrner dominated Friday night’s Salt Lake City Midgets main event in his Armor Powder Coating, Stevens’ Electric Motor Shop entry, which he backed up with a third place finish Saturday behind Natalie Waters and main event winner Courtney Green.
The Wicked Energy Gum Focus Midgets made their Meridian Speedway debut Friday with a thrilling feature. After dominating the opening stages of Friday’s race, Nik Larson’s Kent Collision Center, PCI Northwest machine experienced mechanical trouble, allowing Alex Peck to pilot his SRS Motor Sports, Central Welding Supply to the checkers. Larson would dominate Saturday night’s event too, but this time park his racer in the Caleb’s Chop Shop Winner’s Circle.
The West Coast Vintage Sprintcars chased a pair of supermodifieds around the quarter-mile asphalt oval Friday and Saturday night. Jeff Cook took his 1992 Belfiore to the Elliott Sportsman Classic night victory, while Kenny Hamilton, at the controls of the familiar Pink Lady, took home the checkers on his iconic car’s namesake night.
Travis Pavlacky picked up yet another victory in his dominant 2019 Factory Motor Parts Mini Stock campaign Friday.
Sierra Giesler won Saturday night’s Pepsi Crate Car and ISRL Sprintcar feature. It was Giesler’s first non-winged sprintcar victory in nearly a decade.
The Firehouse Pub and Grill Bombers used all of the race track and then some as they battled through a mini main event Saturday. James Sheets used a little luck—and a big bounce off the turn four wall—to bring his machine home atop the newly-repaired Pepsi-Cola scoreboard.
As a melee developed behind him, James Pahl dashed across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe to secure one last victory on the Big Daddy’s Barbecue Hornets season Saturday. Standings leader AJ Collins followed Pahl across the line in his Touchdown Automotive machine to finish second, effectively securing his first Meridian Speedway championship.
This Saturday, September 28, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West invades Meridian Speedway for the NAPA Auto Parts Idaho 208 presented by Kart Idaho. Alongside the rising stars of NASCAR, the next generation of Meridian speedsters shine as the Mulder Engineered Race Engines Junior Late Models and Junior Stingers go door-to-door for their Maxwell Plumbing Trophies. The Teleperformance Street Stocks are also on tap for a 100 lap endurance race. General admission is $30 at the gate, or you can save $5 online at www.meridianspeedway.com/tickets. Gates open at 4:45 p.m. with preliminaries at 6:40 p.m. and the NAPA Auto Parts Idaho 208 kicks off at 8:30 p.m. We’ll see you this Saturday, September 28, for the NAPA Auto Parts Idaho 208 presented by Kart Idaho at your NASCAR Home Track, Meridian Speedway.