Payette driver gives Meridian Modifieds king run for his money

Payette driver gives Meridian Modifieds king run for his money

MERIDIAN, Idaho – Shelby Stroebel won a national championship last year and has been the most dominant racer in his class at ASA-sanctioned Meridian07stroebel Speedway since 2012.

Yet, the reigning ASA Modifieds champion still knows when he’s in a dogfight.

Case in point: A Budweiser B Modifieds driver was all over Stroebel’s back bumper for a thrilling portion of Saturday’s dual 40-lap main event.

The Meridian, Idaho driver still collected the checkered flag to sweep the ASA Modifieds twin features, but Payette, Idaho’s Josh Jackson made his presence known before settling in to win the Budweiser B Modifieds trophy.

In other early main events:

Rick Baldwin of Middleton, Idaho captured his second College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Street Stocks victory of the season.

Rob Powers of Meridian, Idaho, widened his points lead in the Coors Super Stocks with his second consecutive feature win.

Antonio Ryska of Caldwell, Idaho, gave up his car for the glory (and cash) after winning the Tates Hornets claimer race.

Josh Jackson of Payette, Idaho, was the first B Modifieds racer to cross the line in the combined main event with the ASA Modifieds.

“I was lollygagging around, and (Jackson) was next to me, and (ASA Modifieds driver Rus Ward) was behind me,” Stroebel said. “They were there.”

Stroebel surmised that the B Modifieds can run strong once the 10-inch tires break in about 10 laps into a race. ASA Modifieds run on eight-inch tires.

Jackson, who is in pursuit of points leader Randy Keckley of Boise, Idaho, proved it despite an early-race mishap.

“The car was a lot of fun,” he said. “We broke the front bumper with that little melee in Turn 1 and bent a wheel too. We had a nice little vibration for the rest of race.

“It was nice to get the win. We’ll keep chipping away at Randy’s lead and see if we can make it a points race.”

Baldwin was winded after his second Street Stocks victory of the season, but the respiratory difficulties could have been a combination of running laps around his racecar as it was parked in the north end after he had held off hard-charging Melissa Weaver of Nampa, Idaho, in the 30-lap feature.

“I have to give special thanks to Scotty Durbin,” Baldwin said of his crew chief. “He does so much to this car. He’s the one that makes it go around the track.”

Weaver gobbled up Baldwin’s lead, and the points leader ran nose-to-tail with one of her chief 2013 rivals for the final nine laps.

Weaver tried to get an advantage by driving her Chevrolet Camaro deep into the turns on the high side, but Baldwin also kept his edge.

Weaver’s last-ditch drive into Turn 1 on the white-flag lap sealed the deal for Baldwin as she drove high out of the groove and lost momentum.

Baldwin led the final 21 laps of the race after overtaking Nampa’s Tommy Kirkland with 22 laps left.

Marsing, Idaho’s Shaun Bush held the early lead, but was black flagged with 24 laps left.

Hometown Super Stocks racer Rob Powers pulled off his second straight main event victory and widened what had been a narrow series points lead over Justin Ellis.

Powers and Ellis were running first and second at the start of the 25-lap feature, but five laps in Ellis had to leave the racing surface because his racecar was spewing fuel.

It was a problem that would haunt the Boise, Idaho driver the rest of the race.

I kind of feel bad for Justin because we had a good race. Then I heard (officials) say, ‘Black flag,’ and I said, ‘Just let him stay out one lap then we can race.’ ”

Instead, Ellis lost 10 laps and Powers added to the points lead he grabbed when he won a couple weeks ago.

In the Tates Hornets feature, a 40-lapper that capped an early night, Ryska roared to the front as other drivers in the large field were trying to decide if they wanted to take the checkered and take a chance to lose their car.

Ryska finished ahead of track record-holder Lynn Sharp of Nampa for the victory then accepted $700 for his racecar (he got to keep the trophy).

Had Ryska refused racetrack promoter Adam Nelson’s offer of cash for his car, he would have lost the first-place trophy and the privilege to run in the Hornets division for the rest of the season.

A Ryska refusal also would have put the pressure on Sharp, who would have been asked to give up his car or risk the same fate.

For Sharp, it would have meant putting one of the fastest cars in the class on the line. The season points leader broke his own qualifying record with a 16.318-second lap to start the night. Sharp’s previous record was a 16.586 from Aug. 4 last season.

In the first ASA Modifieds main event, Shelby Stroebel proved that it doesn’t matter what number is on the door of his racecar.

Stroebel, who usually drives the No. 24 racer, jumped into an ASA Modified usually piloted by fellow Meridian resident Tony Flores and dominated the field in the first main event.

Stroebel started at the rear of the seven-car field. Within the first two laps of the 35-lap feature, he was chasing down the leaders – Cade Hollon of Riggins, Idaho, and Twin Falls, Idaho, driver Rick Fowble.

Stroebel, who watched Fowble win the last time out, drove the 07 racecar past the out-of-town racer on the backstretch with 30 laps remaining and then stretched his lead to as many as four seconds.

Stroebel’s daughter, meanwhile, was working her way toward the front.

Caitlin Stroebel wound up as runner-up after winning a door-to-door duel with Fowble with 14 laps remaining.

“That’s awesome,” Shelby Stroebel said of his daughter’s finish. “She had a pretty good car in the last practice session. She knocked on my door a couple times. If she beats me, I won’t mind.”

Shelby Stroebel usually drives the No. 24 ASA Modifieds racecar.

Next Saturday, fans can pack their cars full of friends and get in for one price during $20 Car Load Night for the Pepsi Twin 25s.

The NAPA Late Models, Pepsi Sprintcars, Domino’s Pizza Legends, TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks and Thunder Dogs. It’s also another Racing For Smiles of the Northwest event, where a sick child will be the guest of honor in the pits and during the races.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $7.50 for military personnel with ID and senior citizens, and $6 for children ages 7-11. Children 6 and younger get in free, as always. A family pass for two adults and up to four children 7-11 is $30. You can purchase tickets online at and save time not standing in line on race night.

Gates open at 4 p.m. with racing at 6:30 p.m.

Visit or “like” Meridian Speedway on Facebook to get the latest information.

The racetrack can be reached by phone at (208) 888-2813.

Meridian Speedway

Boys and Girls Club Night

Saturday’s unofficial results

Main events

ASA Modifieds No. 1 (35 laps) – 1. Shelby Stroebel, Meridian, Idaho; 2. Caitlin Stroebel, Meridian; 3. Rus Ward, Meridian; 4. Rick Fowble, Twin Falls, Idaho; 5. Cade Hollon, Riggins, Idaho

ASA Modifieds No. 2 (40 laps) – 1. Stroebel; 2. Ward; 3. Fowble; 4. Hollon; 5. Rich Friend

College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Street Stocks (30 laps) – 1. Rick Baldwin, Middleton, Idaho; 2. Melissa Weaver, Nampa, Idaho; 3. Marv Weaver, Nampa; 4. Daniel Johnson, Caldwell, Idaho; 5. Shawn Hansen, Boise

Coors Super Stocks (25 laps) – 1. Rob Powers, Meridian; 2. Kim Bradford, Eagle, Idaho; 3. Travis Pavlacky, Fruitland, Idaho; 4. Justin Ellis, Boise, Idaho; 5. Anthony Boven, Boise

Budweiser B Modifieds (40 laps) – 1. Josh Jackson, Payette, Idaho; 2. Jay Cook, Nampa; 3. Sharlet Wilson, Mountain Home, Idaho; 4. Gene Stroebel, Meridian; 5. Randy Keckley, Boise

Tates Hornets (40 laps) – 1. Antonio Ryska, Caldwell; 2. Lynn Sharp, Nampa; 3. Thomas Harrod, Nampa; 4. Cody Brizendine, Nampa; 5. Drew Crenshaw, Nampa


Heat races

(Eight laps each)

Coors Super Stocks

Fast Dash – 1. Powers; 2. Ellis; 3. Bradford; 4. Pavlacky; 5. Boven

Budweiser B Modifieds

Fast Dash – 1. Keckley; 2. Jackson; 3. Cook; 4. Wilson

CWI PTD Street Stocks

Fast Dash – 1. Marv Weaver; 2. Melissa Weaver; 3. Baldwin; 4. Hansen; 5. Johnson

B Heat – 1. Shaun Bush, Marsing, Idaho; 2. Tommy Kirkland, Nampa; 3. Destiny Huber, Caldwell; 4. Ray Bolinger, Meridian; 5. Mike Kemp, Meridian

 (Six laps each)

Tates Hornets

Fast Dash – 1. Crenshaw; 2. Sharp; 3. Cody Garrett, Boise; 4. Harrod; 5. Jess Ryska, Meridian

B Heat – 1. Chad Barker, Kuna, Idaho; 2. Kevin Johnson, Kuna; 3. Cody Kirkland, Meridian; 4. Antonio Ryska; 5. Charlie Atkinson, Caldwell

C Heat – 1. Al Russell, Meridian; 2. Jeff Goade, Meridian; 3. Kenny Driebergen, Boise; 4. Hunter Gates, Nampa; 5. Chuck Youngblood, Meridian

D Heat – 1. James Pahl, Caldwell; 2. Monica Heath, Caldwell; 3. Stacy Heath, Nampa; 4. Bill Allen, Meridian; 5. Fred Nagele, Boise

Fast times

ASA Modifieds – Shelby Stroebel, 14.033

Coors Super Stocks – Powers, 14.552

College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Street Stocks – Melissa Weaver, 14.877

Budweiser B Modifieds – Keckley, 14.647

Tates Hornets – Lynn Sharp, Nampa, 16.318 (track record; previous – Sharp, 16.586, Aug. 4, 2012)