Perseverance Marks Second Championship Nightadmin
The concrete jungle became a little more menacing Saturday as Meridian Speedway hosted its second of three championship nights at the quarter mile. Settling championships Saturday were the Project Filter Pro-4s, the TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks, and the Thunderdogs. Joining these championship divisions were the Meridian Speedway Modifieds and the Tates Rents Hornets. As competitors pulled onto the quarter mile it was difficult to miss the addition of a concrete inside wall designed to protect Fireworks America’s evening finale.
With the close confines of Meridian Speedway now even tighter the Project Filter Pro-4s closed their season with a 30 lap main event. When the green flag waved Rookie of the Year contender Brendon Fries got the jump on James Cloud’s Tundra Towing, Cash and Save Motors car to lead the first lap. This lead would be short lived as Fries’ Corona Village, Chick-fil-A Meridian car would encounter issues two laps later, bringing out a caution flag and allowing early charger Ryan Bailey to take the lead in his Les Schwab Tire, Mulder’s Auto Machine entry. On restart Bailey would lose the lead as Larry Hull III piloted his BoiseTrader.com, Cuddy Mountain Transport racer to the top spot. Behind Hull III championship leader Joe Barton looked to the high side of Bailey for second. For five fast laps the pair would go wheel-to-wheel for the runner up spot, but despite the fight from Bailey, it was Barton who took the spot just before the race’s halfway point. Behind the top three Ron Hayes worked his Monster Energy, Tony’s Texaco Pro-4 to the inside of early leader Cloud for fourth. At the front of the field Barton began logging fast laps in his Tysco Structural Enterprises entry, but wouldn’t track down leader Hull III, who pulled to his second main event win of the 2014 season. While Hull III claimed the night’s checkered flag Barton claimed the season championship.
“We’ve had a good year in all these cars,” said Hull III as he celebrated the main event win with his 5-year-old daughter in Arctic Circle Meridian Victory Lane.
The Meridian Speedway Modifieds sped their way through a 35 lap feature. From the pole position Brent Collins powered his Collins Body and Paint racer past Rodney Houpt’s Boise Spring Works, River Adventures modified for the lead while Rick Fowble and Charlie Ham Jr. rocketed to second and third on the low side. Now Ham Jr. switched his Triangle Truck Center, Platinum Mortgage racer to the high side and on lap five was able to wrestle the lead from Collins. Behind Ham Jr. it was Dennis Wurtz II and Shelby Stroebel, driving his daughter Caitlin’s Trinity Construction, Canyon Windshield car, that moved into second and third. Stroebel would yield third to Rus Ward as Wurtz II worked his Glen’s Towing, Curtis Clean Sweep modified beneath Ham Jr. for the lead with 23 to go. With a loud series of pops Ham Jr.’s engine started to lose power, dropping him through the field as Ward closed on Wurtz II. At the halfway point Wurtz II held a fraction of a second lead over Ward’s Boise Spring Works, A-1 Heating and Air Conditioning machine. Even lapped traffic couldn’t separate the top two as the gap at the front remained under one second until the final ten circuits when Wurtz II’s superior horsepower allowed him to pull to an insurmountable lead and the main event win.
Wurtz II was so excited he broke into dance upon climbing from his modified.
The Tates Rents Hornets brought 23 cars to contest their 35 lap main event. With the green flag in the air Del Scott charged to the lead while DJ Everett began a series of three wide maneuvers to make his way from the back of the field to the front. His efforts paid off just in time as on lap two Sean Young’s Kims Kars, 208 Crossfit car got turned around off of turn four, blocking the race track and collecting nearly a dozen racecars. Included in the melee were points leaders Rob Powers and Kodi Newberry. Both drivers would collect minor damage but continue. On the restart Darren Purkey pulled to the lead, bringing Fred Nagele and James Pahl’s Raceway Video entry with him to second and third. Pahl would be found by a familiar foe as Everett worked below the young racer on lap four to take third. But Everett didn’t stop there as he knifed his way past Purkey and Nagele to take the lead one lap later. Behind Everett it was Kodi Newberry on the move, racing his way back through the pack to second place on lap ten. The sledding was tougher for Powers, who tangled with Thomas Harrod on lap eight and then with Charlie Atkinson on lap thirteen. Two laps later Powers got crossed up in turn four and piled his Vapology, Pacific Movers car into the concrete. Again Powers would continue, but restart at the back of the pack.
On the restart Everett tried desperately to hold onto his lead, but Newberry overpowered him on the high side to take the lead, bringing Harrod with him to second. Behind this lead fight Michael Capps got turned around in turn four and slid up in front of Charlie Atkinson, whose car sailed through the air at the contact, landing just in time to smack the turn four wall. Atkinson would be okay after the wild ride, though his Sarge’s Towing, Collision Experts car would be retired for the evening. This restart put Harrod’s PBT Auto Sales machine outside of Newberry on the restart, but again Newberry was able to outmuscle his competition for the top spot. With ten to go Harrod pulled up to Newberry’s rear bumper and began to apply some serious pressure from the low groove. Unable to gain the lead Harrod settled back into second as Lynn Sharp mounted a charge to the top three and challenged Harrod for the runner up spot. As this battle raged Newberry wheeled his Disaster Kleen-up, US Shingle car hard, surviving a last lap run by Harrod, and claimed the main event victory.
“It feels good to finally be in victory lane,” said Newberry, who skipped a Homecoming dance for this race.
The TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks closed their season with a 40 lap main event. CJ Stirm roared past Mike Davis’ Bigelow Teas, Nampa Valley Helicopter entry to lead lap one while Rick Brees and Blake Coria worked their way to the front as well. Brees would work his way to the top by lap three while championship contenders Donavon Parker and Jason Sanders waited for the field to string out before they mounted their run to the front. A side-by-side battle between Davis and Mary Johnson in her Mulder’s Auto Machine, Catapult 3 racer slowed the majority of the pack for the first ten circuits, but finally Johnson was able to break free, bringing Parker and Jonathan Hull with her. At the halfway point Parker had piloted his Raceway Video, Superior Satellite car into the top three, while point leader Sanders held his Valley Property Management, Divel Services car comfortably in tenth. Sanders’ comfort wouldn’t last long as contact sent early leader Stirm around in front of the championship leader, forcing him to the inside concrete. Johnson and Keri Ballard were also involved in the pile up. While the damage to Ballard’s Ace Auto Sales, Twin Dolphins car was minimal the damage to her point position was devastating. At the night’s outset she held the fourth position by just six points over Coria and Jayson Wardle. Now she would restart the race deep in the field while Coria’s BC Towing and Recovery, Cutlers BBQ machine sat third.
The restart saw Parker try to outrun Brees down the backstretch, but the two would make contact and go first to the back stretch wall, then the turn three water barrels. Ray Bollinger and Hull were also collected. The only member of the top five that survived the skirmish was Coria, who squirted through on the inside. The restart would see Coria and Brandon Shira on the front row with Wardle and Travis Pavlacky in third and fourth. When the green flag fell Coria shot to the lead, but Shira’s Ace Auto Sales, Major Tire and Hitch entry tracked Coria down to make a pass for the lead on the high side, bringing Pavlacky with him. But Coria would battle back on the inside so that with fifteen laps to go it was a three way fight for first. As Coria made ground on the low side Pavlacky moved down also, trying to clear Shira and mount a charge for the lead. With ten to go Pavlacky would pass Shira and set to work on Coria from the high line. Side-by-side the two would duel until Pavlacky outmatched Coria with five to go. While this battle played out Parker knifed his damaged racer up to third. Also working her way onto the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard was Ballard, who passed standings foe Wardle for fifth on the last lap. But all this transpired behind Pavlacky, who won his second main event of the season.
Despite the heroic drive by Parker back through the field Sanders’ point lead was too much to overcome and he collected the championship. The tight battle for fourth place in the standings was won by Ballard, who nipped Coria by seventeen markers after overcoming her early race adversity.
“I’ve got to thank my dad,” Sanders said in Arctic Circle Meridian Victory Lane. “He put this car together so many times while I was off making a living.”
Capping the night were the World Famous Boat Races, a zany race where competitors tie, chain, or otherwise attach boats to their vehicles and race around the quarter-mile while trying to swerve, smash, and crash through other competitors boats. Early on in the action Pick Up Man continued his boat racing domination as he charged through and over the competition. While Pick Up Man battered every boat in its path Bulldacious would wait patiently for his opportunity to strike, and sever the defending boat race winner from his craft. That left Bulldacious, Rob Powers in the Kapowers hornet, and Twin Falls, Idaho Thunderdog Woody Woodpecker locked in the battle for boat race supremacy. Bulldacious was disqualified first, then Powers got hung up on Woody Woodpecker’s boat, handing the event victory to Woody Woodpecker.
“This is way more fun that we have over there,” said Woody Woodpecker’s driver of his experience at Meridian Speedway.
After a long season battle Bulldacious pulled into Arctic Circle Meridian Victory Lane to celebrate his championship. “It’s just like it was the first time, only it’s a little better this time,” said Bulldacious’ driver.
Next Saturday Meridian Speedway concludes its 2014 asphalt racing season with TEAM Mazda Free Car Night. Champions in the Meridian Speedway Modified, Budweiser Modified, Junior Stinger, and Tates Rents Hornets divisions will be crowned Saturday. Along with these championship divisions the Junior Legends will run an exhibition race to cap the season. General admission for Saturday’s racing is just $10.25. Be sure to check www.meridianspeedway.com for special ticket offers and more information. Gates open for the final time this season at 4 p.m. with racing taking the green flag at 6:30 p.m. Don’t miss a minute of championship action under the big yellow water tower at Meridian Speedway.
As always this weekend’s action was sponsored, in part, by the Contingency Connection. For more information about Contingency Connection contact Meridian Speedway officials or staff.