Weaver Wins Wild Pro-Late Model Feature on Last Lap Pass
Attrition and chaos ruled at Meridian Speedway on Saturday, May 13 as the Project Filter Twin 25’s presented by Wendy’s brought double main events to five of the quarter-mile asphalt oval’s toughest divisions. The Zamp Pro-Late Models, Idaho CDL Training Street Stocks, Boise Bath and Kitchen Company Mini Stocks, Project Filter Pro-4s, and the Trammel Construction Stingers all ran double features in pursuit of the night’s Kim’s Cars trophies.
The Zamp Pro-Late Models capped the Project Filter Twin 25’s presented by Wendy’s festivities with a wild 25-lap feature. On the break front row starters Neil Wassmuth and Gary Luck came together in the north end of the race track. Luck slid sideways, but was able to pilot his car into the infield grass without incident to keep the race under way.
This effort was for naught though as Johvan Dillon’s engine expired half way down the back straightaway and sent the young driver spinning into turn three. On the restart Ron Hayes took over the top spot and brought Dylan Caldwell with him to second.
As the lead changed hands first feature winner Josh Fanopoulos lost the handle on his machine and slammed the concrete barriers. Fanopoulos was okay after the spectacular wreck, but was forced to retire from the race.
When the green flag waved Caldwell took over the top spot, but soon came under fire from quick qualifier Daniel Johnson. Johnson stalked Caldwell over the race’s final dozen laps, then made his move as the white flag flew.
Johnson dove for the low line in turn one, but so did Caldwell. The pair made contact on corner entry and spun to the infield. This handed the lead to Tate Elquist. Elquist slowed to avoid the crash and heed the caution flag that would follow.
But this was the last lap, so scoring remained live.
This gave veteran campaigner Melissa Weaver an opening, and she stomped on the gas out of turn two and blew by Elquist for the lead. Elquist didn’t have time to recover, and Weaver flashed across the line for her first win of the season.
“That was a demolition derby,” Weaver said of the race.
Andrew Palmer and Josh Fanopoulos dueled for the early lead in the Idaho CDL Street Stocks’ second feature. Fanopoulos jabbed high and low as he looked for a way around Palmer, but Palmer blocked each advance to stay up front.
This physical action drew the ire of NASCAR Officials, and a rolled black flag was displayed to one of the top two runners. Palmer appeared to misinterpret the signal, and backed out of the gas to enter the pit area. Palmer was set straight as he slowed through turns one and two, but by the time he got back on the accelerator both he and Fanopoulos had fallen out of the top five.
This left first feature winner Jesse James Lawson and defending division champion Taylor Occhipinti to duel for the hardware. As the laps wound down a wily Occhipinti trapped Lawson behind slower traffic to take the lead. But Lawson’s car was too strong, and he powered back by Occhipinti and on to the victory. This left Occhipinti to deal with a hard-charging Scott Groom. Groom would get the best of this battle to come home second. Kendra Occhipinti finished fourth and Fanopoulos rebounded to fifth at the checkered flag.
Seventeen Boise Bath and Kitchen Company Mini Stocks crowded the quarter-mile for their second 25 lap feature. This congestion led to a lap three incident that saw Craig Taylor and Troy Palmer pound the turn two retaining wall. Both drivers exited their vehicles under their own power, but both cars were destroyed.
Out front, Ryan McCaul had his machine set on cruise control until quick qualifier Don Trafford broke into the runner up spot. Now free of traffic, Trafford rocketed to the leader’s bumper and used a mid-race restart to take over the point for good.
Behind Trafford, bad luck struck defending champion Travis Pavlacky’s pickup again as it burst into flames on the back stretch with four laps to go. Pavlacky dove to the infield and clambered out of the cab unhurt, but was forced to add another DNF to his season total.
Trafford controlled the following single-file restart and motored to the victory. McCaul came home second with Tyler Palmer third.
After a dominating victory in the night’s first Project Filter Pro-4 division feature, Jordan Harris lined up shotgun on the field for the second 25-lapper. While his younger sister Jessika shot to the lead Harris tore forward until contact with fast rookie runner Niko Heinzel stopped his progress at fourth place.
Harris quickly recovered and continued his climb up the ranks. First to fall was Ryan Bailey, then Sam Harris, no relation, and with six circuits left Jordan arrived at Jessika’s rear bumper.
Two laps later Jordan raced his way to the lead outright, which dropped Jessika into the clutches of Bailey. On the last lap the battle for second went sour as contact sent Jessika spinning to the infield while Bailey recovered to come home in the runner up spot.
But it all happened behind Jordan Harris, who completed the sweep of both Project Filter Twin 25’s presented by Wendy’s features.
Trammel Construction Stinger action saw Ryat Gorringe and Makayla Trafford battle for the night’s second feature victory. With the white flag in the air Trafford threw her machine hard into turn one, but couldn’t make the move stick and had to settle for third behind Gorringe and first feature winner Alannah Trammel.
The thrills and spills continue this Saturday night, May 20, as Meridian Speedway hosts its annual Smash-O-Rama, a full night of short track racing punctuated by daring stunts and capped by the World Famous Boat Races of Destruction. Secure your seats now through the tickets link at www.meridianspeedway.com. We’ll see you under the big, yellow water tower this Saturday night for Smash-O-Rama at your NASCAR Home Track, Meridian Speedway.
Submitted By: Tyler Schild