Quick Qualifiers Sweep Winged Sprintcar Openeradmin
Brilliant sunshine greeted race fans Saturday, April 21, as Meridian Speedway hosted the Winged Sprintcar Opener. The Mountain Dew Winged Sprintcars, Pepsi Crate Cars and Idaho Sprintcar and Roadster League Super Sixes, Coors Super Stocks, Teleperformance Claimer Stocks, and Junior Stingers provided a full night of thrills and spills as they battled the quarter-mile oval.
The Pepsi Crate Car and Idaho Sprintcar and Roadster League Super Sixes joined forces for the first open-wheel main event of 2018. Outside pole sitter Rich Montes of Caldwell, Idaho shot to the early lead as the green flag waved. Behind Montes, quick-qualifiers Tony Ackerland and Rob Grice tore through the field from their back of the pack starting spots to take over first and second on lap five.
Grice set to work on Ackerland, first from the low groove, then in the high line. Each time Ackerland had an answer, and the veteran campaigner clung to the top spot through the race’s halfway point. The only thing that could calm the lead fight was a caution flag, which left Ackerland and Grice side by side for a twelve lap shootout.
The green flag waved and Grice motored around the high side to claim the lead. A late caution allowed Ackerland to reel in the leader, but Grice was undeterred and he piloted his machine across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe for the win.
The Coors Super Stocks rumbled to green for their first 25 lap tussle of 2018. On the green, Boise, Idaho’s Gale Carter blasted past pole sitter Melissa Arte to lead lap one. Pat Tully and Josh Jackson followed Carter around Arte and quickly established themselves in second and third. Jackson used lap three to pin Tully behind Carter as he worked to take over the top spot. But contact on lap six sent Carter spinning down the back stretch. Both Carter and Jackson were sent to the tail end of the field for the restart.
With the green flag back in the air Tully took off. But Tommy Harrod’s machine came to life and the Caldwell, Idaho driver challenged Tully for the top spot throughout the race’s middle stages. While Tully held off Harrod, Carter, Arte and Jackson fought for top five real estate. With ten laps left Carter broke the log jam, which allowed Jackson to pounce and drive his machine into third place with just over four second between he and the lead fight.
Up front Harrod jabbed high and low as he turned up the heat on Tully. After six hard laps Harrod’s car began to fade, and Tully walked away to claim his second win of the evening.
The Mountain Dew Interstate Winged Sprintcars sped through a thirty lap main event to close Saturday night’s action. On the break Aaron McPeak jumped to the lead while Adrian, Oregon’s Aiden Spiers and Caldwell, Idaho driver Justin Segura worked their way into second and third. Next to emerge from the pack was Bryan Warf, who pinned his sprinter to the high side and worked to the leader’s tail tank in eight short laps.
By lap ten Warf held the top spot on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard, with fellow Meridian, Idaho racer Colton Nelson in the second position. Next to find clean air was Sierra Giesler, who shook free of the pack on lap sixteen and began to close on the leaders.
What was a five second deficit for Giesler quickly closed to less than two as the lady racer charged forward. Nelson was Giesler’s first target, but lapped traffic thwarted her run and she would settle for third behind Nelson and race winner Warf.
The thrills continue next Saturday, April 28 as the NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Latemodels open their season with the Pro Build 100. The PitstopUSA.com NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds, Domino’s Legends, TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks, High School Tuners, and Big Daddy’s Barbecue Hornets round out a full slate of short track racing action. Plus, Saturday night features the first Hungry Onion Drive-Inn Bike Race for Kids. General admission to Saturday night’s stock car thrill show is just $11.50 for adults, $9 for seniors and members of the armed forces, $6.50 for kids 7-11, and as always kids 6 and under get in free. Gates open at 4:45p.m. with the first green flag at 6:45 p.m. Log on to meridianspeedway.com for more highlights from last Saturday night and all the latest news and notes from around the quarter-mile oval. Sign up to receive exclusive speedway updates by texting ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483. We’ll see you this Saturday, April 28, for the Pro Build 100 under the big yellow water tower at your NASCAR Home Track, Meridian Speedway.