Rivals rev up title chases at Meridian Speedway

Rivals rev up title chases at Meridian Speedway

MERIDIAN, Idaho – With the season’s biggest weekend of Late Model racing looming at ASA-sanctioned Meridian Speedway, the local gang got in some early latemodel131drama Saturday night.

The Carbon X Rocky Mountain Challenge Series will make its only appearance of the season Friday and Saturday at the quarter-mile paved oval.

The RMCS, which features two Meridian Speedway drivers – Chris Fenton and Trevor Cristiani – in the top six, will run 200 laps next week.

As preparation, local racers battled through 50 laps of main events Saturday in the Pepsi Twin 25s.

Fenton had his modest two-race home-track streak snapped in the opening foray as Nampa, Idaho’s Dylan Caldwell came out on top.

The victory allowed Caldwell to maintain a lead over Fenton for the Meridian season title. In a battle between the past two track champions, reigning Late Model king Caldwell entered the night with a 15-point lead over Fenton, who won the 2011 crown.

In the second 25-lapper, Boise, Idaho’s Travis Anderson rediscovered the form that led him to the night’s quick qualifying time and rolled to the win as Fenton finished third nearly two seconds off the pace, and Caldwell slipped to fourth place.

In other main events:

Garden City, Idaho’s Phyl Zubizareta beat chief rival Casey Tillman of Kuna, Idaho by more than half a second in the Domino’s Pizza Legends.

Tony Ackerland collected his third consecutive Pepsi Sprintcars victory.

Chad Barker took the TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks trophy back to Kuna, Idaho.

Devil Made Me Do It swept the Thunder Dogs competition with Meridian, Idaho’s Joe Volm at the wheel. First, Devil Made Me Do It was the last racecar to have a piece of plywood pinned to its roof in the Lowe’s Home Improvement salute to the do-it-yourselfers. Then, Devil Made Me Do It came out on top in the 25-lap main event.

In the first Late Models 25-lap feature, Caldwell was dominant, winning by nearly eight-tenths of a second over Lee Hackney of Boise. Hackney has made one RMCS start this season. Fenton was fifth in the first feature, and Anderson was mired in an eighth-place finish.

Ackerland, who has seen success racing with and without fenders, was virtually untouchable in the Pepsi Sprintcars main event.

Of course, that pretty much has been the case all season for the veteran racecar driver.

He put a 1.7-second margin of victory on the field in the 30-lap main event to maintain his lead in the season standings on Nampa’s Rob Grice, who finished second in the feature and remained in second place in the championship chase.

Ackerland has won four of the division’s five main events this season.

Much like Ackerland and Grice, Zubizareta and Tillman  took their 1-2 championship battle to the pavement – again.

The same two drivers dueled for the 2012 championship with Zubizareta coming out on top as Tillman focused on his Legends campaign after wrecking early in the Pepsi Sprintcars season.

This year, the men are running through the Legends season in the same order – Zubizareta at the top and Tillman trying to find a way around him.

On Saturday, they were joined in the early going by Peyton Saxton, who for the second time in July towed from Las Vegas to lay rubber down on his new favorite track.

Saxton set the quick time, but Zubizareta sent an early message with a win in the A Heat. Tillman, meanwhile, finished fourth in the B Heat.

In the main, Saxton struggled and found himself 13 laps off the pace by the end of the night. Tillman couldn’t catch Zubizareta, who won by 0.677 of a second.

While Tillman couldn’t capture the checkered flag in the Legends, another Kuna driver held off a top contender for the Mini Stocks championship.

Barker edged Caldwell, Idaho’s Jason Sanders by nearly four-tenths of a second as all but three of 16 cars to start the 30-lap four-cylinder feature finished on the lead lap. Points leader Jonathan Hull finished eighth, nearly five seconds behind Sanders, who sits second in the season standings.

The Carbon X Rocky Mountain Challenge Series comes to town for two feature races Friday and Saturday.

On Friday, the RMCS Late Model 75 highlights a night that also includes the SPI Super Sixes tour and local divisions Coors Super Stocks and College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Street Stocks.

Borrowed Hornets will hit the pavement, too, as the Preacher Feature to find the Fastor Pastor brings the valley’s clergy together to race.

Admission is $12 for adults, $9.50 for senior citizens and military personnel with ID and $8 for children ages 7-11. Children 6 and younger get in free.

The RMCS Late Models headline Saturday night for the NAPA Auto Parts Treasure Valley 125. The Mtn. Dew Winged Sprintcars, Super Sixes and Tates Hornets also will compete.

Children can get in on the action with another round of Bike Races for Kids.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $12.50 for seniors and military and $11 for children ages 7-11. Children 6 and younger get in free.

Both nights gates open at 4 p.m. with racing at 6:30 p.m.

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

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

Meridian Speedway

Pepsi Twin 25s

Saturday’s unofficial results

Main events

NAPA Late Models No. 1 (25 laps) – 1. Dylan Caldwell, Nampa, Idaho; 2. Lee Hackney, Boise, Idaho; 3. Dennis Brodigan, Nampa; 4. Tyler Marston-Henderson, Nampa; 5. Chris Fenton, Meridian, Idaho

NAPA Late Models No. 2 (25 laps) – 1. Travis Anderson, Boise; 2. Dennis Wurtz, Kuna, Idaho; 3. Fenton; 4. Caldwell; 5. Brodigan

Pepsi Sprintcars (30 laps) – 1. Tony Ackerland, Star, Idaho; 2. Rob Grice, Nampa; 3. Justin Segura, Caldwell, Idaho; 4. Kevin Kressly, Caldwell; 5. Ryan Wiederich, Nampa

Domino’s Pizza Legends (40 laps) – 1. Phyl Zubizareta, Garden City, Idaho; 2. Casey Tillman, Kuna; 3. Caity Miller, Boise; 4. Chase Gilbertson, Boise; 5. Chance Davis, Emmett, Idaho

TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks (30 laps) – 1. Chad Barker, Kuna; 2. Jason Sanders, Caldwell; 3. Brendon Fries, Boise; 4. Jayson Wardle, Kuna; 5. Brandon Shira, Boise

Thunder Dogs (25 laps) – 1. Devil Made Me Do It (Joe Volm, Meridian); 2. Big Tuna (Stan Irons, Boise); 3. Money Pit (Kennon Irons, Boise); 4. Bulldacious (James DeMello, Boise); 5. Hot Pursuit (James Cloud, Meridian);

Lowe’s Home Improvement Plywood Race for Thunder Dogs – 1. Devil Made Me Do It; 2. Over Kill (Mike Bako, Boise); 3. Hot Pursuit; 4. Sledgehammer (David Jolley, Nampa); 5. Big Tuna


Trophy Dashes

(Four laps each)

NAPA Late Models – 1. Hackney; 2. Dave Thomasson, Meridian; 3. Wurtz; 4. Anderson; 5. Fenton

Pepsi Sprintcars – 1. Grice; 2. Ackerland; 3. Colton Nelson, Meridian; 4. Wiederich

Domino’s Pizza Legends – 1. Trevor Cristiani, Boise; 2. Peyton Saxton, Las Vegas; 3. Zach Blume, Eagle, Idaho; 4. Camron Madsen, Boise

TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks – 1. Sanders; 2. Fries; 3. Barker; 4. Duane Gerber, Boise


Heat races

(Eight laps each)

Pepsi Sprintcars

A Heat – 1. Ackerland; 2. Grice; 3. Jimmy Gross, Fruitland, Idaho; 4. Nelson; 5. Wiederich

B Heat – 1. Tyler Barrow, Boise; 2. Mike Anderson, Nampa; 3. Segura; 4. Ryan Newman, Caldwell; 5. Kressly

Domino’s Pizza Legends

A Heat – 1. Zubizareta; 2. Madsen; 3. Saxton; 4. Cristiani; 5. Blume

B Heat – 1. Chance Davis; 2. Miller; 3. Jonathan Davis, Emmett; 4. Tillman; 5. Mike Cullum, Meridian

C Heat – 1. Chase Gilbertson; 2. Dayna Skiver, Meridian; 3. Ethan Jones, Meridian; 4. Cody Hollis, Payette, Idaho; 5. Jamie Hyde, Boise

TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks

A Heat – 1. Amber Rogers, Meridian; 2. Wardle; 3. Jonathan Hull, Boise; 4. Fries; 5. Sanders

B Heat – 1. Alex Duda, Boise; 2. TJ Labronte, Meridian; 3. Mike Davis, Boise; 4. Shira; 5. Skeeter Stewart, Boise

Fast times

NAPA Late Models – Anderson, 14.072 seconds

Pepsi Sprintcars – Ackerland, 13.462

Domino’s Pizza Legends – Saxton, 15.044

TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks – Duane Gerber, 15.569