Sparks Fly Under Full Moon Saturdayadmin
A packed house and a full moon greeted Meridian Speedway as Ladies’ Night and the Winged Sprintcar Opener rolled onto the quarter mile. The only thing hotter than the early May sun was the on-track action as the Mountain Dew Winged Sprintcars, Kendall Ford Mini Stocks, Project Filter Pro-4s, Budweiser Modifieds, Claimer Stocks, and the Tates Rents Rookie Hornets. Sparks and fenders flew as these six division battled for short track supremacy.
Eleven strong Tates Rents Hornets rolled onto the quarter-mile for a 25 lap dash. When the green flag fell Kevin Kurtz jumped to the early lead in his Kim’s Kars, Challenger Auto Transport car while Rod Sturman sliced his PBT Auto Sales car through the field to take the spot on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard. Deep in the pack Nick Daffron and Eugene Atkinson went door-to-door for six laps before Daffron pulled his Discount Tire, Bob Hosier State Farm racer ahead of his competition. Meanwhile at the front Ron Compton raced his Allegiant Powder Coating, Norco car to the lead. Fast qualifier Kenny Piatt was more methodical in his climb to the front as he worked his way to the third position with just ten laps remaining. Though fast Piatt, who took an hour of his early day to give a long-time Meridian Speedway fan the ride of a lifetime, was able to work his way to second, then used lapped traffic to make his move around Compton for the top spot on the white flag lap. Compton wouldn’t have a chance to get the spot back as Piatt crossed the finish line first.
“It’s just a Hornet, but it’s a lot of work and it’s a lot of fun,” Piatt said in Arctic Circle Victory Lane.
The Claimer Stocks were already well-worn by the time they rumbled their way onto the speedway. Even before the full moon made its appearance high over turn two Meridian Speedway’s newest division saw bumpers, fenders, and tempers fly. The full-contact action continued when the green flag fell. Josh Hale piloted his ASA Auto Services, Muscle Pharm racer to the top spot early while Casey Hart muscled his pickup around the quarter-mile in second. Behind Hart’s Hart Construction, Ultimate Transmission racer JD Ford tried to mount a challenge. Finally Ford made his move low into turn three, but there wasn’t enough room beneath Hart. The two made contact and Hart spun to the grass. Under the ensuing caution Hart expressed his displeasure by leaving a few fresh dents along Ford’s driver’s side door.
When racing resumed Ben Crow challenged Hale on the high side for the lead. Crow’s Excel Equipment Company, Trenching Services car would fade from Hale’s bumper and fell into the clutches of Tim Shelton and a resurgent Ford. With a dozen circuits remaining Ford pulled low on Crow as Shelton raced to the high side. Three-wide the battle for second entered the third turn, and none of the three would make it out the other side. Ford, Crow, and Shelton jammed up and spun. Crow and Shelton would continue, but Ford’s Canyon Truck Upfilters, YHT Property Management car would leave the track on a wrecker with heavy right front damage. This caution brought Hart up to battle with Hale. Hart’s truck would prove too hard to handle and Hale drove out to a comfortable lead. Now Shelton’s Lasasco-sponsored car came up to battle Hart, but bashed the backstretch wall and fell back to fourth. Next it was Crow’s turn to try the big, sideways truck for second. Hart wouldn’t yield the position and finished the race behind Hale.
Rich Friend paced the Budweiser Modified field to the green for a 25 lap fight around the quarter-mile. Friend paced the field for the first five laps while back in the pack Josh Jackson motored his way around the high side of the race track to wrestle the lead away. The battle for fifth on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard heated up as Dave Wurtz Jr. and Robert Rendo made contact and went for a lurid slide in front of the North End grandstand. This contact forced Wurtz Jr. and his HazTech Drilling of Meridian racer to the pit area with ten circuits remaining. Rendo’s All American Powder Coating, Identify Sign Works car withstood the contact and he rebounded to finish fifth. Jackson looked to have the race well in hand when a caution with three laps remaining bunched the field. Jackson got the jump on the restart and sailed away to victory while Cade Holland in his River Adventures modified tried the high side of Friend for second. Friend held on to the runner up spot and Holland warded off a hard last lap charge from Randy Keckley’s Pegasus Transport and Towing, Advanced Transmissions racer to keep third.
“I’m just happy to be back in the seat,” said Jackson. “We’re going to rack up a few of these.”
Meridian Speedway’s fastest competitors the Mountain Dew Winged Sprintcars thundered to life as the lights came on for a 35 lap barn burner. Polesitter Matt Elliott jumped to the early race lead while Colton Nelson and quick-time Bryan Warf made their way to the low line and the front, taking second and third position on lap three respectively. Now Warf went to work on Nelson’s Blimpie of Meridian, LFC Cleaning racer. The pair caught Elliott and Nelson had to lift, giving second to Warf and his Dave’s Quick Lube, PL Enterprises machine on lap five. Lap six saw Warf claim his spot in the high groove and zoom around Elliott to claim the lead. Fourth place was the most contested position on the racetrack as Chris Ratteree tried to work his Banner Promotions car around Tony Ackerland in lapped traffic. Ratterree would only concede the position when his car jumped loose in turn two and he shot to the infield. Undamaged Ratterree continued, but would settle for the fifth position. But in a race that lasted just over nine minutes Warf’s pace couldn’t be overcome and he wheeled his racer to victory.
“These first couple races are a big test for Diamond Cup,” said Warf, his eyes clearly locked on May 29 and 30 Northwest Sprintcar Racing Association Diamon Cup race.
When the green flag flew on the Project Filter Pro-4 main event outside polesitter Joe Barton found himself locked in a battle with John Riparetti for the top spot. As the field tried to sort itself out Larry Hull III and Kenny Chandler came together in turn three. Chandler spun his Project Filter, Fairly Reliable Bob’s car and the pair was sent to the back of the pack. When racing resumed the fight for first carried on until Ryan Bailey tried to dive his Les Schwab Tire, Clothes Line Cleaners machine beneath Riparetti. The two made contact and slid up the track but kept control of their racers and continued. The move put Bailey in second and Riparetti back to third. Now Bailey pulled to the outside of Barton, but Barton held the lead in his Tysco Structural Enterprises car. After a short battle Bailey faded from second and Brendon Fries began his assault on the leader Barton. Fries tried to steam around the high side of Barton. Barton dug deep and fended off the furious challenge lap after lap. The fight for first raged for nine laps and would have gone on until a caution flew and bunched the field again.
Barton and Fries didn’t miss a beat and went back at it when the race resumed. Fries continued to work the top line in his Chick-Fil-A Meridian, Boise Bath and Kitchen Company car using momentum to keep pace while Barton rocketed off the low side to maintain the lead. With ten to go Fries found some grip in the extreme high line and started to inch further up Barton’s right side. Fries ran so high he bounced his car off the outside wall with six laps remaining, and the next lap chose to change tactics and work the low line. With the white flag in the air Fries dove to the inside of Barton in turn one and the two came together. Barton spun, Fries had to get out of the throttle, and Chandler threaded the needle between Barton and the wall to grab the lead and the win.
“That was just uncalled for,” Chandler said of the battle in front of him. “But, everybody’s pretty close, and that makes it tough.”
The Kendall Ford Mini Stocks are always well-represented when they take the quarter-mile, and Saturday was no different as two dozen competitive racecars packed the speedway. When the green flag fell CJ Stirm got the drop on Pat McGuire to establish herself and her Boise Spring Works car as the leader. But McGuire piloted his Kin at Kuna Mountainland Physical Therapy, Ace Auto Sales racer back on the high side and from lap two to lap eight the field ran high-speed pace laps. Lap nine saw lapped traffic shuffle Stirm out of the lead. With clear racetrack ahead Brandon Shira cut to the low side and made his way around McGuire for the lead. Back in the pack Stirm and Travis Pavlacky came together at the flag stand on lap ten to bring out the race’s first caution. Both drivers would retire from the race.
On the restart Blake Coria roared to the outside of Shira for the lead. Meanwhile defending Kendall Ford Mini Stock champion Jason Sanders had worked his way to fifth after starting deep in the mid-pack hornet’s nest. Sanders used a rash of cautions between laps eight and twelve to move up to second, outside of Coria’s BC Towing and Recovery, Cutler’s BBQ car. When racing resumed Sanders made his move and outmuscled Coria down the back straightaway. But Sanders wasn’t alone as Alex Duda made a move in his Boise Boys Transportation car to second and caught Sanders as the leaders moved into lapped traffic. Sanders’ pace was too much for Duda and the young racer spun in turn three. Duda recovered to rejoin the pack in fifth. While the lead pack sorted itself out Scott Shoecraft was the man on the move. With a string of fast laps he worked his way to second, just car lengths behind Sanders when a caution flag fell with thirteen laps to go.
Now bunched up for a twelve lap sprint race Shoecraft had just two lapped cars separating him from leader Sanders. It took Shoecraft two laps to dispense of the traffic and with thee to go he was on Sanders’ rear bumper. As Shoecraft looked to the low side another caution slowed the pace with just two laps left. When the green flag fell on the final showdown Sanders got the jump on Shoecraft and pulled to an insurmountable lead and the victory.
With another hotly-contested night in the books the focus shifts to next weekend as Meridian Speedway is proud to host Military Appreciation Night and the Project Filter Twin 25’s. This full night of racing will feature the Project Filter Pro-4s, Pepsi Sprintcars, Coors Super Stocks, College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Program Street Stocks, Kendall Ford of Meridian Mini Stocks, and the College of Western Idaho High School Tuner as they battle for their Busted Spur Welding trophies. As always on Military Appreciation Night active duty military members are free at the gate with their military identification. Be sure to check meridianspeedway.com for all the latest news and special ticket offers and text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 for special info. Come early to claim a seat Saturday under the big yellow water tower at Meridian Speedway.