Speedy Weekend Crowns Four Champions at Meridian Speedway

Speedy Weekend Crowns Four Champions at Meridian Speedway

A lightning-fast track greeted Meridian Speedway as the quarter-mile oval celebrated Friday night’s Tom Elliott Sportsman Classic. The Royal Purple Northwest Sprintcar Racing Association Winged Sprintcars, Westcoast Vintage Sprintcars, and Kendall Ford of Meridian Mini Stocks opened the weekend’s double-header with a full night of racing action.

The Westcoast Vintage Sprintcars kicked off racing action with a twelve lap B Feature. Chilliwack, British Columbia racer Alan Levine raced his way to the early lead while Spokane, Washington’s John Coogan planted his machine in the outside line and rocketed through the field to the runner up spot on lap four.  At the race’s halfway point Coogan caught Levine and motored his way to the lead.  Boise, Idaho’s Dave Skyberg followed Coogan’s lead and roared to second on the white flag lap, but ran out of time to track down Coogan, who claimed the checkered flag.

The Kendall Ford of Meridian Mini Stocks brought fifteen strong machines to their 35 lap feature. On the green Nampa, Idaho’s Mike Vester jammed his Discount Tire, Fastway by Promoto Billett machine into the low line and moved from his second row starting spot to the lead.  Pole sitter Josh Jackson moved Vester out of the top spot on lap two, but was quickly under siege from Meridian, Idaho’s Terrell Daffron, who worked his Bob Hosier State Farm, Gilmore Meats entry free of the pack and passed Jackson for the lead on lap ten.

Behind the lead battle, second place point runner Jayson Wardle wheeled his Blohm’s Family Deli, Perfectly Posh racer into the third spot, desperate to chop into rival Jason Sanders’ point lead. While Wardle worried about Sanders, Boise, Idaho racer Mike Davis piloted his Bigelow Teas, DBI Speedshop machine below Kuna, Idaho’s Wardle to relieve him of the third position.  A midrace caution for a Jackson spin put Davis outside of leader Daffron with Wardle and Vester in row number two.

Daffron wasted no time taking the lead back, and Wardle followed Daffron past Davis to take second. Now it was Sanders on the move as the veteran campaigner moved his Divel Services, Excel Concrete Construction racer into the lead pack and used a late caution to pull to Wardle’s rear bumper.  Wardle felt the pressure and gave Daffron everything he had in the race’s final twelve laps, but Daffron countered every advance and took the win.

Another fast group of Westcoast Vintage Sprintcars roared back onto the quarter-mile for a fifteen lap A Feature. On the green Colbert, Washington’s Jeff Cook put his machine out front in turns one and two, but John Dahl powered past Cook to lead the first lap.  First to challenge Dahl was Bob Willis, who searched high and low for a way to take the race lead.  With three laps left Willis’ machine faded and Marty White blasted past to the runner up spot.  White pulled to Dahl’s tail tank on the white flag lap, but didn’t have enough to unseat Dahl, who powered to the checkers.

Before the Royal Purple NSRA Winged Sprintcar main event, the Tom Elliott Sportsmanship Award was presented to Veneta, Oregon racer Mitch Holte. Fittingly, Holte was working on a competitor’s machine when the announcement was made.

“I didn’t expect that,” Holte said of his award.

With pre-race ceremonies complete a dozen Royal Purple NSRA Winged Sprintcars roared to life for a forty lap main event. On the green Robert Beck overpowered Nampa, Idaho’s Mike Anderson to take the lead on lap one.  Next past Anderson was Matt Hein, who pinned his Coast-line West Insulation, Independent Motor Rebuilders machine to the outside line and marched toward the lead.  Early in the going quick qualifier Robbie Price’s Shark Racing Engines, Taylor Metal Craft entry lost power and the Cobblehill, British Columbia racer fell back to seventh in the running order.

On the move through the race’s first half was Bryan Warf, who wheeled his Dave’s Quick Lube, Oxarc Welding sprinter from a mid-pack starting spot to fourth on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard on lap fifteen. Warf wasn’t done there as he set to work on Anderson’s Bender Electric, Adaptive Graphics machine for the third spot.  At the race’s halfway mark Warf sat third and was running the fastest laps of any racer on the track.

Those fast laps paid off for Warf, who closed the gap on second place Hein. Warf had just latched onto Hein’s tail tank when Salt Lake City, Utah’s Mel Andrus experienced a mechanical failure and pounded the turn three concrete.  Andrus climbed from his machine under his own power, but his race weekend was over.  The restart put Hein to Beck’s outside with Warf and Kyle Alberding side-by-side in row two.

On the restart Beck pinched Hein to the front stretch wall, but Hein kept his foot hard down and the Roseburg, Oregon racer flew past Beck to the lead. Warf followed Hein’s lead and took the runner up spot one lap later before he made a desperate dash toward the leader.  Try as Warf might he couldn’t track down Hein, who piloted his sprinter into the Caleb’s Chop Shop Winner’s Circle.

“It’s fun racing with Robert and Bryan,” Hein said. “Bryan was probably the faster car…I was just waiting for [Warf] to sneak underneath me like he always seems to.”

Buhl, Idaho’s Stacey Jensen claimed the CT400 Winged Sprintcar championship in his YMC, Westside Body Works machine.

“I want to keep this class going,” Jensen said. “It’s affordable and a lot of fun.”

Championship season shifted into high gear Saturday night at Meridian Speedway as four divisions settled their seasons on the quarter-mile asphalt. The Royal Purple Northwest Sprintcar Racing Association, NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds, Teleperformance Claimer Stocks, and Junior Stingers crowned champions Saturday as the Westcoast Vintage Sprintcars rounded out a night full of tense action.

The Junior Stingers brought five of Meridian Speedway’s future stars to their final twelve lap feature. On the green Nampa, Idaho’s James Gates overpowered Alyse Schildhauer to take the early lead.  Schildhauer’s adventurous first lap continued as contact from Shane Ahlrich sent the young racer spinning up the track where she collected quick-qualifier Shane Harris.  All parties involved in the scrum were able to drive away from the accident, but Schildhauer’s  CCT machine was too badly damaged to return.

On the restart Gates put his YMC, Banner Promotions entry back in the lead with Cody Castricone, Harris, and Ahlrich in tow. Harris worked to put his Kim’s Kars entry even with Castricone’s Certified Services, Fast Glass racer, but a wild slide in turn one allowed Boise, Idaho driver Ahlrich to sneak into the third spot.  Ahlrich didn’t stop there as he blasted past Castricone on the outside and pulled even with Gates, then used a late caution flag to set up a last corner, last lap pass for the win.

With his third place finish Shane Harris was crowned the 2016 Junior Stinger champion in the Caleb’s Chop Shop Winner’s Circle.

The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds were next to crown a season champion as they fought for a thirty lap main event. On the break Nampa, Idaho’s Hunter Gates grabbed the top spot and pulled Meridian, Idaho racers CJ Stirm and Colton Nelson with him in the inside line.  Stirm was first to challenge Gates for the top spot, and she put her Allegiant Powder Coating, Meridian Drug Coalition machine in the lead on lap two.  While Stirm made her way forward, Nelson lost the handle on his machine and free-fell through the field.

As Nelson fell, quick qualifier Trevor Cristiani rocketed from his back of the pack starting spot into the top five. With a championship in the balance Nelson regained his momentum and followed Cristiani back up to the lead pack.  But Nelson pushed his Integrity Pools, YMC modified too hard and on lap fourteen Nelson clipped the back stretch wall before shooting into the turn three concrete.

The restart put new leader Rus Ward and Beau Gillogly on the first row with Stirm and Cristiani in the second. Ward dashed back out to the lead in his Boise Spring Works, A-1 Heating and Air Conditioning entry, but was immediately under siege from Cristiani, who put his Bell’s Automotive, Rocky Mountain Race Car Supply entry in the top spot with a dozen circuits remaining.  A late caution brought Ward to Cristiani’s rear bumper, but Cristiani was too strong and the Boise, Idaho racer blazed a trail straight to the Caleb’s Chop Shop Winner’s Circle.

Colton Nelson collected the first National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing championship awarded at Meridian Speedway as he collected the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified title.

“I can’t ask for a better team. We’ve got a whole lot of hours, and a whole lot of heartache, in it,” Nelson said.

A full field of Westcoast Vintage Sprintcars crowded the quarter-mile for a twelve lap B Feature. On the green Spokane, Washington’s Ralph Monhay blew past John Kaiser to lead lap one.  On the move was Boise, Idaho racer Dave Skyberg, who got his machine to work on the high side and navigated to a top five spot at the race’s halfway point.  Skyberg wasn’t done there, as he continued his high line march up the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard to third, but ran out of laps to catch Deer Park, Washington’s Robert Henry and winner Monhay.

Nine strong Teleperformance Claimer Stocks rumbled to the green flag of their twenty lap feature. On the green Meridian, Idaho’s Joe Thuss motored to the top spot with Josh Hale and Casey Hart in tow.  Hale put his ASAP Auto Services machine in the low line and worked Thuss over for the lead on lap three.  But Hale wasn’t safe up front as on lap five Hart pulled his Hart Construction, Ultimate Transmission racer to the leader’s rear bumper.

Try as Hart might he wasn’t able to fit his big pickup below Hale in the corners and was forced to devise another way to the lead. This hard fight for the lead got physical on lap twelve when the leaders came together on the front stretch.  The contact cut Hart’s right front tire, and going into turn three Hart’s truck wouldn’t turn and he bashed Hale hard into the wall.  Hart was able to make repairs, but Hale was forced to retire from the event.

This left Thuss, Jamie Hyde, his brother Brian Hyde, and Rich Lawson in the top four spots. On the restart Jamie Hyde slid high in turn one, allowing Brian Hyde to pull to Thuss’ rear bumper.  With five laps to go Brian Hyde raced his Affordable Rain Gutters, Big DZ Customs entry to Thuss’ outside and, after a three lap battle, Hyde held the top spot to himself.  This proved to be the winning pass as Brian Hyde claimed both the race victory and the Teleperformance Claimer Stock division championship.

“When we built this car I never thought we’d win a championship in it,” Hyde said post race. “I still don’t think it’s sunk in yet.”

The Westcoast Vintage Sprintcars rolled another field of sprinters to a fifteen lap A Feature. On the green Jim White rocketed to the lead with John Coogan, John Dahl and Marty White in tow.  Dahl was first to make a move as he stuck his sprinter to the high groove and blasted to the lead on lap seven.  Not to be outdone Marty White followed suit and by lap eleven was outside Dahl for the lead.  But Dahl battled back and pulled ahead to edge Marty White at the line.

The Royal Purple NSRA Winged Sprintcars closed Saturday night’s action with a fifty lap main event. On the green pole sitter Tristen Spiers of Adrian, Oregon bolted to the lead over Matt Elliott and Matt Hein.  Hein was quick to take second before Friday night’s feature winner set his Coast-line West Insulation, JR Standley Family machine to tracking down Spiers.

On the move was Bryan Warf, who knifed his way from eighth place to fourth in just three circuits. While Warf worked to track down the top three, Kyle Alberding was able to reel in Hein’s fading sprinter.  As the leaders entered lapped traffic the second through fourth place runners were nose to tail.

Warf was first to break the stalemate, as he pulled his Dave’s Quick Lube, Alan Marsh Travel Center entry high and blew past both Alberding and Hein in turn two to take second on lap 23. Now Warf set his sights on Spiers’ Telmate sprinter.  With twenty laps left a caution reset the field and brought Warf to Spiers’ outside for the restart.

When the green flag waved Warf shot to the lead while Spiers spun in front of the field in turn two. Miraculously no other drivers were collected, but his run for the win was done.  This left Warf and Alberding to duel from the front row on the restart with Sierra Jackson and Mike Anderson in row two.

On the green Warf blasted back to the point and Jackson worked her way around Alberding’s Holte Drilling Tools sprinter for second. Now Jackson worked to pilot her Telmate machine to Warf’s tail tank.  Jackson drove faster and faster each lap, but so did Warf, and the Meridian, Idaho racer sped to the victory.

“This feels good after…I feel like we gave one away last night,” Warf said of his win.

With his fifth place finish Matt Hein was crowned the Northwest Sprtincar Racing Association champion.

“It’s awesome to be on the list with everybody who’s won an NSRA championship,” Hein said.

The NASCAR Home Track action at Meridian Speedway continues Saturday, September 24 as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West invades the quarter-mile for the second annual NAPA Auto Parts Idaho 208. Alongside the emerging stars of NASCAR, the Pro Trucks, Project Filter Pro-4s and College of Western Idaho High School Tuners race Saturday to crown their season champions.  General admission to Saturday night’s NAPA Auto Parts Idaho 208 is just $35.  Advance tickets are available at meridianspeedway.com.  We’ll see you this Saturday, September 24 under the big yellow water tower at your NASCAR Home Track Meridian Speedway.