Spills, Thrills Highlight Jack Link’s Snack Attack Nightadmin
A hungry bunch of racers stormed onto Meridian Speedway for Jack Link’s Snack Attack Night. The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds, College of Western Idaho Super Street Stocks, Pepsi Crate Cars, Idaho Sprintcar and Roadster League Super Sixes, College of Western Idaho High School Tuners, and TATES Rents Hornets all raced wheel-to-wheel in pursuit of valuable late-season points.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds rolled ten strong machines onto the quarter-mile for a thirty lap feature race. On the green outside pole sitter Randy Keckley piloted his Pegasus Transport and Towing, Curtis Clean Sweep modified to the early lead, but was tracked down by Meridian, Idaho’s Rodney Houpt on lap three. On the move early were quick qualifiers Rus Ward and Colton Nelson. First to Houpt’s rear bumper was Ward, who worked to get underneath his teammate and eventually took his Boise Spring Works, River Adventures entry to the lead on lap fourteen.
While Ward worked to clear Houpt, point leader Colton Nelson sat patiently in third, until Houpt slipped up in turn three and allowed Nelson to take his Integrity Pools, YMC machine to second place. A caution with twelve laps remaining brought Nelson even with Ward as the top two point runners took the green flag.
Nelson worked the high line to rocket past Ward in turns one and two, while Boise, Idaho’s Larry Hull III made his way around Ward to take second place one lap later. With eight laps left Hull III arrived at Nelson’s rear bumper and slung his Diversified Carpet Cleaning racer sideways in his bid for the victory. The strain was too much for Hull III’s machine, and he fell back into Ward’s clutches. Try as Ward might he couldn’t make his way around Hull III, and settled for third behind Hull III and Nelson.
“We had an awesome car,” Nelson said.
The College of Western Idaho Super Street Stocks rumbled onto the asphalt to contest the 25 lap Dee Forrey Memorial race. On the break outside pole sitter Jordan Harris roared past Gale Carter to lead lap one. Carter battled hard on the inside to keep his Associated Pacific Movers, Steve Bosselman-sponsored machine second, but the high line prevailed as Kennewick, Washington’s Terry Lydell and Nampa, Idaho’s Melissa Weaver-Arte dashed past the veteran campaigner.
Weaver-Arte wasn’t content with third and she put her Marv’s Tire Service, Dillon Auto Craft Performance Engines machine in the high line to blast past Lydell, then to the low side of the track to take the lead from Harris. Next to emerge from the pack was Josh Jackson, who forced his way past Harris’ Kim’s Kars entry to take second place. Jackson wheeled his racer hard to keep pace with Weaver-Arte, but it was a caution flag that closed the gap with seven laps remaining and put Jackson to the outside of Weaver-Arte.
Jackson go to the gas pedal fast, but Weaver-Arte was faster and she stormed back to the top spot. Jackson had nothing left in his machine and was forced to settle for second as Weaver-Arte took the checkered flag and put her name on the Dee Forrey Memorial trophy for the first time.
“I’m proud and honored to have my name on it,” Weaver-Arte said in the Caleb’s Chop Shop Winner’s Circle.
A full field of College of Western Idaho High School Tuner competitors zipped to the green flag of their thirty lap feature. The inside line proved the place to be as Garden Valley, Idaho’s Bryce Edwards piloted his BC Towing, Castle Mountain Homes machine to the lead. First to challenge Edwards was Meridian, Idaho’s Peter Woog, who worked the low line in his Discount Tire, Les Schwab entry. But it was new track record holder Riley Rogers who pinned his H&H Accounting, Goodwill Finance racer to the outside line and blasted three-wide to the lead.
Next to challenge Edwards and Woog were Kendra and Taylor Occhipinti, who filed past the early frontrunners on lap six to take second and third place on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard. The Occhipinti sibling rivalry heated up quickly as Taylor closed on older sister Kendra, then drove his Marv’s Tire Service, Bearclaw Graphics machine into the runner up spot on lap thirteen. A caution one lap later would put the younger Occhipinti to Rogers’ inside on the race’s final restart.
On the green Rogers blasted back into the lead with Taylor in hot pursuit. After a short battle with Woog, Kendra Occhipinti raced her way forward and set to work tracking down her younger brother. Try as Kendra Occhipinti might, she didn’t have enough and settled for third behind Taylor Occhipinti and Rogers.
“These are amazing drivers, all of them,” Rogers said.
The Pepsi Crate Cars and Idaho Sprintcar and Roadster League Super Sixes joined forces to bring 19 stout machines to the quarter-mile. On the green Boise, Idaho’s Aaron McPeak roared to the lead with Kyle Burrill and Drew Crenshaw in tow. On the move early in the 35 lap feature was quick qualifier Justin Segura, who took just five laps to crack the top five. Three laps later Segura sat second, and after ten laps Segura powered his Garage Graffix, PBT Auto Sales entry to the top spot.
Lapped traffic was heavy, and the leaders diced two and three wide lap after lap to make headway. Action heated up for the runner up spot as Dean Waltman and Crenshaw cut below Burrill for second place at the races halfway point. As Waltman and Crenshaw punched a hole in traffic, Bob Bachman snuck into the picture, and with fifteen circuits remaining it was Bachman who raced his SPI Transoprtation, Gillogly Fabrication sprinter to the runner up spot.
With Segura long gone the fight was for second as Waltman went to work on Bachman’s rear bumper. Waltman jabbed high and ducked low in his Twin Falls Boledrome, Rockhound Jody Jewelry machine, but either Bachman or lapped cars greeted him at each turn. But with just four laps remaining it was Bachman who got bottled up on the back stretch, which allowed Waltman to flash past. But Bachman wasn’t ready to give up.
Out of turn four on the white flag lap Waltman and Bachman again found themselves slowed by traffic. Bachman swung wide, but so did Waltman, and the two made contact at the start finish line. Bachman catapulted over Waltman and slammed into the catch fence. When the smoke cleared, all drivers emerged from their wrecked racers okay. Repairs were made to the front stretch catch fence and racing action resumed just over thirty minutes later.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds and College of Western Idaho Super Street Stocks combined for the night’s 35 lap main event. On the green NASCAR Whelen All-American Modified competitor Jerry Green overpowered Randy Keckley for the early lead. Nampa, Idaho driver Beau Gillogly was the first to challenge Green for the top spot, and he put his Razor’s Edge Window Cleaning, GRC Custom Fabrication racer in the lead on lap five.
In the College of Western Idaho Super Street Stock division Gale Carter dispatched Jordan Harris to take the early lead. Harris wheeled his Kim’s Kars machine hard to keep in contention, but Carter’s racer proved too strong and he claimed the lead outright on lap five. But it was Melissa Weaver-Arte who made her presence known as she wheeled her racer around Carter on lap seventeen.
Back in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified division, Larry Hull III and Colton Nelson raced their way out of a hornets nest to take second and third place. Hull III was first to go after leader Gillogly, and after a hard five laps Hull III took the top spot. Nelson was next around Gillogly, whose engine began to pop and sputter, forcing him to retire from the event. With eighteen laps left Nelson drew a bead on Hull III as the pair caught the tail end of the field.
With nowhere to go the field stacked behind a battle between Meridian, Idaho racers CJ Stirm and Ben Crow. As the pack condensed something had to give, and with a dozen laps to go it was NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified point leader who Nelson spun from second place.
The restart put Weaver-Arte inside of Hull III with Harris and Carter side-by-side in the second row. When the green flag waved Hull III raced back to the point, followed by Weaver-Arte, Harris and Josh Jackson.
While the front of the field settled into the race’s final laps, Nelson surged through the pack. With five laps left Nelson held fifth, then took fourth from Stirm with three to go. Third place Hunter Gates was next on Nelson’s list, but he ran out of laps and settled fourth behind Gates, Jackson, and Hull III.
“We finally got her hooked up,” Hull III said.
Weaver-Arte held off Harris and Carter to claim victory in the College of Western Idaho Super Street Stock ranks.
The TATES Rents Hornets raced through a twenty lap feature to close Saturday night’s action. Nampa, Idaho’s Mat Henry jumped to the early lead, but it was Boise, Idaho racer Josh Parkkila on the move early as he found the high line and motored to the second spot. On lap seven Parkkila raced inside of Henry’s 2C Auto Sales, 5 Diamond B Recovery machine and took the lead for himself. This proved to be the winning pass as Parkkila piloted his H&H Accounting, Wildside Wraps racer to the feature race victory.
Meridian Speedway welcomes the fastest machines on the planet as the Northwest Sprintcar Racing Association Winged Sprintcars roar to life this Friday and Saturday, September 16 and 17. Friday night’s action honors the late Tom Elliott and includes the West Coast Vintage Racers, CT400 Winged Sprintcars, and the Kendall Ford of Meridian Mini Stocks. Saturday night the NSRA Winged Sprintcars return with the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds, West Coast Vintage Racers, Teleperformance Claimer Stocks and Junior Stingers. Admission to each night of NSRA Winged Sprintcar action is just $15.50 for adults, $6.50 for kids 7-11. Gates open at 4 p.m. both nights with qualifying at 5 p.m. and racing at 6:30 p.m. We’ll see you this Friday and Saturday night under the big yellow water tower at Meridian Speedway.