Tight Title Fights Settled on Jack Link’s Snack Attack Nightadmin
Championship season heated up Saturday as three titles were awarded on Jack Link’s Snack Attack night at Meridian Speedway. The Coors Super Stocks, Budweiser Modifieds, and Domino’s Legends settled their seasons under the lights while the College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Program Street Stocks and rookies of the Tates Rents Hornet division raced to position themselves for next weekend’s finale.
Main event action began with a 25 lap Tates Rents Hornets rookie shootout. JD Southern wasted no time when the green flag dropped and raced his way to the top spot. Southern’s lead didn’t last long as Rob Sturman sliced and diced his way to the top spot on lap two. As Sturman steam to a big lead in his PBT Auto Sales machine Aaron Harris worked his Kim’s Kars, Challenger Auto Transport racer into second. A lap seven restart set Harris to Sturman’s outside, and Harris stormed to the lead.
As the race crossed the halfway point Harris ran into a gaggle of lapped traffic, which allowed Sturman to pull even with his rival for two laps before Harris worked his way to open racetrack. While Sturman continued to stalk Harris a battle for third on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard broke out as Ben Harris came under siege from Alex Hibbert. Hibbert muscled his Team Construction, Aerial Rentals machine into the third position.
With three laps to go Aaron Harris found another troublesome group of lapped cars. This time Sturman got a run to the outside, but just before the flag stand Harris shot up the track and slammed the door. Sturman lifted, lost his momentum, and had to settle for second behind Harris.
“My whole family was racing with us, my kids, my wife. It was a lot of fun,” Harris said as he collected his trophy.
The Coors Super Stocks had company for their final 2015 dash as the College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Program Street Stocks joined the thirty lap feature. On the green flag Chad Bess in his Cyclone Cycles machine rocketed to the Coors Super Stock lead while Micky Lawson tip-toed around Shawn Hansen for the top CWI Street Stock spot. While Bess fought to fend off Coors Super Stock point leader Ray Bolinger and title contender Lynn Sharp the lady racer out of Nampa, Idaho Melissa Weaver motored around Lawson to take the CWI Street Stock lead in her Marv’s Tire Service, Dillon Performance Engines racer.
In the Coors Super Stock ranks Sharp showed his A-1 Chem Dry, LaSierra Tire and Wheel car’s speed early and by lap four was locked onto Bess’ rear bumper. While Sharp focused on the leader Josh Jackson found some grip in the high groove and stormed around Sharp for the second spot. This battle allowed Bess to distance himself from his Coors Super Stock adversaries as lapped traffic loomed.
At the race’s halfway mark Coors Super Stock point leader Bolinger slowed as the engine in his Best Heating, Mulder’s Auto Machine racer popped and sputtered down the front stretch. With precious points slipping through his grasp Bolinger soldiered on in the hopes his fifteen point margin was enough to hold off Sharp and Gale Carter. With laps winding down Carter caught up to Sharp and began to work over the third place runner. Carter ran out of time to pilot his Associated Pacific Movers, Lee’s Alternator-Starter Service of Nyssa machine into third as Bess streaked across the finish line for the Coors Super Stock victory. Melissa Weaver also earned a spot in Arctic Circle of Meridian Victory Lane for her CWI Street Stock win.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Bess said as he emerged from his fast machine. “This car just comes through.”
Bolinger’s sixth place finish wasn’t stellar, but was enough to hold onto the point lead and claim the Coors Super Stock championship by four points.
The Budweiser Modifieds were next to take the track in search of a champion as they rolled nine cars out for the 25 lap main event. On the green Robert Rendo and Cade Hollon went wheel-to-wheel for three laps before Hollon emerged with the lead. Hollon’s River Adventures racer was quickly under attack by Josh Jackson who, fresh off a runner up finish in the Coors Super Stock race, worked his way inside the Riggins, Idaho driver and took the lead for himself on lap seven.
In Jackson’s tire tracks Darvin Ackerland, who missed the evening’s trophy dash due to a mechanical failure, cut his way through the field and put his Ackerland Construction racer in second place after just seven laps. It took just three for the veteran campaigner to fly past Jackson to take the lead. With Ackerland in a position to gain maximum points the pressure was on Randy Keckley to defend his point lead. Keckley remained at the back of the pack, his Pegasus Transport and Towing, Advanced Transmissions and Drive Train car stymied by the strong Budweiser Modified field.
Ackerland’s lead shrank over the final dozen circuits as Willie Ransom thundered around the quarter-mile, but in the end Ackerland piloted his modified to another main event trophy. This win, coupled with Keckley’s mid-pack performance, put Ackerland atop the Budweiser Modified standings for the second year in a row.
“There’s a lot more to racing than driving the cars,” Ackerland said of his championship drive. “You won’t believe some of the things that happen back in those pits.”
Ackerland now stands as the only two-time champion in the Budweiser Modified ranks.
The Domino’s Legends entered Saturday night’s action with just five points between leader Casey Tillman and second place Zach Blume. Blume’s night got off to a rough start as a heat race tangle left the Eagle, Idaho competitor with serious suspension damage. Despite the dustup Blume rallied to finish second behind Tillman and had his racer repaired in time to join the 35 lap feature.
When the green flag fell Ken Frickey blasted around the high side of the track in his A and N Equipment racer and took the lead from pole sitter Jamie Hyde. While Frickey settled in up front, Blume and Tillman found each other in the pack, linked up, and tore around the field. By lap five the title contenders held second and third on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard and set their sights on new leader Ethan Jones of Meridian, Idaho.
It didn’t take Blume long to catch Jones as the young competitor turned the fastest laps on the race track. On lap eleven Blume made his move and drove his Idaho Web Printers of Emmett, Northend Chevron racer underneath Jones for the lead. Jones wouldn’t go quietly, and from lap seventeen to lap twenty he worked both high and low looking for a way back to the top spot. Tillman could only watch this battle as the Kuna, Idaho driver sat third, over a second behind the lead battle.
Blume used the feature’s final ten laps to open a comfortable lead on runner up Jones while Tillman sat in third, seemingly unable to keep pace with the top two. Tillman faced no pressure from behind as fourth and fifth place Frickey and Daytona Wurtz slugged it out for the final two spots on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard. Wurtz and her Ada County Sherriffs Employee Association, Glen’s Towing racer would snag the fourth spot and take the checkers behind Tillman, Jones, and race winner Blume.
“I don’t know how the points will shake out,” Blume said in Arctic Circle of Meridian Victory Lane. “I want to give Casey congratulations on a great season.”
Though Blume did everything he could Saturday, his charge to the championship came up just four points short.
“There’s no better guy to be second to,” Blume said. “Now we can go back to being friends instead of competitors.”
Tillman was ecstatic about his 2015 championship run.
“A lot of people said we couldn’t make this car fast,” Tillman said of his YMC Inc., Taylor Made Upholstery machine. “This has been a long time coming.”
With three more champions minted Meridian Speedway turns its attention to the final race weekend of 2015. Next Friday and Saturday the Northwest Sprintcar Racing Association roars onto the quarter mile to crown a champion. Don’t miss Friday’s Tom Elliott Sportsman Classic featuring the Super Sixes, Project Filter Pro-4s, Kendall Ford of Meridian Mini Stocks, and Junior Stingers. Then on Saturday buckle up for the NSRA Championship, NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Latemodels, CWI Street Stocks, Claimer Stocks, College of Western Idaho High School Tuners, the Tates Rents Hornets, Idaho Tile and Granite Bike Races, and quintuple Race-O. See meridianspeedway.com for all the latest information about the quarter-mile and text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 for exclusive updates. We’ll save you a seat next Friday and Saturday nights under the big yellow water tower at Meridian Speedway.