Truck Champs Go Wheel-to-Wheel for Photo Finish


Truck Champs Go Wheel-to-Wheel for Photo Finish

The pavement pounding North West Tour Truck Series rumbled into Meridian Speedway last Saturday, July 11, as they headlined Weed Man Lawn Care Boat Race of Destruction Night at the quarter-mile asphalt oval.  The Coors Super Stocks, Project Filter Pro-4s, Domino’s Legends, High School Tuners, and Firehouse Pub and Grill Bombers rounded out an action-packed line-up that was capped by one of the speedway’s famous Boat Races of Destruction. 

Parker Jones and Neal Latham led an eight-truck North West Tour Truck Series field to green for their first 35 lap feature.  Jones got the better of Latham in the low line to take his Jonut, Inc., Big O Tires truck to the early lead, with Lonnie Jesser and reigning series champion John Wong in tow.  It would take Jesser six laps, but the Meridian, Idaho racer got a handle on his machine and took the lead from Jones on lap 29.   

Behind Jesser, Wong and Latham went fender-to-fender for the runner up spot.  After a fair amount of contact Wong decided the only way to break free of the pack was to work his Champion Produce, Advanced Primate racer into the lead, which he did on lap twenty. 

This dropped Jesser into the battle with Latham’s Impact Motorz, Conrad & Bischoff racer.  It was a battle Jesser quickly lost as Latham and quick-qualifier John Newhouse sailed by on the high side with ten laps left on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard. 

Newhouse’s The Car Store, Lynch Oil truck had come to life, and the Twin Falls, Idaho racer dispatched Latham and closed the gap on Wong until with just four laps left Newhouse was on Wong’s rear bumper.  With lapped traffic on the front stretch Newhouse dove low and muscled his way inside Wong for a three-wide pass for the lead.  But Wong would not be denied and roared back around Newhouse on the outside.   

At the white flag Wong held a two-foot advantage, but contact through turns one and two put Newhouse ahead again.  Wong battled back to the front as the lead pair dove into turn three.  Doors banged, smoke flew, and when the checkered flag waved it was Newhouse ahead by a mere twenty-three one-thousandths of a second. 

“You can see how hard it is to pass,” Newhouse said alongside his battered truck in the Caleb’s Chop Shop Winner’s Circle.  “You really have to work at it.” 

Not to be outdone, the Coors Super Stocks took to Meridian Speedway behind James Strikwerda and Danny Martin for the first of their twin 25 lap main events.  The green flag waved and Caldwell, Idaho’s Strikwerda took the inside line to the lead, followed by Daytona Wurtz, rookie Sam Newcomer, and quick-qualifier Kyle Latham. 

Wurtz wasted no time moving her United Metals, All Makes Towing machine forward, as the young racer made her way to the top spot while Latham and Melissa Weaver worked through slower traffic.  With ten laps in the books Latham and Weaver had distanced themselves from the pack and roared toward Wurtz.   

Inch-by-inch Latham reeled Wurtz’ machine in, but as the laps wound down it was clear that nothing could deny Wurtz of the victory.  Then, with just four circuits left, the distributor in Wurtz’ racer exploded and she coasted to a halt. 

This left Latham and Weaver side-by-side for the restart.  Latham took off first in his Conrad & Bischoff, La Sierra Wheel and Tire racer, but Weaver carried momentum on the high side to edge ahead.  Back and forth the two fought until coming to the checkers Latham broke loose and bounced off of Weaver’s Marv’s Tire Service, Graphics by Rhonda Kellerer entry.  Weaver used this added energy to cross the line first with a sixty-eight one-thousandths of a second margin of victory. 

Dylan Wardle continued his dominance of the High School Tuner division as the Meridian, Idaho racer piloted his TraBar Custom, Beauty From Ashes entry to a nearly full lap lead at the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe. 

Kevin Matuska, one week removed from becoming a grandfather, swept around early-season dominator Kedrick Preston on a late restart to take his first victory of the season.   

“Tonight, grandpa’s grocery getter brought it home,” Matuska said.  “This is the most fun you could ever have.” 

Upstart Project Filter Pro-4 racer Jordan Harris in his Allan Marsh RV and Marine Center, Kim’s Kars machine outdueled Athena, Oregon’s Cody McDonald to take home the fourth feature flag of his 2020 campaign. 

Tensions ran high in the Domino’s Legends ranks as a mid-race skirmish swept up both point leaders Jerry Davis and Trace Thompson.  When racing resumed Johnethan Davis, at the wheel of his GCAT Towing, Interstate Battery racer, made a late-race pass on Brok Kidd to visit the Caleb’s Chop Shop Winner’s Circle for the first time this season. 

Daytona Wurtz led the Coors Super Stock field back onto the quarter-mile for the division’s second 25 lap race of the evening.  The Meridian, Idaho racer held off a hard-charging Kyle Latham and Melissa Weaver to finally score a main event victory. 

“Man, we must have gotten the monkey off our back, finally,” Wurtz said. 

After a hard-fought late race pass for the victory sealed the deal in the first North West Tour Truck Series feature, John Newhouse took just twelve laps to make the top of the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard in the second race.  Despite a furious challenge from Jacob Smith’s Curtis Clean Sweep, Cattano Vending machine, Newhouse stayed up front and he swept the North West Tour Truck Series’ main events on Weed Man Lawn Care Boat Race of Destruction Night. 

The night’s final checkered flag few over a quarter-mile of destroyed boats and tow rigs as Rob Taylor took home both the win and Master of Disaster titles in the Weed Man Lawn Care Boat Race of Destruction. 

Open-wheelers take the spotlight next Saturday, July 18, as the Pepsi Crate and ISRL Sprint Cars compete in the Hoosier $500 presented by Idaho Central Credit Union.  The Coors Super Stocks and High School Tuners run their second-straight race night, alongside the Teleperformance Street Stocks, Mini Stocks, and Big Daddy’s Barbecue Hornets.  General admission tickets for Saturday night’s big money open-wheel showdown are only available online at www.meridianspeedway.com.  Tickets are just $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and military members, $7 for kids 7-11, and, as always, kids 6 and under get in free.  Gates open at 4:45 p.m. with racing at 6:45 p.m.  Full coverage of the Hoosier $500 presented by Idaho Central Credit Union is available via SpeedCast.tv starting at 6 p.m.  We’ll see you this Saturday, July 18, for the Hoosier $500 presented by Idaho Central Credit Union under the big yellow water tower at your NASCAR Home Track, Meridian Speedway.