Twin Main Events Offer Double the Action at Meridian Speedway


Twin Main Events Offer Double the Action at Meridian Speedway

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Joe Barton claimed not one, but two main event trophies Saturday night in the Project Filer Twin 25s. Photo Credit: MS Staff

With the 2014 Meridian Speedway season winding down the action heated up Saturday for the Project Filter Twin 25s.  Racing the double main-event were the Project Filter Pro-4s, with the Cast Iron 360 Sprintcars, Domino’s Pizza Legends, and the Meridian Speedway and Budweiser Modifieds filling Saturday night’s program.  With the long summer days came some short tempers and tight racing across each and every racing division.

In the first of two 25 lap main events for the Project Filter Pro-4s it was Brendon Fries and James Cloud pacing the field early as they ran door-to-door for the first three laps.  Behind this battle Kenny Chandler was on the move, working his way to the low lane and snatching the lead from Fries on lap four.  Last week’s winner Larry Hull III followed Chandler to second, and would spring to the top spot from the high line three circuits later.  Next it was Chandler’s turn to take the outside lane, but his run was less successful.  Coming off of turn two Chandler and Hull III got together, sending Chandler for a wild ride atop the backstretch wall before he piled into the turn three water barrels.  Chandler climbed from his Project Filter-sponsored racer unscathed, but the damage was extensive.  Chandler and his number 33 team would set to work with repairs while Hull III was moved to the back of the pack.

This left the lead to point leader Joe Barton, who piloted his Tysco Structural Enterprises machine to a comfortable lead over second place Ryan Bailey and third place Cloud by the halfway point.  With ten laps to go Hull III passed Cloud for a top three position, then a spin by Bailey moved Hull III up to second place.  On the restart Barton used the low groove to fend off Hull III who could not generate enough momentum on the high side to complete the pass.  Despite a late race caution that drew Hull III within a car length of the lead he was unable to pass Barton who claimed victory in the first Project Filter Twin 25.

The Cast Iron 360 Sprintcars roared onto the quarter-mile for a 25 lap feature.  Colton Nelson piloted his Blimpie of Meridian number 28 car to the lead early as Justin Segura and Chris Ratterree gave chase.  After ten laps the gap from first to second was cut to less than one second as Segura slid his car dead sideways in pursuit of Nelson.  Ratterree forfeited third position on lap fifteen to pit for mechanical issues.  As the laps wound down Segura’s car began to lose grip and speed while Nelson charged to the Saturday hat trick of trophy dash, heat race, and main event wins.

“We finally got it hooked up for the main,” said Nelson with his Boise Boys Transportation trophy.  “It’s an awesome feeling getting this.”

Sixteen Domino’s Legends crowded the track for their 35 lap battle.  From the front row Darin Turpen set the early pace while Caity Miller and Chase Gilbertosn hooked up to work their way onto the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard by lap four.  Meanwhile up front it was Mark Cirelli Jr. taking the lead on lap five.  The fight for the lead was far from over as Camron Madsen and Gilbertson pulled to either side of Cirelli Jr. on lap eight.  Madsen would make the move first, followed by Gilbertson and Casey Tillman.  Tillman used a huge run down the backstretch to pounce on Gilbertson for second as Madsen worked his Sawadee Thai Restaurant backed Legend to a two second advantage.  As Tillman set sail after the leader the battle for third heated up as Zach Blume and Gilbertson went wheel-to-wheel for five laps before Gilbertson claimed the position with twenty to go.  Even lapped traffic was unable to slow the streaking Madsen as he fired off fast lap after fast lap.  With ten to go the Blume, Gilbertson battle picked back up with bumpers and blocks flying.  The race’s first caution with seven laps to go would rearrange the field and allow Tillman to surprise Madsen out of turn two for the lead.  Try as Tillman might to protect the lead on the high line Madsen was able to hook up low and rocket to the top spot again.  Now Tillman fell into the clutches of third place Blume.  Tillman would defend the second spot, but had nothing for the number 25 of Madsen who pulled away for the win.

“It’s been a long time since I won a main,” said Madsen in Arctic Circle Victory Lane.  “It feels real good.”

The Meridian Speedway and Budweiser Modifieds joined forces for a 35 lap main event with Sharlet Wilson and Rich Friend bringing the field to the green flag.  Friend in his Meridian Speedway Modified shot to the top spot and brought the whole outside groove with him.  While the front of the pack worked itself quickly into single file from fifth on back the battles were side-by-side as paint was traded in the early laps.  Caught in these mid-pack skirmishes were Budweiser Modified point leader Rick Baldwin and fast Meridian Speedway Modified qualifier Dennis Wurtz II.  These battles would cool only for a caution on lap nine when second place runner Rod Stiller spun in turn one, collecting Randy Keckley, who skipped along the turn two wall before coming to rest on the back straightaway.  Stiller would continue, but Keckley was not as lucky and would retire from the race with major damage.

On the restart Friend would fend off a challenge by Darrell Dolling before Rus Ward made his move around Friend for the lead.  With fifteen laps to go the usual suspects had moved to the top five as Ward and Friend were joined by Scott Durbin, Darvin Ackerland, and Dennis Wurtz II.  As Ward ran away from the field Ackerland went to work on Doling for second, but Dolling was able to use slower lapped traffic to maintain his position.  Further back Durbin and Friend got together, causing Durbin to lift and lose several positions.  Durbin would have one more chance to regain those lost positions as a caution flag bunched the pack with just nine laps remaining.

When racing resumed Ward worked the high groove to maintain his lead while Durbin moved into fourth followed by Wurtz II.  Still the battle was for second as Ackerland was unable to move Dolling out of the runner-up spot.  At the checkered flag it was still Ward claiming the overall victory with Dolling second, and Ackerland claiming the Budweiser Modified trophy with his third place run.

“Again, and again, and again,” said Ackerland.

Wrapping up Saturday’s action the Project Filter Pro-4s pulled back onto the asphalt for the second half of their twin main event evening.  Returning to action was Kenny Chandler, who was forced into a backup car after his crash in the evening’s first main event.  Fries led the first lap while early mover Hull III worked his way to second.  On lap three Hull III would relieve Fries of the top spot.  Barton would follow to second and Hayes would race his Monster Energy entry to third.  Behind Hayes Chandler worked his backup car to fourth, before picking Hayes off in turn three.  Next Chandler rocketed to the front pair and wasted no time dispensing of Barton and Hull III to take the lead in one lap.  Now with a dozen circuits left Chandler controlled the race while second and third place Barton and Hull III came together in turn one.  Hull III spun and was put to the back of the field while Barton stayed in second.  Now it was a showdown between Chandler and Barton with just nine to go.  Chandler jumped back to the point with Barton second and Hull III in third.  Chandler used a superb launch to gain a two second lead while Barton and Hull III dueled for the runner up spot.  Barton would win that battle, but Chandler would win the race in dominating fashion.  However, due to the rush to prepare his backup car, Chandler was unable to strap enough weight to his racer to meet class requirements, and voluntarily vacated the victory.  This awarded the Project Filter Twin 25s sweep to Barton.

Next week promises more short-track racing thrills as the College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Program Street Stocks wage a late season battle.  Also racing Saturday, August 16, are the Pepsi Sprintcars, Domino’s Pizza Legends, Budweiser Modifieds and Coors Super Stocks, College of Western Idaho Transportation Program High School Tuners, and the Junior Stingers.  General admission for this full night of racing is just $10.25.  Gates open at 4 p.m. Saturday with racers taking their first green flag at 6:30 p.m.  Visit meridianspeedway.com or text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 for more information.

As always this week’s action at Meridian Speedway was brought to you, in part, by Contingency Connection.  The Contingency Connection partners with NATIONAL manufacturers to provide up to $2000 in awards in addition to purse payouts weekly.  For more information about Contingency Connection see Meridian Speedway officials.