Utah, Washington Racers Claim Independence Day Victories

Utah, Washington Racers Claim Independence Day Victories

Five full racing divisions celebrated their Fourth of July with Meridian Speedway as they competed on the final day of the Independence Cup. The Royal Purple Modified Series, Domino’s and INEX Legends, Mountain Dew and CT400 Winged Sprintcars, Project Filter Pro-4s, and TATES Rents Hornets packed the quarter-mile oval for a full evening short track racing action.

The Mountain Dew and CT400 Winged Sprintcars kicked off main event action with a ten car, thirty lap battle. On the green Utah’s Bob Massey powered around polesitter Justin Segura to lead lap one.  Behind Massey it was Meridian, Idaho’s Colton Nelson on the move early as he put his Blimpie of Meridian, LFC Cleaning machine in the high line and tore through the field to the runner up spot on lap four.  Nelson’s run through the field continued as he took the lead one lap later.

Following Nelson through the field was Bryan Warf, who sliced his way through the pack to take second place from Massey on lap nine. Warf sped to Nelson’s tail tank within four laps, but it was a cut left rear tire that forced Nelson to surrender the top spot to Warf’s Allen Marsh Travel Center, PC Enterprises sprinter.

With Warf out front and Caldwell, Idaho’s Matt Elliott up to second, the battle was on for third place as Massey and Stacey Jensen dueled wheel-to-wheel. Jensen mashed the gas pedal in his YMC, Westside Body Works sprinter and powered around the outside on lap eighteen to take third.  Jensen wheeled his racer hard to catch up with Elliott’s Westside Body Works, Boise Peterbuilt machine, but didn’t have enough to track down the runner up and settled for third.

“It’s been an amazing weekend,” Waft said. “To come here and win on the fourth of July is pretty special.”

The Domino’s and INEX Legends combined to bring 25 racers to a 45 lap main event. On the green flag Yakima, Washington’s Jake Woods got on the gas and zoomed past Cayden Anderson to take the early lead.  First to challenge Woods was Kole Raz, who worked the high line, but couldn’t keep pace with Woods and fell back into Anderson’s clutches.  Anderson swung to the low line and picked up second place one lap later.

From his back of the pack starting spot Fife, Washington’s Randy Schaaf methodically picked his way through the field and found himself third by lap sixteen. Also moving forward were Cameron Morga and Darin Amidon, who had claimed fourth and fifth by the race’s halfway point.

The fireworks started shortly thereafter as Morga and Schaaf came together in turn four in their battle for third. Both Schaaf and Morga were sent to the back of the pack, leaving Woods in front of Meridian, Idaho racer Ethan Jones, Amidon, Aubree Wartman, and Casey Tillman.  On the restart Tillman caught the leaders napping as he blasted around the outside to second.  But Tillman’s Taylor Made Upholstery, Air Filter Super Store machine could make it only so far as Jones fought hard to keep the runner up spot.

Jones decided it was time to go, and he drove to Woods’ rear bumper and applied heavy pressure to the race leader. A restart with four laps to go was Jones’ best opportunity to steal the win.  First Jones tried the high side, but Woods countered the advance.  Next Jones looked low, but Woods was too strong and he stormed into the Caleb’s Chop Shop winner’s circle.

“It was a tough race,” Woods said.

Eleven Project Filter Pro-4s rolled to the start of a 30 lap main event. Garry Hussey flexed his machine’s muscles to lead lap one, and brought Boise, Idaho’s Rob Taylor with him around polesitter Wes Summers’ Foundations LLC, American Construction Supply entry.  The big mover early was Brandon McClean, who sliced his way from mid-pack to the lead on lap four, but surrendered the top spot Ryan Bailey and his Les Schwab, Clothes Line Cleaners racer two laps later.

Bailey had half a lap to enjoy his lead before Joe Barton stuck his Tyco Structural Enterprise’s car to the outside and pushed even with Bailey. For four laps the side-by-side battle wore on before contact threw Barton sideways in turn four.  Barton collected Brendon Fries who bounced off the front stretch wall, but somehow managed to keep his car under control.  Two laps later Fries found himself in the middle of another sticky situation on the back stretch and this time ended up in the turn three water barrels.

“That was just a lot of people being impatient,” Fries said as he climbed from his Chick-Fil-A of Meridian, Brian Ausmus Trucking machine.

On the restart Barton had a mirror full of Kenny Chandler, Travis Pavlacky, and Larry Hull III. Chandler was first to try Barton, who aggressively blocked a number of Chandler’s advances.  Aggravated, Chandler tagged Barton in turns three and four, then steamed by on the outside to take the lead in his Project Filter, Fairly Reliable Bob’s machine.  This pass proved to be the winning move as Chandler motored through the final ten laps to victory.

The Royal Purple Modified Series concluded their two-night Independence Cup with seventeen racers locked in a fifty lap battle. On the green Pocatello, Idaho racer Bill Cornwall used the low line to take the lead over Joe McDuffie.  A mid-pack battle for position turned sour on lap three, and the resulting melee collected pre-race favorite Shelby Stroebel, Saturday night’s Western States Caterpillar 75 winner Chris Fenton, and heat race victor Jeff Longman.  Stroebel and Longman would make repairs and rejoin the race, but damage forced Fenton to retire from the event.

After the scramble Scott Gilligan inherited the lead in his Guppies Hot Rod Grille, Honing Specialty entry with Cody Kirkland and McDuffie on his rear bumper. On the restart Kyle Latham roared around the outside line to work his Wyakin Warrior Foundation, Silver Hawk Aviation Academy machine from fifth to the lead on lap eight.  Just two laps later West Jordan, Utah racer Zach Webster piloted his Young Automotive Group, Dura-Crete, Inc. machine to Latham’s outside and took the lead, with Stroebel’s rebuilt racer in two.  Once clear of Latham, Webster and Stroebel worked together to distance themselves from the pack.

With thirty laps left the cooperation ended and Stroebel went to work on Webster’s rear bumper. Stroebel’s efforts proved too much and he spun Webster’s machine into the infield.  Both drivers were put to the back of the pack, handing the lead back to Boise, Idaho’s Latham, who faced the challenge of keeping Lee Hackney and Rosalee Weller behind him for the race’s final half.

On the green Weller moved Hackney up the track, but Hackney maintained control of his car and repaid the favor to keep Weller’s Idaho State Towing, Can Do Insurance entry in third. With Weller two car lengths back Hackney had the breathing room necessary to work his Advance Auto Parts, Capitol City Heating racer to Latham’s rear bumper.

With fifteen laps to go Hackney encountered mechanical trouble and handed the runner up spot to Weller. Hackney’s misfortune also brought Webster and Stroebel back into the top five on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard.  Something had to give, and with nine circuits remaining patience failed as Weller dove inside Latham, the two came together, and Latham spun.  With both Latham and Weller sent to the back of the pack, familiar foes Webster and Stroebel retook the top two spots for one final dash to the checkers.

Webster was quick out of the blocks, but so was Stroebel. Stroebel looked high, but Webster took the low line and raced away.  Stroebel changed tack and tried his Trinity Construction, Canyon Windshield Repair machine on the inside, but that wasn’t enough as the white flag flew.  With one last charge Stroebel raced to the outside of Webster, but the move came too late and Webster claimed the victory.

“I’m glad [Webster] made it back up front,” Stroebel said post race. “I stole the win from him there early on.”

“It was a good battle with me and Stroebel,” Webster said.

Adam Deane and his 2C Auto Sales machine claimed the hard-fought twenty lap Midnight Ride of Paul Revere event before the City of Meridian Fireworks Extravaganza capped the Independence Day festivities.

The family fun continues next Saturday, July 9, with Kendall Ford of Meridian Used Car Night featuring the Teleperformance Twin 25’s. The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds, Teleperformance Claimer Stocks, Project Filter Pro-4s, and Junior Stingers all roll to the green flag.  General admission to this full night of short track racing is just $10.50 for adults, $6.50 for kids 7-11, and $8 for seniors and military members.  Skip the lines at the gate and purchase your advance tickets online at meridianspeedway.com and text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 to receive exclusive updates.  We’ll see you Saturday under the big yellow water tower at Meridian Speedway.