Valley’s teachers trade chalk for asphalt, race at Meridian Speedway

Valley’s teachers trade chalk for asphalt, race at Meridian Speedway

by Jon Brown, MERIDIAN, Idaho – As a teacher, Nathan Dearing is not only shaping young minds in the classroom, he’s building a fan base at ASA-sanctioned 04112013 1254Meridian Speedway.

One of several running gags among the speedway’s announcer JT Thomas and Brent Arte is that Dearing’s fifth-graders from Boise’s Hillcrest Elementary come out to the track each time her runs in the TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks.

If there is any truth to that, those children will be in the stands Saturday night when the second-year Mini Stocks driver returns to his Hornets roots and races against his peers in the second annual Teacher Feature.

Educators from around the Treasure Valley will strap into loaner Tates Hornets racecars to compete for pride and proceeds. Some of the money raised Saturday will benefit the schools from which each educator hails.

As with last year when track promoter Adam Nelson approached him with the idea, Dearing has been on the recruitment trail.

He has convinced his boss, Hillcrest principal Kurt Thaemert, to compete this year, which may act as a restrictor plate on Dearing’s plans to grab a checkered flag.

“My principal’s out there, and I still have placements to go through (at school), so I’d better go easy on him,” Dearing said.

Dearing did have a strategy session with Thaemert earlier this week where he broke out geometry and physics lessons.

“I drew an oval track out and showed him how to make it a circle and to stay up on the car in front of him,” Dearing said. “It was the kind of stuff that Chris Carlson told me.”

Former Meridian racer “Crazy” Chris Carlson sold Dearing one of his first Hornets, which was the first of a long line of racecars nicknamed “Teacher’s Pet” by Dearing, who also is a track chaplain at Meridian and plays a role in staging the Preacher Feature to find the Fastor Pastor each year.

It took a while for Dearing to get on the track, though.

“I hung out at the track until I got my nerve up,” he said of his debut four seasons ago.

Introduced to the track by former Late Model Lites driver Troy Blanton, Dearing got his start in the Hornets, racing two years in that class and finishing 15th in one of the track’s 250-lap Enduros. Blanton’s son, Seth, was one of Dearing’s students.

Dearing’s Geo Prism is still taking laps in the Hornets, while Dearing has graduated to a Ford Mustang in the Mini Stocks.

“I got tired of the water on the track,” he said. “I just wanted something that was faster and safer.

“I wanted to race instead of spinning around in water.”

Saturday also marks the season’s first Racing for Smiles of the Northwest night at the speedway. A special child will be honored throughout the night as Treasure Valley schoolteachers strap into Hornets for the Teacher Feature.

Also on tap are the Pepsi Sprintcars, Budweiser B Modifieds, College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Street Stocks and TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks and Thunder Dogs.

The gates open at 4 p.m. with qualifying around 5 p.m. and racing at 6:30 p.m.

Race tickets are $10 for adults, $7.50 for senior citizens 62 and older and $6 for children ages 7-11. Children 6 and younger get in free. A family ticket good for two adults and up to four children ages 7-11 is $30.

Tickets can be purchased and printed at the track’s website,

Meridian Speedway

2013 standings

(Through May 11 races)

Mtn. Dew Winged Sprints — 1. Bryan Warf, Meridian, ID, 144 points; 2. Johnny Giesler, Meridian, ID, 131; 3. Sierra Jackson, Middleton, ID, 128; 4. Mike Murgoitio, Meridian, ID, 123; 5. Matt Elliott, Caldwell, ID, 93; 6. Brandon Johnson, Meridian, ID, 57; 7. Ryan Burdett, West Jordan, UT, 52; 8. Mark Floyd, Boise, ID, 39; 9. Dave Parrie, Garden City, ID, 37; 7. Sara Henry, Nampa, ID, 12

Pepsi Sprintcars — 1. Tony Ackerland, Star, ID, 88 points; 2. Josh Allen, Meridian, ID, 77; 3. Ryan Wiederich, Nampa, ID, 57; 4. Trevor Cristiani, Boise, ID, 54; 5. Jimmy Gross, Fruitland, ID, 47; 6. Tristen Spiers, Adrian, OR, 46; 7. Justin Segura, Nampa, ID, 42; 8. Rob Grice, Nampa, ID, 40; 9. Colton Nelson, Meridian, ID, 38; 10. Michael Anderson, Nampa, ID, 34

ASA Modifieds — 1. Jentry Pisca, Nampa, ID, 153 points; 2. Shelby Stroebel, Meridian, ID, 129; 3. (tie) Dell Scott, Meridian, ID, 114; Rick Fowble, Twin Falls, ID, 114; 5. Caitlin Stroebel, Meridian, ID, 89; 6. Cade Hollon, Riggins, ID, 80; 7. Charlie Ham Jr., Boise, ID, 72; 8. Tony Ackerland, Star, ID, 50; 9. Josh Jackson, Payette, ID, 46; 10. Pete Trammell, Boise, ID, 36

Budweiser B Modifieds — 1. Josh Jackson, Payette, ID, 75 points; 2. Randy Keckley, Boise, ID, 66; 3. Jay Cook, Nampa, ID, 64; 4. Pete Trammell, Boise, ID, 18; 5. Rosalee Weller, Caldwell, ID, 4

Tates Hornets — 1. Cody Garrett, Boise, ID, 186 points; 2. Chuck Youngblood, Meridian, ID, 160; 3. (tie) James Pahl, Caldwell, ID, 154; Jess Ryska, Meridian, ID, 154; 5. Brandon Hild, Boise, ID, 149; 6. Fred Nagele, Caldwell, ID, 133; 7. Chad Barker, Kuna, ID, 132; 8. Thomas Harrod, Nampa, ID, 131; 9. Cody Brizendine, Nampa, ID, 128; 10. Monica Heath, Nampa, ID, 111

NAPA Late Models – 1. Dylan Caldwell, Nampa, ID, 137 points; 2. Lee Hackney, Boise, ID, 121; 3. Jake Petero, Ontario, OR, 79; 4. Chris Fenton, Meridian, ID, 74; 5. Dennis Wurtz II, Boise, ID, 73; 6. Travis Anderson, Boise, ID, 62; 7. Dan Lowther, Boise, ID, 57; 8. Mike Marston, Boise, ID, 52; 9. Tyler “TJ” Monroe, Meridian, ID, 51; 10. Dennis Brodigan, Nampa, ID, 50

Coors Super Stocks — 1. Justin Ellis, Boise, ID, 159 points; 2. Rob Powers, Meridian, ID, 136; 3. . Josh Jackson, Payette, ID, 121; 4.6 Gale Carter, Boise, ID, 71; 5. Kim Bradford, Star, ID, 58; 6. Anthony Boven, Boise, ID, 16

Project Filter Pro-4s — 1. Joe Barton, Nampa, ID, 168 points; 2. Kenny Chandler, Kuna, ID, 149; 3. Chet Thorson, Nampa, ID, 123; 4. Larry Hull III, Boise, ID, 91; 5. Ryan Bailey, Meridian, ID, 83; 6. Jeffery Snethen, Boise, ID, 71; 7. Terry Sherman, Boise, ID, 68; 8. Dayne Amyx, Boise, ID, 52; 9. Ron Hayes, Boise, 45

College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Street Stocks — 1. Marv Weaver, Nampa, ID, 142 points; 2. Rick Baldwin, Middleton, ID, 134; 3. Melissa Weaver, Nampa, ID, 127; 4. Jeff Meads, Nampa, ID, 122; 5. Bobby Riggs, Fruitland, ID, 99; 6. Shaun Bush, Marsing, ID, 90; 7. Rick Moran, Meridian, ID, 68; 8. Scott Shoecraft, Boise, ID, 66; 9. Tommy Lumpkin-Kirkland, Nampa, ID, 61; 10. (tie) Daniel Johnson, Caldwell, ID, 59; Ray Bolinger, Meridian, ID, 59

Domino’s Pizza Legends — 1. Phyl Zubizareta, Boise, ID, 179 points; 2. Casey Tillman, Kuna, ID, 176; 3. Zach Blume, Eagle, ID, 124; 4. Aubree Wartman, Boise, ID, 106; 5. Mike Cullum, Meridian, ID, 97; 6. Rob Collins, McCall, ID, 96; 7. Sara Henry, Nampa, ID, 87; 8. Jonathan Davis, Emmett, ID, 72; 9. Chase Gilbertson, Boise, ID, 67; 10. Chance Davis, Emmett, ID, 66

TEAM Mazda-Subaru Mini Stocks — 1. Jason Sanders, Caldwell, ID, 192 points; 2. Colton Nelson, Meridian, ID, 160; 3. Brendon Fries, Meridian, ID, 125; 4. (tie) Larry Hull III, Boise, ID, 85; Jonathan Hull, Boise, ID, 85; 6. (tie) Brandon Shira, Boise, ID, 75; TJ Labronte, Meridian, ID, 75; 8. Denny Gerber, Meridian, ID, 74; 9. Donovan Johns, Caldwell, ID, 66. 10. (tie) Mary Johnson, Meridian, ID, 65; Nathan Dearing, Boise, ID, 65

Jr. Stingers — 1. Riley Rogers, Meridian, ID, 88 points; 2. Jordan Kirkland, Boise, ID, 76; 3. Daytona Wurtz, Boise, ID, 74; 4. (tie) Kendra Occhipinti, Nampa, ID, 51; Hunter Gates, Nampa, ID, 51; 6. Taylor Occhipinti, Nampa, ID, 48; 7. CJ Stirm, Nampa, ID, 46; 8. Tyler Marston-Henderson, Boise, ID, 38; 9. Matthew Gerber, Boise, ID, 33; 10. Stafford Smith, Eagle, ID, 31

Thunder Dogs — 1. Bulldacious, 294 points; 2. Hot Pursuit, Meridian, ID, 204; 3. Catfish, Meridian, ID, 143; 4. Big Tuna, Boise, ID, 105; 5. Buzz Lightyear, Meridian, ID, 101; 6. Bumble Bee, Meridian, ID, 97; 7. Money Pit, Boise, ID, 85; 8. Sledgehammer, Nampa, ID, 61; 9. Over Kill, 38; 10. Bumper Sniffer, Boise, ID, 34