Warf Outduels Nelson, Wins PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modified Shootoutadmin
The final two checkered flags fell on the five race PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modified Shootout series Saturday, July 14, as Meridian Speedway played host to Whelen Night at the Races. The PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modifieds contested twin fifty lap features to settle their championship within a championship. Not to be outdone, the Teleperformance Claimer Stocks sped through their own pair of main events, while the Rebel Modifieds, Coors Super Stocks, Domino’s Legends, and Junior Stingers chased their own Carl’s Cycle Sales trophies.
Under a scorching sun the PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modifieds followed Tommy Harrod and Jonathan Hull to green. Harrod got to the gas pedal first and took his PBT Auto Sales machine to the lap one lead. But Harrod came under immediate fire from Josh Jackson and Kyle Tellstrom. As the trio roared into lap three Tellstrom ducked low, Jackson shot high and the top three made contact. When the dust settled Harrod found himself in the turn three concrete and Tellstrom was sent to the back of the pack for the restart.
Colton Nelson was the beneficiary of this early caution, and the PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modified Shootout standings co-leader restarted on the front row and took the lead on lap seven. As Nelson piloted his Integrity Construction, Mulder’s Auto and Machine modified through lapped traffic, his shootout standings rival Bryan Warf began his march forward. Warf worked high and low on the track to dispatch the rest of the field and close on Nelson. By the race’s halfway point Warf had taken up residence on Nelson’s rear bumper and the battle for the win and control of the PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modified Shootout began.
Warf searched for a way past Nelson, but lapped traffic stymied challenge after challenge. Warf needed a caution flag to clear the track, and with fifteen laps left the yellow flag waved. This bunched the field and lined Warf up outside of Nelson for the race’s final restart. With the green flag back in the air Nelson charged into turn one, but slid wide and allowed Warf to sneak through on the inside. Though Nelson closed on Warf’s Allan Marsh Travel Center, Dave’s Quick Lube machine through the race’s closing stages, he ran out of laps to catch his teammate, and Warf claimed the first checkered flag of Whelen Night at the Races.
The PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modified Shootout concluded under the lights with a fifty lap main event. On the break Kyle Tellstrom overpowered Jonathan Hull to take the top spot on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard. While Tellstrom stretched his lead, shootout title contenders Colton Nelson and Bryan Warf found themselves mired deep in the pack behind a number of wheel-to-wheel battles in front of them. On lap seven the pack loosened up and Warf sliced beneath Larry Hull’s Diversified Carpet Cleaning, Drake Mechanical modified for the third spot.
As his chance at the PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modified Shootout championship slipped away, Nelson charged forward. In Warf’s tire tracks Nelson moved past Hull for fourth, then Pat Tully for third. But Nelson’s run stalled out there, and he could only watch as Warf closed on Tellstrom for the lead.
As the laps wound down Tellstrom faced an increasing number of lapped cars. As he slowed to negotiate the back markers Warf chopped into this lead. From four seconds Tellstrom’s advantage dwindled to three, then two with ten laps left. The white flag waved and Warf arrived at the leader’s bumper. But it was too late for Warf to devise a pass and Tellstrom dashed across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe first.
The Teleperformance Claimer Stocks were next onto the asphalt quarter-mile for their first 25 lap feature. On the break Kuna, Idaho’s Scott Cooper piloted his machine around Scott Kelly for the lead. But Cooper had company, and on lap two he surrendered the lead to Jamie Hyde, who brought Pat Young and Kendra Occhipinti with him into the top three. Young and Occhipinti wasted no time and by lap five this pair held first and second on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard.
An early spin reset the field and brought Nampa, Idaho’s Occhipinti even with Young when the green flag waved. Occhipinti dug hard to make time in the low line while Young slung his Bell’s Automotive racer around the outside. While the leaders traded the top spot back and forth, Todd Seaver and Josh Fanopoulos navigated their way out of traffic and into the lead fight.
At the race’s halfway point Young broke loose and Occhipinti scooted to the lead. But Seaver followed the young racer forward, and with eight laps to go he dove low and drove his Lucas Oil, Action Garage Door entry to the top spot. Occhipinti wheeled her Marv’s Tire Service, Dillon Performance Engines racer hard to keep pace, but a run-in with the backstretch wall ended her bid for the win and dropped her behind Fanopoulos’ Certified Services, A-1 Towing machine for third. But it all happened behind Seaver, who cruised into the Caleb’s Chop Shop Winner’s Circle.
The Teleperformance Claimer Stocks completed their twin 25’s as the sun sank low on the horizon. Outside pole sitter Pat Tully tore around Scott Cooper to take the early lead while Taylor Occhipinti and Pat Young worked their way through traffic and into the top three.
Young came under fire first as he defended third from first feature winner Todd Seaver. After a five lap fight Josh Fanopoulos snuck into the picture and ducked inside Seaver to take fourth. Fanopoulos set his sights on Young, and with ten laps left Fanopoulos tore around the high side of Young for third.
Up front Occhipinti closed on Tully’s Dean Wilson Racing, Cline Alternators and Starters machine, and with five laps left the young racer arrived on the veteran campaigner’s rear bumper. Lapped traffic held Occhpinti at bay for three circuits, but with two laps left the track cleared and Occhipinti dove low and the leaders made contact. Both Occhipinti and Tully wrestled their cars back under control, but Occhipinti was too far back to mount another challenge and could only watch as Tully took the night’s second checkered flag.
Mountain Dew Interstate Winged Sprintcars return to action Saturday, July 21 as High Desert Harley-Davidson Night presented by Idaho Central Credit Union invades Meridian Speedway. Along with the winged sprinters, the Pepsi Crate Cars and ISRL Super Sixes, Project Filter Pro-4s, TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks, Big Daddy’s Hornets, and High School Tuners battle for their Walking Sombrero Taco Truck trophies. General admission to Saturday night’s action is only $11.50 for adults, $6.50 for kids 7-11, and free for kids 6 and under. Gates open at 4:45 p.m. with racing at 6:45 p.m. Log on to meridianspeedway.com for all the latest news from around the quarter-mile oval and text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 to receive exclusive updates. We’ll save a seat for you this Saturday, July 21 for High Desert Harley-Davidson Night presented by Idaho Central Credit Union under the big yellow water tower at your NASCAR Home Track, Meridian Speedway.