Wendell Racer Weathers Tour Truck Storm, Takes Pepsi Double Twin Winadmin
Havoc erupted just before 6 p.m. at Meridian Speedway as Mother Nature welcomed fans back to the stands during Pepsi Double Twins qualifying. Braving the high winds and occasional showers were the North West Tour Truck Series, Salt Lake City Midgets, Pit Stop USA Modifieds, Firehouse Pub and Grill Bombers, and the Big Daddy’s Barbecue Hornets.
The cream of the North West Tour Truck Series took the green flag for the first of their two features with ten competitors at the ready. Front row starters Neal Latham and Sam Harris paced the race’s first handful of laps side-by-side before Wendell, Idaho‘s Drew Reitsma sliced his way through to the top of the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard.
Harris wasn’t content with second, and through the race’s first third kept considerable pressure on Reitsma. At the race’s halfway point Harris made his push for the lead, but contact out of turn two sent both Harris’ Sendoa Homes truck and the Reitsma’s Reitsma Holsteins racer around. Both drivers would drop to the back of the pack, leaving youngster Jenna Quale in the lead with seasoned veterans John Newhouse and John Wong on her tailgate.
Newhouse battled Quale hard, launching jab after jab until he secured the inside line with ten laps to go. This left Quale and Wong to battle for the runner up spot. This battle would go bad with seven laps left when Quale’s Quale Electric, Custom Auto Repair truck pushed high and spun in turn three, then was slammed into by a spinning Parker Jones. Quale was okay, but her truck sustained significant right front suspension damage.
When the race went back green Newhouse piloted his The Car Store truck to a commanding lead and stormed to the night’s first Feature Flag.
Eleven Salt Lake City Midgets zipped through a quick thirty lap feature. After a ragged start, Middleton, Idaho’s Hunter Stanley found himself an entire straightaway ahead of Tacoma, Washington racer Ray Stebbins and the rest of the pack.
Something had to give as the field jockeyed for position, and on lap eleven it was Rebel Jackson, Junior that found himself spun out in turn four. The ensuing caution flag brought familiar foe Natalie Waters even with Stanley for the restart.
Stanley got the jump on Waters at the green flag, but a power move on the exit of turn four allowed Waters to slingshot her West Valley Collision, Red Rock Sign entry to the top spot. This left Stanley in the clutches of the pack, and two laps later contact sent the young racer sliding into the turn one concrete. Stanley demonstrated his displeasure, and was parked for the remainder of the feature.
Now Waters faced a new challenge in the form of her uncle and teammate, Sid McElreath. McElreath wheeled his Wickless Sensations, Young Automotive machine hard to close the two second gap between he and the leader, but ran out of time to catch his niece, who sped across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe first.
Point leader Colton Nelson held off a furious charge from Pit Stop USA Modified rookie Travis Pavlacky to wheel his Integrity Construction, YMC, Inc. Machine to his second straight main event. Quick-qualifier Brendon Fries, Jerry Green, and Mike Davis rounded out the top five finishers.
The Firehouse Pub and Grill Bombers pulled no punches as they battled wheel-to-wheel through their feature. As the dust settled Oregon’s Kedrick Preston stood in the Caleb’s Chop Shop Winner’s circle.
The Big Daddy’s Barbecue Hornets christened the all-new front stretch chicane with a wild main event to close Saturday’s Pepsi Double Twins. Despite hours of strategy discussions for the leader-goes-a-lap-down feature, Boise, Idaho’s Josh Parkkila took the checkers, attributing his victory to not having a plan at all.
The green flag waved once again over the eleven Salt Lake City Midgets for the second leg of their double-feature. On the break, Buckley, Washington’s Jackson, Junior shot to the lead with Stanley, Stebbins, and Nik Larson in tow. Stanley and Larson would use an early caution flag to join forces and rocket to the front.
Larson immediately opened the taps on his Schaeffers Racing Oil, Tec Equipment machine, pulling out to a three-second advantage over Stanley, who fell into an intense battle with Chaz Groat and earlier main event winner Waters. Groat made quick work of Stanley as the Salt Lake City, Utah racer piloted his PowderWorks Powder Coating, Graphic Industries entry into the runner up spot. A caution two short laps later set up a good, old-fashioned eight lap shootout for the victory.
On the restart Larson and Groat jumped out to a two-car-length lead while McElreath surprised Waters to take third. As Larson wheeled his racer hard to keep Groat at bay, McElreath and Waters caught the leaders and all four dove into turn one on the final lap together.
Groat committed to the outside line while Larson worked inside. Out of turn four the two drew even and locked wheels at the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe. The Pepsi-Cola scoreboard showed Larson as the winner by just five one-thousandths of a second—or about four inches.
All ten North West Tour Truck Series competitors returned to the quarter-mile for their second main event of the night. On the break Reitsma piloted his Reitsma Holsteins, Fields 66 truck to the lead with defending division champion John Wong in tow.
Wong stalked Reitsma through the race’s first half as he studied where his Champion Produce, Advanced Primate machine was better than his competitor. Corner entry was Wong’s strong suit, and the Eagle, Idaho driver took swing after swing at the inside line, but Reitsma used his superior drive off to stay out front.
Behind the lead duel first feature winner John Newhouse was on the move. From his back-of-the-pack starting spot the Twin Falls, Idaho racer weaved his way through traffic and into third with ten laps left.
As Newhouse closed on the top two, both Wong and Reitsma turned up the wick on their trucks. Wong was fast, but Reitsma was faster, and the Wendell, Idaho racer claimed the second North West Tour Truck Series feature flag.
Touring series take to the quarter-mile again next Saturday, June 6, as the Speed Tour Sprint Cars roar to their third event of the year. Joining these wicked-fast speedsters are the Teleperformance Street Stocks, Project Filter Pro-4s, Big Daddy’s BBQ Hornets, and Junior Stingers. A limited number of general admission passes are available online! Log on to https://boxoffice.diamondticketing.com/meridianspeedway/events to score your seat for a full Saturday night of short track racing thrills and spills. Season pass holders are also welcome Saturday. Gates open at 4:45 p.m. with the first green flag at 6:45 p.m. Can’t make it to the track? SpeedCast.tv has you covered, with the race night broadcast beginning at 6 p.m. Whether you’re in the stands or on your couch, we’ll see you this Saturday, June 6, for the Speed Tour Winged Sprint Cars live from under the big yellow water tower at Meridian Speedway.