Twin Fifties Turn Latemodel Title Chase

12 Aug 2018
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With cockpit temperatures approaching one hundred fifty degrees a brave batch of competitors rolled into Meridian Speedway Saturday, August 11, for K&N Fan Appreciation Night.  The NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Latemodel Series and PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modifieds provided a double helping of double main events, while the Pepsi Crate Cars and Idaho Sprintcar and Roadster League Super Sixes, Project Filter Pro-4s, and TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks battled for the Boise Boys Transportation hardware.

As heat waves rolled off the quarter-mile asphalt oval, a full field of NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Latemodel Series competitors kicked off main event action with their first of two fifty lap main events.  Pole sitter Josh Jackson used the inside line and piloted his Jackson Built Racing, Jackson Excavation machine to the early lead.  Deep in the pack action was intense as Ukiah, California’s Kyle Tellstrom threaded his way through the pack, eager to gain maximum championship points over absent point leader Trevor Cristiani.  The outside line proved treacherous early, and after a pair of unassisted spins in the early going bunched the field for a lap seven restart.

As the green flag waved a bumper bar bounced onto the racetrack in turn four.  As the field charged out of turn two the caution flag was displayed.  As the field slowed contact sent Dylan Caldwell sailing through the air and hard into the turn three concrete.  As Caldwell’s Hotbox Farms, Lamb Race Engines machine came to rest on the wall fire broke out.  Thanks to quick action by the Neil Alan Fine Jewelry safety crew the Nampa, Idaho driver escaped the inferno unscathed, though shaken.

With the turn three calamity cleared the race resumed.  Tellstrom made the most of this restart and put his PitStopUSA.com, Advanced Auto Parts entry atop the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard while quick-qualifier John Newhouse struggled to pass on the one groove racetrack.  At the race’s halfway point Newhouse broke into the top three and set his sights on second place runner Ben Crow.  Crow kept his Emerald Transportation, Trenching Services car pinned to the inside line, which forced Newhouse to look for a way around the outside.  Newhouse would not, and settled for third behind Crow and feature winner Tellstrom.

The PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modifieds were next to try their hand at a K&N Fan Appreciation Night feature.  Kuna, Idaho’s Wyatt King was quick out of the blocks and piloted his Major Tire and Hitch, YMC Mechanical modified to lead the first of 25 laps.  But King had company, and on lap three he surrendered the lead to defending division champion Colton Nelson. 

This opened the flood gates, and soon Bryan Warf and Josh Jackson streamed by King to take second and third.  Eager to extend his point lead Warf went to work on Nelson’s Integrity Pools of Idaho, Integrity Construction machine.  After a four lap battle Warf moved his Allan Marsh Travel Center, Moyne Fabrication entry to the top spot. 

This left Nelson in the clutches of Jackson, who followed Warf through to the second spot.  But Nelson hung though on the outside, and at the race’s halfway point wrested the position back from Jackson and his Jackson Built Racing, Motor Mayhem Chassis Dyno racer.  As the laps wound down Nelson closed on Warf, but ran out of time to mount a challenge and Waft crossed the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe first.

The TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks had 25 laps to find a main event winner.  On the break Blake Coria and Andrew Harbeston fought back and forth for the early lead.  After seven hard-fought laps Harbeston cleared Coria to put his Complete Sprinkler Service, Meridian Fence machine in sole possession of first place.  But Harbeston wasn’t safe up front as Terrell Daffron raced to his inside.  This battle went sour after just two circuits as contact in turn one forced Harbeston to spin into championship contender Jason Sanders.

With the field reset Coria found himself locked in a battle with Luke Wolverton for the top spot.  Wolverton dispatched Coria when the green flag waved, but quickly turned his attention to quick qualifier Ian Michael Pedersen and point leader Jayson Wardle.  Pedersen put the speed of his SSLP Racing, HYLA North America racer to good use and took the lead from Wolverton with ten laps left on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard.

Wardle had a harder time working his way around Wolverton, and the five laps spent side-by-side took a toll on Wardle’s Lazee Days RV, Catapult 3 racer.  With three laps left Wardle lost fire in turn one and pulled into the pits, which left the win to Pedersen.

Ben Harris and Sean Young led the Project Filter Pro-4 field to green for their 25 lap feature.  Young got the better of this battle to lead lap one, but faced intense pressure from Eagle, Idaho’s Alex Duda, who pulled low and piloted his Boise Boys Transportation, Carbon Designs racer to the lead on lap three.  This opened the door for teammates Brandon Mclean , Ryan Bailey, and Kenny Chandler to move up the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard.

The man on the move early was Brendon Fries, who vaulted from the back of the pack to second place in the first eleven laps.  With new leader Kenny Chandler in his crosshairs Fries pushed his Chick-Fil-A of Meridian, Boise Boys Transportation racer hard in a bid for the win.  Fries motored his way around the outside, and with eight laps left nosed ahead of Chandler.  Lapped traffic sealed the pass, and though Chandler was able to fight back, he didn’t have enough for Fries, who sped across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe first.

Nineteen Pepsi Crate Cars and ISRL Super Sixes crowded the quarter-mile oval for their 25 lap feature.  Twin Falls, Idaho’s Frank Keller was quick out of the blocks, but by the end of lap one it was Drew Crenshaw out front.  Deeper in the field the fifth through sixteenth place runners went wheel-to-wheel and bumper to bumper for position.  Something had to give, and on lap seven it was Middleton, Idaho’s Kate Jackson who spun after contact and collected Nate Little.  Both drivers were able to continue, but were sent to the back of the pack for their involvement in the caution.

The restart left Crenshaw and Caldwell, Idaho’s Justin Segura on the front row.  Crenshaw rolled the high line back to the lead, which left Segura in the clutches of Ryan Newman.  Newman used a restart to take over the runner up spot, then with a dozen circuits remaining worked his North American Recycling, Montes Racing sprinter inside of Crenshaw to battle for the lead.  This duel quickly became a full-blown battle as point leader Rob Grice pulled into the lead picture.

With the top three under a blanket any mistake was critical, and a bobble by Crenshaw put Newman up front with Grice’s A.R.T. Speed Equipment, BLG Blue machine in hot pursuit.  Inside and out Grice searched for a way around Newman for the win, but his desperate dive came up short and Newman took the checkers.

The PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modifieds finished the second leg of their twin 25s with Joe Thuss and Jonathan Hull on the front row.  Hull sped around the high side to take his Diversified Carpet Cleaning, All American Towing entry to the early lead.  Behind the younger Hull Wyatt King, Larry Hull, and Josh Jackson scrapped for the runner up spot.  King wheeled his Major Tire and Hitch, Stock Construction modified hard to hold Larry Hull at bay before he pounced on Jonathan Hull in a bid for the K&N Fan Appreciation Night lead.  After one set of side-by-side corners contact sent both leaders spinning through the infield grass and handed the lead to Larry Hull with Bryan Warf in second.

The green flag waved and Warf steamed around Hull to take the top spot with Josh Jackson in his tire tracks.  Jackson also cleared Hull and jabbed low corner after corner as he battled for the Boise Boys Transportation main event trophy.  With seven laps left Jackson slid into the lead, but spun after contact with Warf.

This cycled Larry Hull and Colton Nelson onto the front row for the restart.  Nelson pushed his Integrity Pools of Idaho, YMC Heating and Air machine hard around the outside, but Hull had a handle on his modified, and the Boise, Idaho racer took the lead with five laps left.  A late race caution slowed the field and set Hull and Nelson heads up for one last shootout.  The green flag waved and Hull blasted past Nelson to take the lead while Nelson fought to fend off King and a resurgent Warf.  But it all happened behind Hull, who claimed the night’s final modified feature.

The NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Latemodel Series wrapped K&N Fan Appreciation Night festivities as they rumbled back onto the quarter-mile for their final fifty lap feature.  On the break pole sitter Josh Jackson sped to the early lead with Jeff Wade and Dave Thomasson in tow.  But quick qualifier John Newhouse was on the move, and by lap five the Twin Falls, Idaho driver held second place behind Wade’s D.L. Evans Bank, Southwind Farms machine.

Newhouse tested Wade, and on lap slung his The Car Store, Action Cycles and Sleds racer to the inside and sprinted to the point.  Newhouse’s next mission was to open as much of a margin as he could before first main event winner Tellstrom broke into open race track. 

Tellstrom cleared traffic five short laps later and wrestled his PitStopUSA.com, Joes Racing Products machine closer and closer to Newhouse.  At the race’s halfway point lapped traffic loomed, but a spin slowed the field and set Tellstrom and Justin Ellis on Newhouse’s bumper for the restart.

The green flag waved and Newhouse pulled to a three car length lead over Tellstrom.  This advantage evaporated as Tellstrom switched to a hybrid line in the corners, but Newhouse found a fast groove of his own and with fifteen laps left his lead again grew.  Try as Tellstrom might he had nothing for Newhouse, who cruised into the Caleb’s Chop Shop Winner’s Circle.

Low and slow is the way to go next Saturday, August 18, as Meridian Speedway hosts the Ultra Touch Car Wash Hot August Cruze and Drag Night.  Along with one of the Treasure Valley’s largest collections of hot rods, rest-mods, and one-of-a-kind customs, the Coors Super Stocks, Teleperformance Claimer Stocks, Big Daddy’s Barbecue Hornets, Junior Stingers, and Bombers take to the quarter-mile asphalt oval in search of the SCI Insurance trophy.  General admission to a full night of racing and cruising is just $11.50 for adults, $6.50 for kids 7-11, and free for those 6 and under.  Gates open at 4:45 p.m. Saturday with Time Trials at 5 p.m. and the first green flag at 6:45 p.m.  Logon to www.meridianspeedway.com to keep up with the fastest crowd around, and text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 to receive exclusive updates from around the quarter-mile.  We’ll see you Saturday, August 18, for Ultra Touch Car Wash Hot August Cruze and Drag Night under the big yellow water tower at your NASCAR Home Track, Meridian Speedway.

Meridan Speedway PR

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Steven B. Wilson

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