Inches Decide Super Duel at Meridian Speedway

19 Aug 2018
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Nearly one hundred classics, customs, and cruisers packed the Meridian Speedway pit area Saturday, August 18, for Ultra Touch Car Wash Hot August Cruze and Drag night.  Alongside their show-shined compatriots, the Coors Super Stocks, Teleperformance Claimer Stocks, Big Daddy’s Barbecue Hornets, Junior Stingers, and Bombers took on the quarter-mile asphalt oval in search of the Specialty Car Insurance hardware.

Eight Junior Stingers beat the tardy bell to their fifteen lap feature.  Outside pole sitter Logan Castricone got to the as pedal first and rolled around the outside of Jerome, Idaho’s Jodi Moen for the early lead.  But Castricone wasn’t alone as division point leader Rusty Houpt hooked the inside line to put his Boise Spring Works, Catapult 3 machine up front.

Deep in the pack Cody Castricone picked his way through traffic, and by a lap five caution held the runner up spot in his Fast Glass, Linder Learning Academy entry.  Houpt led the field to the restart, but it was Castricone who pounced from the high line to take the lead.  Houpt sped after his championship competition, but didn’t have enough to track down Castricone who claimed the night’s first checkered flag.

Stock car thunder rumbled Meridian Speedway as a full field of Teleperformance Claimer Stocks rolled into their 25 lap main event.  The action started even before the green flag waved as contact sent pole sitter Scott Cooper spinning in front of the field in the restart zone.  Miraculously no further contact was made, and Cooper righted his racer for a second shot at the start.

Cooper’s second attempt was more successful, though it was outside pole sitter Jamie Hyde who raced his way to the lap one lead.  This opened the door for the outside line, and Preston Henderson, Taylor Occhipinti, and Josh Fanopoulos streamed into second, third and fourth on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard.

Occhipinti was first to step out of line, and piloted his Marv’s Tire Service, Dillon Performance Engines machine below Henderson’s Certified Services, Lissa’s Learning Ladder racer for second.  Fanopoulos followed Occhipinti’s lead one lap later before the pair dispatched Hyde’s Western Sandblasting and Powdercoating, Professional Painting car to third.  As Fanopoulos sized Occhipinti up a caution flag waved and reset the field with Fanopoulos inside Occhipinti for the restart.

The green flag waved and the leaders charged headlong into turn one.  As the duo slid off of turn two contact was made and both Fanopoulos and Occhipinti slammed the back stretch wall.  Somehow both drivers reigned their rides in and continued without a caution flag.  Fanopoulos spent the next two laps wrestling his battered racer to keep the lead while Occhipinti limped to the pit area with several bent steering components.

As the pack nipped at his rear bumper Fanopoulos got a handle on his unruly Certified Services, A-1 Towing racer and ran away from Henderson, Sam Newcomer, and Kendra Occhipinti as they scrapped for second.  Occhipinti worked the outside line while Henderson held fast on the low line.  With eleven laps left Occhipinti broke through and turned her sights on Fanopoulos.  Occhipinti closed on the leader as the laps wound down, but Fanopoulos was too strong and parked his racer in the Caleb’s Chop Shop Winner’s Circle.

The Big Daddy’s Barbecue Hornets brought ten hungry competitors to green on their tortoise-and-hare-themed race.  With the field split between fast and slow competitors Kevin Matuska shot to the early lead.  But the hare group made up ground fast, and by lap five hares Jeff Matuska and James Pahl caught the lead pack.  Two laps later Jeff Matuska and Pahl held the top two spots on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard. 

With a leader-to-the-back rule in effect Pahl lagged back through the race’s halfway point, then whipped his Ray’s Auto Care, Beastly Gents Barbershop machine through lapped traffic for the lead.  No sooner had Caldwell, Idaho’s Pahl pulled ahead than the yellow flag waved.  NASCAR officials judged that Pahl’s pass wasn’t complete before the caution, and he was awarded the lead with Matuska sent to the back.

On the restart Jason Yano pulled inside to challenge Pahl, but Pahl prevailed and looked to speed to the win before a caution with five laps left relegated him to the back of the pack.  This left Yano and Austin Blanton to duel for the lead on the restart.  That battle lasted all of two laps before Pahl scorched a trail through traffic and back into the lead fight.  Pahl pinned his racer to the highest possible line, and with the white flag in the air passed Yano for the Ultra Touch Car Wash Hot August Cruze and Drag Night victory.

Gale Carter and Ron Hayes led a rowdy pack of Coors Super Stocks to their 25 lap main event.  On the break Carter raced around Hayes for the lead, but came under immediate fire from Nampa, Idaho’s Chuck Youngblood, who slid around the outside to put his PBT Auto Sales machine up front.  But Youngblood’s lead didn’t last long as championship contender Josh Jackson took the top spot one lap later.

The revolving door up front continued to spin as Tommy Harrod ducked low to relieve Jackson of the lead on lap eight.  Jackson fought back and one lap later piloted his Jackson Built Racing, Sticker Shack racer back to the point.  Jackson’s next challenge came from division point leader Melissa Arte, who parted the field and sped to his back bumper on lap eight.

Jackson claimed the high line as Arte muscled her Marv’s Tire Service, Dillon Performance Engines car around the inside.  With ten laps left the lady racer pulled to Jackson’s door, but couldn’t complete the pass.  A three-wide pass in lapped traffic with five laps left was more successful and allowed Arte to nose ahead at the line.  But Jackson kept his momentum up and motored back to the lead on the outside.  With the white flag in the air Arte dove into turn three harder than she had all night.  Her car stuck and launched off of turn four as she edged Jackson at the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe by a mere nine one-thousandths of a second. 

The wild and wacky Bombers wrapped up Ultra Touch Car Wash Cruze and Drag Night festivities with a fifteen lap feature.  On the break Rob Taylor dispatched Doug McGarva to take the early lead.  Behind Taylor chaos ensued as three different multi-car pileups marred the race’s early going.  Once the action settled Chad Atnip overtook Taylor for the lead and strolled away from the field to claim Saturday’s final Specialty Car insurance trophy.

Pro Trucks return to Meridian Speedway this Saturday, August 25, as the quarter-mile oval hosts Boise State University Alumni Night.  The PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modifieds duel in dual main events, while the Rebel Modifieds of Idaho, Pepsi Crate Cars and Idaho Sprintcar and Roadster League Super Sixes, Project Filter Pro-4s, TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks, and High School Tuners compete for the night’s Champion Onion trophies.  Plus, don’t miss out on the Fast Lane Scooter Race for Kids.  General admission to a full night of auto racing the way it ought to be is just $11.50 for adults, $9 for seniors and military members, $6.50 for kids 7-11, and as always kids 6 and under get in free.  Gates open at 4:45 p.m. Saturday with qualifications at 5:30 p.m. and racing at 6:45 p.m.  Stay up to speed with all the latest news and notes from around the quarter-mile at meridianspeedway.com, and text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 to join our text club for exclusive updates.  We’ll see you under the big yellow water tower this Saturday, August 25, for Boise State University Alumni Night at your NASCAR Home Track, Meridian Speedway.

Meridian Speedway PR

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Steven B. Wilson

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