By Jon Brown, MERIDIAN — A young out-of-towner capitalized when a seasoned hometowner fell into bad luck Friday night as ASA-sanctioned Meridian Speedway.
After leading for a clean 27 laps in the first of back-to-back CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series 75-lap features, Boise’s Mike Marston saw a yellow flag he didn’t want to see.
Before the green fell again, Marston’s night was over as he couldn’t get his Late Model racecar started.
That opened the door for 15-year-old Brandon White of Eureka, Calif.
White stayed out front the rest of the way despite a few more caution flags, becoming the second consecutive teenager to win an RMCS event at Meridian Speedway.
“This is my first time running here in this car,” White said. “It feels great.”
Jeremy Doss of Upper Lake, Calif., who won the RMCS Treasure Valley NAPA 100 at Meridian in May, finished fifth.
Twenty-two drivers turned out for the first night of the RMCS doubleheader. More cars are expected Saturday when the series runs the Project Filter 75.
In other main events Friday night:
Josh Allen won his second straight main event in the Pepsi Sprintcars.
Josh Gilbert of Trademark Church drove the racetrack’s Hornet (which can be rented to race) to a victory in the 12-lap Preacher Feature to Find the Fastor Pastor. The third annual race helped raise funds for the churches whose pastors participated.
“I had a blast,” Gilbert said. “I grew up watching NASCAR my whole live and always wanted to race out here.”
Gilbert was worried because halfway through the race the check engine light came on in his rental racer. But he recovered to challenge all the Treasure Valley pastors to come out and strap into a racecar next year.
After a last-minute adjustment to his race car, Nampa’s Chad Bess ran away from the field to win the 30-lap Street Stocks feature.
“This has been a crazy day (the track went) from really tight to really loose. Track really doesn’t want to cooperate with us,” Bess said. “Our crew chief make a great change, and it really helped us.”
Larry Hull III padded his lead in the Pit Stop Drive Thru Mini Stocks with a win in that division’s 35-lap main event. The Boise driver rallied through the field as the yellow flag flew three time.
“We can’t complain,” Hull said. “This is the first race we kind of struggled all day, so a win is awesome.”
In the Thunder Dogs race, which was stretched to 26 laps because of a loud cheer from the crowd, Bootlegger won again. Sean Hackworth of Caldwell picked up his second feature in just three career starts. He also won the last time the Thunder Dogs raced at Meridian.
Bootlegger held on for dear life across the start-finish line when Bumble Bee (driven by Paul Orlando) tried to spin him for a 50-point bonus.
In the Pepsi Sprintcars feature, a hometown driver may have picked up the checkered flag, but the focus was actually behind the leader.
While Allen was skating away with a 35-lap main event victory, Boise’s Jamie Ransom was frustrating Kuna’s Casey Tillman in a battle for second place.
Ransom used most of the race track to thwart Tillman, but he had good reason for his stingy behavior. Tillman, who won three consecutive features earlier this season, crept ahead of Ransom to take a one-point lead after the July 14 races.
Tillman tried everything he could think of, driving on the high side of the track and then dipping to the apron in search of room past the rookie driver. Ransom and Tillman touched tires heading into Turn 1 with three laps to go, but both held on to their machines.
Allen, meanwhile, just enjoyed the open track and coasted to the win.
With two races left in the season, Allen probably tightened up the points chase with the main event victory and a checkered flag in the Fast Dash. He’s third in the standings behind Tillman and Ransom.
“We’ve just got to keep working and chipping away,” Allen said.
Local drivers dominated two of the three RMCS heat races in a series that featured racers from Idaho, Nevada, California and Utah.
The first 12-lap heat race, though, featured a pair of California drivers at the front.
Trevor Cristiani of Ukiah, Calif., drove past Twin Falls racer Morgan Rasmussen and into the lead five laps in, and teenager Jeremy Doss of Upper Lake, Calif., followed his fellow Golden Stater and settled into second place. The two Californians broke away and ran nose-to-tail four car lengths ahead of the rest of the field.
Mike Marston of Boise made a return to the Meridian quarter-mile oval after a long absence and pulled off a wire-to-wire victory in the second RMCS heat race. That race also saw the return of Boise’s Dave Minegar, the only man to win two RMCS main events during its 11-race history at Meridian Speedway.
Another local driver with a long history at Meridian Speedway, Kuna’s Craig Bell rolled up a three-second lead en route to a victory in the third 12-lap preliminary for the RMCS pros. Series rookie of the year candidate Tyler Bailey of Middleton finished second.
The racing continues Saturday night with the RMCS Project Filter 75 headlining a show that includes more racing for the Mini Stocks and the Street Stocks and the return of the Tates Hornets.
The gates open at 4 p.m. with qualifying at 5 p.m. and racing at 6:30 p.m.
Admission is $15 for adults, $12.50 for seniors and military and $11 for children 7-11. A family pass costs $46.
Children 6 and younger get in free.
Tickets are available online at www.meridianspeedway.com. More information about the track and its schedule is available at the website or by calling (208) 888-2813.
Preacher Feature and
CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series
Friday’s unofficial results
CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series (75 laps) – 1. Brandon White, Eureka, Calif.; 2. Steve Jones, Meridian; 3. Bruce Quale, Twin Falls; 4. TJ Woodhall, Twin Falls; 5. Jeremy Doss, Upper Lake, Calif.
Preacher Feature to Find the Fastor Pastor (12 laps) – 1. Josh Gilbert, Trademark Church; 2. “Tiger” Mark James, Team RFC-Racers for Christ (car owner: Art Heath); 3. George Kovacs, The Pursuit (car owner: Brendon Fries); 4. Kipton Hicks, Payette Bible Baptist Church (car owner: Sean Hackworth); 5. Justin Jordan, Real Life Ministries (car owner: Jess Ryska)
Street Stocks (30 laps) – 1. Chad Bess, Nampa; 2. Marv Weaver, Nampa; 3. Roy Kirkland, Boise; 4. Melissa Weaver, Nampa; 5. Rick Baldwin, Middleton
Pepsi Sprintcars (25 laps) – 1. Josh Allen, Meridian; 2. Jamie Ransom, Boise; 3. Casey Tillman, Kuna; 4. Erik Miller, Caldwell; 5. Michael Anderson, Nampa
Pit Stop Drive Thru Mini Stocks (35 laps) – 1. Larry Hull III, Boise; 2. Donovan Parker, Garden City; 3. Ray Bolinger, Meridian; 4. Jonathan Hull, Boise; 5. Jason Sanders, Caldwell
Thunder Dogs winner (26 laps) – Bootlegger (Sean Hackworth, Caldwell)
(12 laps each)
CarbonX Rocky Mountain Challenge Series
Heat No. 1 – 1. Trevor Cristiani, Ukiah, Calif.; 2. Jeremy Doss, Upper Lake, Calif.; 3. Steve Jones, Meridian; 4. Dylan Caldwell, Nampa; 5. Bruce Quale, Twin Falls
Heat No. 2 – 1. Mike Marston, Boise; 2. Phyl Zubizareta, Garden City; 3. Brandon White, Eureka, Calif.; 4. Dave Minegar, Boise; 5. TJ Woodhall, Twin Falls
Heat No. 3 – 1. Craig Bell, Kuna; 2. Tyler Bailey, Middleton; 3. John Dillon, Eagle; 4. John Nesmith, Meridian; 5. Rick Fowble, Twin Falls
(Eight laps each)
Fast Dash – 1. Roy Kirkland, Boise; 2. Chad Bess, Nampa; 3. Melissa Weaver, Nampa; 4. Marv Weaver, Nampa
B Heat – 1. Rick Baldwin, Middleton; 2. Patrick Johnson, Caldwell; 3. Bobby Riggs, Fruitland; 4. John Weller, Caldwell
Fast Dash – 1. Josh Allen, Meridian; 2. Tristen Spiers, Adrian, Ore.; 3. Casey Tillman, Kuna; 4. Jamie Ransom, Boise; 5. Erik Miller, Caldwell
B Heat – 1. Ryan Weiderich, Nampa; 2. Cody Huddleston, Meridian; 3. Colton Nelson, Meridian; 4. Michael Anderson, Nampa
Pit Stop Drive Thru Mini Stocks
Fast Dash – 1. Donovan Parker, Garden City; 2. Larry Hull III, Boise; 3. Ray Bolinger, Meridian; 4. Jason Sanders, Caldwell; 5. Sarah Shaw, Boise
B Heat – 1. Brandon Shira, Boise; 2. Duane Gerber, Boise; 3. Jonathan Hull, Boise; 4. Robbie Hyde, Twin Falls; 5. Brendan Fries, Meridian
C Heat – 1. Art Heath, Nampa; 2. Mike Davis, Boise; 3. Travis Pavlacky, Fruitland; 4. Nathan Dearing, Boise; 5. Steve Keuter, Meridian
D Heat – 1. John Ellsworth, Kuna; 2. Everett Meeks, Garden City; 3. Leonard Reed, Meridian; 4. David Edwards Jr., Nampa
(Six laps each)
Fast Dash – 1. Catfish (John Pinkston, Meridian); 2. Bulldacious (James Mello, Boise); 3. Bumble Bee (Paul Orlando); 4.
B Heat – 1. Sledgehammer (David Jolley, Nampa); 2. Bootlegger (Sean Hackworth, Caldwell); 3. Big Tuna (Stanley Irons, Boise); 4. Surfer (James Cloud, Boise); 5. IP Freely Topless (Nic Forsea, Boise)
(Five laps each)
Veterans Heat – 1. George Kovacs, The Pursuit (car owner: Brendon Fries); 2. Neil Evans, Middleton Baptist Church (car owner: Ryan Bailey); 3. Ed “Mostly Fast Eddy” Kreiner, Meridian Assembly (car owner: Stacy Heath); 4. Kipton Hicks, Payette Bible Baptist Church (car owner: Sean Hackworth)
Rookies Heat – 1. “Tiger” Mark James, Team RFC (Racers for Christ) (car owner: Art Heath); 2. Josh Gilbert, Trademark Church; 3. Justin Jordan, Real Life Ministries (car owner: Jess Ryska)
RMCS Late Models – Jones, 13.568 seconds
Street Stocks – Marv Weaver, 15.066
Pepsi Sprintcars – Tillman, 13.601
Pit Stop Drive Thru Mini Stocks – Bolinger, 15.302