MERIDIAN, Idaho—The clouds parted for a night of chaos at Meridian Speedway as the quarter-mile asphalt oval hosted Smash-O-Rama 2018. The Royal Purple Modified Series, Pro Truck Series, High School Tuners, and Bombers provided Saturday night’s racing action, while daredevil Mr. Dizzy, World Famous Boat Racing, a hard-hitting demolition derby, and fireworks provided the destruction.
The High School Tuners kicked off main event action with a fifteen lap dash to the checkers. On the green Hanna Lindgren piloted her machine past James Strickwerda to open a large first lap lead. But the man on the move early was DJ Sirani, who planted his Husky Auto Electric racer in the high groove and pulled even with the leader on lap two.
With Lindgren and Sirani locked in a battle, Strickwerda caught the lead duo. On lap five Strickwerda ducked low and took the lead fight three wide in turn two. As the trio rocketed down the backstretch Lindgren blew a right front tire, which sent her sailing first into Sirani and then the turn three wall. Both drivers emerged from their wrecked racers okay, but were forced to retire from the event.
On the restart Strickwerda overpowered Boise, Idaho’s Arin Flagstade to take the lead, and this would prove the winning pass as Strickwerda rolled into Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Lane.
The built-in-a-day Bomber division rolled onto Meridian Speedway next for their own fifteen lap scuffle. James Sheets got to the gas pedal first and piloted his minivan to the early lead. But Tommy Harrod found speed in his jalopy and, after a lap of paint trading, sliced his way into the top spot.
First to challenge Harrod was Chad Atnip, who stuck his green machine in the inside groove and powered to the top of the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard. A spectator caution with five laps left bunched the field and brought Harrod even with Atnip for one last shootout.
The green flag waved and Atnip motored back to the top spot. Try as Harrod might, he was unable to mount a challenge on the leader and Atnip sped across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe first.
The Pro Truck Series rumbled to life for a 75 lap feature. On the green Rodney Park motored past John Wong to take his Picks Insulation, Graco entry to the early lead. Behind Park it was Jason Quale on the move. From his back of the pack starting spot Quale made his way into the top five on lap four, then overtook Drew Reitsma for a top-three spot on lap thirteen.
Reitsma went to work, and held station in the outside line as father-son pair John and Mason Newhouse caught the battle for third. During the battle Reitsma bounced his Reitsma Holsteins truck off the front stretch concrete and faded, leaving Quale and the Newhouse family to work over Wong’s Champion Produce, Wong Farms machine for second.
At the race’s one-third mark Park held the top spot with Quale, Mason Newhouse and John Newhouse on his rear bumper. Quale ducked into the low groove and piloted his Quale’s Electric, Heeling Construction racer to the lead with forty circuits left. Mason and John Newhouse followed Quale around Park and were quickly on the leader’s tailgate.
Less than one second separated the top three runners as the race entered its final 25 laps. The younger Newhouse decided it was time to go, and he looked low for a way past Quale. Lapped traffic thwarted this run, but as soon as the lead trio found clear track the race was back on.
With ten circuits left on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard Mason Newhouse launched his assault on Quale. Newhouse slid his The Car Store, KIDD Performance and Dyno truck high and low in his search for a way to the point, but Quale was too strong and the Twin Falls, Idaho racer roared across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe first.
The Royal Purple Modified Series packed Meridian Speedway for a 75 lap main event. Meridian, Idaho racer Casey Tillman got to the gas pedal first and took the early lead. Hot on Tillman’s bumper were Jonathan Gomez, John Grantjean, and Chris Fenton. Gomez took the fight to Tillman first and on lap four the Jerome, Idaho driver took his Century Boatland entry to the top spot.
Behind Gomez, Tillman, Grantjean, and Fenton went to war for second place. On lap eight this battle went wrong as Grantjean and Fenton made contact and spun in turn one. The beneficiary of this scuffle was Shelby Stroebel, who moved his daughter Caitlin’s Trinity Construction, D&R Drainage Systems modified into third behind Tillman and Gomez.
Stroebel wasted no time as he charged around the outside into second and set his sights on Gomez. While Stroebel chased Gomez, third place runner Aubree Wartman wheeled her A-1 Heating and Air Conditioning, Project Filter machine hard to stay ahead of Salt Lake City, Utah’s Eric Rhead. By lap 25 Rhead held third, and began to close the gap on Stroebel.
Stroebel’s attention soon shifted from leader Gomez to Rhead, who stalked the multi-time champion from the second groove through the race’s middle stages. As the laps wound down Stroebel’s engine soured, and Rhead reeled the Meridian, Idaho driver in. With five laps to go Rhead made his move to the outside, but tagged and climbed the back stretch wall.
Rhead landed his Redbone Trucking, Fat Boy Ice Cream machine and incredibly keep pace with Stroebel as the pair sped into the white flag lap. With one final push Rhead threw his modified hard into turn three, but slid out of the groove and pounded the concrete in front of the Big Smoke, Tobacco Connection North End Animals’ bleachers. This left Stroebel in the runner up spot behind a dominant Gomez.
Ten cars were sacrificed for the Smash-O-Rama 2018 demolition derby, the first event of its kind held at Meridian Speedway in nearly twenty years. After five chaotic minutes just Jessie Martin and Joey Reyes remained in motion. The final pair traded heavy blow after heavy blow, and when the checkers waved Martin and Reyes were crowned Smash-O-Rama 2018 demolition derby co-champions.
Professional stuntman Mr. Dizzy thrilled Meridian Speedway with an explosive car jump. The daredevil soared first through a bus, then a stack of cars, and finally a wall of flame before he crashed to earth in turn four. The stunt proved successful and Mr. Dizzy emerged from his demolished machine unscathed.
Adam Crow in the Catakillar dominated the World Famous Boat Race destruction scores as he plowed through boat after boat after boat. But a broken front suspension ended his night early, and left three competitors in contention for the Boat Race victory. The contenders included Tommy “Haywire” Harrod, a man known only as “Demo” Darrel, and wild man Jamo Stephenson in his YMC van. After a fan vote Stephenson was declared the winner.
With a full night of destruction in the books, Meridian Speedway turns its attention to the military Saturday, May 19, for the Project Filter Military Appreciation Night. The Project Filter Pro-4s run twin 25 lap main events, while the Pepsi Crate Cars and ISRL Super Sixes, Coors Super Stocks, Teleperformance Claimer Stocks, TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks, and Big Daddy’s Barbecue Hornets compete for the Boise Boys Transportation hardware. General admission to Saturday night’s action is free for military members and their families, $11.50 for adults, $9 for seniors, and $6.50 for kids 7-11. Log on to meridianspeedway.com for all the latest speedway news and notes, and be sure to text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 to receive exclusive updates from around the quarter-mile. We’ll see you this Saturday, May 19, for Project Filter Military Appreciation Night under the big yellow water tower at your NASCAR Home Track, Meridian Speedway.
Saturday’s Unofficial Results
Royal Purple Modifieds
Quick Time – #23F Chris Fenton, 14.001 seconds
Main Event 1. # 22 Jonathan Gomez Jerome, ID
2. # 44 Shelby Stroebel Meridian, ID
3. # 96 Aubree Wartman Boise, ID
4. # 24 Neal Latham Nampa, ID
5. # 66 Eric Rhead Salt Lake City, UT
Heat A 1. # 22 Jonathan Gomez Jerome, ID
2. # 11 Jeff Longman Orem, UT
3. # 66 Eric Rhead Salt Lake City, UT
Heat B 1. # 23 Chris Fenton Meridian, ID
2. # 24 Neal Latham Nampa, ID
3. # 96 Aubree Wartman Boise, ID
Quick Time – #22 Jonathon Gomez, 14.723 seconds
Main Event 1. # 12 Jason Quale Twin Falls, ID
2. # 36 Mason Newhouse Twin Falls, ID
3. # 26 John Newhouse Twin Falls, ID
4. # 7 Rodney Park Jerome, ID
5. # 3 John Wong Eagle, ID
Heat A 1. # 12 Jason Quale Twin Falls, ID
2. # 22 Jonathan Gomez Twin Falls, ID
3. # 3 John Wong Eagle, ID
Heat B 1. # 36 Mason Newhouse Twin Falls, ID
2. # 26 John Newhouse Twin Falls, ID
3. # 28 Ron Lawser Townsend, MT
High School Tuners
Quick Time – #13 DJ Sirani, 16.565 seconds
Main Event 1. # 3 James Strickwerda
2. # 35 Arin Flagstade Boise, ID
3. # 13 DJ Sirani Oasis, ID
4. # 30 Hannah Lindgren Boise, ID
Heat A 1. # 30 Hanna Lindgren Boise, ID
2. # 13 DJ Sirani Oasis, ID
3. # 35 Arin Flagstade Boise, ID
Main Event 1. # 20 Chad Atnip
2. # 96 Tommy Harrod
3. # 25 Mirinda Miles
4. # 76 Doug McGarvan
5. # 99 James Sheets
Heat A 1. # 96 Tommy Harrod
2. # 20 Chad Atnip
3. # 3 Jamo Stephenson
Demo Derby Winners – Jesse Martin and Joey Reyes
Boat Race Winner – Jamo Stephenson