MERIDIAN, Idaho—Meridian Speedway rode the storm out Saturday, August 10, as the quarter-mile asphalt oval hosted the NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Late Models for their annual Jeff Russell Road to Recovery 85 presented by Builders First Source. The Coors Super Stocks, Factory Motor Parts Mini Stocks, and Junior Stingers raced for their own Construction Services and Repair Feature Flags.
Rob Powers and Ben Crow led nine fast NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Late Models to green on the Jeff Russell Road to Recovery 85. On the break Powers dispatched Crow to put his Western States Caterpillar, Powers Transport machine in the top spot, but immediately came under fire from Daniel Johnson and Tyler Monroe. Johnson was first to challenge Powers, but contact in turn four sent both front runners sliding in front of the field. Powers gathered his racer up and continued, but Johnson spun in turn one and collected Daytona Wurtz and her All Makes Auto Salvage entry.
This left Monroe in control of the field, with point leader Kyle Tellstrom and returning speedway favorite David Minegar in hot pursuit. Tellstrom pinned his PitStopUSA.com, Joes Racing Products car to the inside line, and on lap six snuck below Monroe for the lead. Minegar followed suit, and quickly had his Rocky Mountain Electric, Granite Construction machine in second on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard.
This dropped Monroe into the clutches of last main event winner Zach Telford and his blue-flame trailing Builders First Source, Precision Framing racer. It took Telford five circuits to make his way to third, a period in which Minegar had built a two second advantage over the youngster from Middleton, Idaho.
Telford closed on Minegar, Minegar closed on Tellstrom, and Tellstrom closed on a pack of slower traffic as the race entered its middle third. Tellstrom picked his way through traffic, careful to conserve as much of his equipment as possible. The strategy worked until lap 37, when a cut tire sent the leader to the pit area.
This set Minegar up with the lead and the hard-charging duo of Telford and Monroe behind him. Minegar got out of the blocks quickly and took a three car-length lead. But Telford kept pace, and erased Minegar’s advantage in four short laps to begin the battle for the Jeff Russell Road to Recovery 85 victory.
After a failed charge with forty laps left Telford regrouped and planted himself two feet off of Minegar’s rear bumper. Lap after lap Telford turned the pressure up, until contact with thirty laps left sent Minegar sliding through turn two. Both drivers gathered their machines, and a mere five laps later Telford cut below Minegar and emerged with the top spot.
With ten laps left the yellow flag flew, and Telford, Minegar, Tellstrom, Monroe, and Powers were parked in turn three so their pit crews could make adjustments for the final ten lap shootout. Powers’ crew found an oil leak that, if not repaired, meant Crow would get his chance in the final five car shootout.
Crow scrambled to get strapped into his car while Powers’ crew thrashed to stop the oil leak. Powers made it to the race track first, and was included as the fifth car in the shootout.
The green flag waved and Telford zipped to the lead while Tellstrom flew around the outside of Minegar to take the second spot. But that was as close as Tellstrom would get to Telford, who sped across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe for his second straight NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Late Model win of the 2019 campaign.
Dylan Wardle held off a hard charge by Jerome, Idaho’s Jody Moen to park his Catapult 3, Discount Tire machine in the Caleb’s Chop Shop Winner’s Circle.
Melissa Weaver survived two late restarts in her Marv’s Tire Service, Dillon Performance Engines racer to increase her Coors Super Stock point lead.
Travis Pavlacky outdueled Taylorsville, Utah’s Courtney Green to collect the Construction Services and Repair Feature Flag in the Factory Motor Parts Mini Stock ranks.
This Saturday, August 17, hot rods and cool customs invade Meridian Speedway for Fairly Reliable Bob’s Hot August Cruze and Drag Night. Alongside ninety of the region’s finest show cars, the PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds, Domino’s Legends, and Firehouse Pub and Grill Bombers go wheel-to-wheel in search of the SCI Insurance Feature Flags. General admission is just $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and military members, $7 for kids 7-11, and free for kids 6 and under. Gates open an hour later than normal at 5:45 with races going green at 7:30. We’ll see you this Saturday, August 17, for Fairly Reliable Bob’s Hot August Cruze and Drag Night at your NASCAR Home Track, Meridian Speedway.