MERIDIAN, Idaho—Mini Stocks from far and wide packed the pit area Saturday, September 12, as Meridian Speedway hosted the Season Opening and Championship event for the Northwest Mini Stock Tour on Big Al’s Night at the Races. Joining the many Mini Stocks were the Pit Stop USA NASCAR Modifieds, Pepsi Crate and ISRL Sprint Cars, Project Filter Pro-4s, and the Junior Stingers as they battled for their Anderson 68 Racing Feature Flags.
A full field of 24 Mini Stocks rolled to green for the night’s 75 lap main event behind Payette, Idaho’s Travis Pavlacky and Lacey, Washington’s Ron Wilbur. Pavlacky got to the gas pedal first and piloted his FVC, Price Painting pickup to the lead while Wilbur fell into the clutches of third row starter Don Trafford. This fight for third went sour on the second lap when the two made contact and Wilbur’s Preston Racing machine ended up backwards in front of the field.
In the jam up Josh McMillan, winner of the 2019 Northwest Mini Stock Hard Luck Award, was turned headlong into the backstretch wall. After a wild ride on two wheels McMillan landed his Blaine Sign Shop, Northwest Kent Collision machine on all fours, but the Puyallup, Washington driver was forced to retire from the race with heavy suspension damage.
On the restart Drew Crenshaw hooked the inside line and took over the top spot on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard in his Valton Racing, CG Racing Mini Stock. But Crenshaw wasn’t safe up front as Ogden, Utah’s Justin Carson, Karl Smith of Coquille, Oregon, and Spokane, Washington’s Scott Murphy stormed by and took over the top three spots.
Once Murphy had his One Tree Hard Cider, Zips on Market machine out front he set sail and opened a comfortable lead over Smith. Smith had bigger issues as fast Washington racers Rick Ackerman and Brad Rhoads pulled to his rear bumper.
Ackerman wasn’t satisfied with a podium spot, and the Roy, Washington racer powered by Rhoads and to the back bumper of Murphy. Ackerman pounded on the leader, but couldn’t make a lane for his Elevacity Coffee, Olympic Sign and Awning racer to take the top spot. But the strain on Ackerman’s machine was too much, and with thirty circuits left he lost power and was forced to park in the infield.
Next to test Murphy was Melba, Idaho’s Fred Vigil. With his Ben’s Auto Glass, Larry H. Miller Collision racer on the low line Vigil challenged Murphy on a late race restart before his attention turned to third place runner Terry Armstrong, Junior and his Racers Against Child Abuse, Sappy Q Rubs and Spices entry.
As the laps wound down the leaders sped into a knot of lapped traffic. After close calls nearly claimed Murphy and Armstrong, Junior, Vigil and Morgan Trammel came together on the back stretch. Trammel’s Trammel Construction, Touchdown Automotive machine spun into the side of Wilbur and the crowd slid into turn three.
When the smoke cleared all involved were able to drive away from the accident scene, but Vigil, Trammel, and Wilbur were relegated to the back of the pack for bringing out the caution.
The green flag waved for the last time over Murphy and Armstrong, Junior for a twelve lap shootout. Murphy got out of the blocks first to take the lead while Armstrong, Junior fell into the clutches of third place Carson.
But it all happened behind Murphy, who sped across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe for the victory.
Meridian Speedway point leader Pavlacky finished sixth, second place runner Luke Wolverton eleventh, and third place point man Don Trafford came home nineteenth after an eventful evening.
“What a hell of a race,” Murphy said as he collected the Anderson 68 Racing Feature Flag.
Pit Stop USA NASCAR Modified point leader Brendon Fries, at the controls of his ICON Credit Union, Boise Boys Transportation racer, took home the division’s first of two Big Al’s Night at the Races main events. Division newcomer Josh Fanopoulos dominated race number two to take home a convincing win in his Certified Services, A-1 Towing modified.
The Project Filter Pro-4 ranks were turned upside down in practice Saturday as point leader Jordan Harris tangled with Ray Bolinger’s Mulder’s Auto Machine, Leisure Time, Inc. Racer. The contact slammed Harris’ Allan Marsh RV and Marine Center, Kim’s Kars entry into the turn one concrete before it hopped onto the barrier and slid to a stop.
Both drivers were okay after the spectacular accident, but both cars were sidelined for the night. Harris was able to start the main event in a car borrowed from Colton Nelson, but could only muster a second place finish behind Athena, Oregon’s Cody McDonald and his Holton Secret Labs, Diamond Eye Manufacturing mount.
Bryan Warf charged to the head of the Pepsi Crate and ISRL Sprint Car field in his Allan Marsh RV and Marine Center, CF Floor Covering sprinter to score his third victory in the division’s last four main events.
With an eighth place finish in his Fat Guys Fresh Deli, BLG Blue, CSI Shocks sprinter, Boise, Idaho’s Rob Grice claimed the Idaho Sprint Car Racing League championship presented by Battery Systems and Allan Marsh RV and Marine Center.
Dylan Wardle’s reign of dominance continued as the fourteen-year-old won yet another Junior Stinger feature behind the wheel of his TraBar Custom, Impact Motorz machine. John Clever took the runner up spot in his GoGo Squeeze, Kart Idaho racer and Aaden Fanopoulos came home third.
This Saturday, September 19, Meridian Speedway plays host to Eve of Destruction XII. Alongside the KOA Trailer Races of Destruction, The BEAST Jet Car Meltdown, and the Hornets versus The Gauntlet race, the NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Late Models speed through two main events to find a season champion, while the Mulder Engineered Race Engines Junior Late Models, Coors Super Stocks, Teleperformance Street Stocks, Firehouse Pub and Grill Bombers, and Big Daddy’s Barbecue Hornets go door-to-door for valuable late-season points. Tickets are going fast! Log on to www.meridianspeedway.com to secure your tickets now! General admission for adults is just $19, seniors and military members $17, kids 7-11 $7, and as always kids 6 and under get in free. Can’t make it to the track? Check out all the Eve of Destruction XII action on SpeedCast.tv starting at 6 p.m. We’ll see you under the big yellow water tower this Saturday, September 19, for Eve of Destruction 19 at your NASCAR Home Track, Meridian Speedway.