ASA-sanctioned Meridian Speedway has become the home of the streaker, and Kuna’s Casey Tillman is a primary perpetrator
Most race fans are familiar with Shelby Stroebel’s string of 12 consecutive ASA Modifieds feature victories at the paved quarter-mile oval.
But young guns, including Tillman and Nampa’s Dylan Caldwell, also are making noise in 2012.
And they were turning heads Saturday in front of local legends on Western Idaho Racing Association Hall of Fame night at the speedway.
Tillman won his third consecutive Pepsi Sprintcars main event after a horrific Turn 1 wreck knocked him out of the wingless, open-wheel division’s first feature of the season back in April.
The 20-year-old Caldwell won his fourth consecutive NAPA Late Model division main event in a clean and fast 30-lap race that took less than eight minutes to complete.
Caldwell has finished no worse than fourth in the five NAPA Late Model features at the track this season.
In other main events Saturday:
Meridian’s Colton Nelson picked up his fifth top-three finish in as many Tates Hornets races, winning his third feature of the season in a race that was scheduled for 50 laps.
Hunter Gates of Nampa was eighth-tenths of a second faster than Meridian’s Peter Woog at the finish line to win the 20-lap Jr. Stingers feature.
Meridian’s Walt Calkins won a 12-lap Vintage Sprintcar shootout with Chubbuck’s Brad Hunziker. The two men brought out classic open-wheelers on a night when Cliff Barrett rolled out his replica jalopies. Jalopies were among the first classes run at Meridian Speedway when the facility opened as a dirt track in 1951.
Weeks after losing a Domino’s Pizza Legends main event because of a post-race protest, Tillman continued to excel in the Pepsi Sprintcar class, and he may have upset the series standings in the process.
Tillman drove to a 1.652-second victory over Saturday night fast-time driver Jamie Ransom of Boise.
Ransom entered the night with a nine-point lead over third-place Tillman and a seven-point edge on series No. 2 Josh Allen of Meridian.
Ransom widened the lead ever-so slightly with his top qualifying time of 13.658 seconds, but Tillman chipped away by winning the Fast Dash.
Allen tried to keep pace with third-place finishes in both the Fast Dash and the main.
Tillman’s victory continued a determined comeback from a crash that drew gasps and groans from the capacity crowd on the division’s May 5 opening night.
That night, he had turned in the fast time and roared to the back of Meridian driver Josh Allen’s machine 11 laps into the feature.
But the mad dash — and the Pepsi Sprintcars opening feature — ended on that 11th lap when the Kuna driver’s car wheel-hopped Allen’s racer and Tillman drove straight into the Turn 1 wall.
Since then Tillman has been nothing short of unstoppable, winning on May 19, June 9 and Saturday night. In all three races, he finished directly in front of series leader Ransom.
For more information about the races or to buy tickets, visit www.meridianspeedway.com or call (208) 888-2813.
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