By DJ Everett
We opened the gates for the first time in 2020 for our loyal fans on week #3 with the Brennan’s Carpet Midgets, Denny’s Minis, Project Filter Bombers, Quale’s Electronics Jr. Stingers, and the Extreme Staffing Double Deckers on O’Reilly Auto Parts Night!! Everyone did a great job practicing social distancing in the grandstands and was treated to another great night of racing!!
The evening’s first race of the night was the first of two main events for the Quale’s Electronics Jr. Stingers. The green flag flew and former Jr. Stinger champion, Kaili McKean, jumped out to the early lead. All of the action in this one would happen behind her as Brayden Sweatfield from the back of the pack made his way up through the field and was challenging for the runner up spot with Angel Newberry when the two made contact sending Newberry for a spin. As a result of the contact, Sweatfield would be relegated to the back of the pack and Newberry would regain her 2nd place spot. During Sweatfield’s charge back up through the field, he and Kristopher McKean would make contact as well sending Kristopher for a spin. Another restart and Kaili McKean would still be unchallenged up front. Steam started billowing from Sweatfield’s engine but he decided to try to limp it home to the finish. At the checkered flag, Kaili McKean would pick up her first win of the year in dominating fashion.
The Denny’s Minis rolled out onto the track with a huge field of 16 cars for 25 laps. Needless to say, this one looked like rush hour on the interstate when the green flag flew. Young Cecil Miles made some great moves early on to be the leader on lap 1. The caution came out early for a spinning Mike Audet coming out of turn 4. Back under green and as the field headed into turn 3 on lap 2, battles started forming up one of which was a three-wide battle near the front of the field. All 3 cars would make contact and before you knew it, there were cars spinning and heading for the wall. When the dust settled, the cars of Manda Haye, Steve Edens Jr, John Quinton, Justin Carson, and Mitch Pehrson were all tangled up in a big heap. Steve Edens Jr had to be forklifted off the track with extensive damage to his machine. Manda Haye was forced back to the pit area with a right rear flat and the rest of the field was able to drive away from the scene. A lengthy red flag period stopped the action while the safety crew cleaned up the incident. Back to green flag racing and Roy Boots Jr is now the new leader on lap 7. Boots hung onto the lead well past the halfway mark when he started entering lapped traffic. Boots would come in contact with a lapped car sending him to the wall coming out of turn 4 ending his race. This gave the lead back to Miles as he drove it all the way to the checkers giving the former Jr. Stinger champion his first career Denny’s Minis win.
The always popular Extreme Staffing Double Deckers took to the track next. This race featured some very clean and respectable driving where there weren’t any incidents. The team of Brayden Sweatfield and Zach Rydalch would prove to be unstoppable as they led the race wire to wire giving the young duo a popular win amongst the crowd.
The second main event of the night for the Quale’s Jr Stingers entered the 1/5 mile infield oval. 8 year old Kristopher McKean did a great job leading the field for the first 4 laps but defending Jr. Stinger champion, Brayden Sweatfield, found a way past McKean to be the next leader of the race in a backup car. After that, Sweatfield put it in cruise control and led it to the checkered flag ahead of McKean and 2nd year driver Angel Newberry. All of the young drivers did a masterful job in this one as the entire race went caution free.
The Project Filter Bombers drove out onto the racing surface with Jr Flagger, 4 year old Emersynn Edens, throwing the green flag to start the race. Papa Shrek, Robyn Finch, led the field at the start and would hang on to it until lap 3 when Redneck Racing’s, Brandon Adams, made his way to the top spot. Craig McCann debuting his new ride for 2020 found his way to the second spot and tried to close the gap on leader Adams. Adams would prove to be too tough on this night giving himself his first win of 2020 as he rolled into victory lane to a gigantic celebration with him and his team. Jr Trophy Presenter, 8 year old Yvette Bautista, would join the celebration handing Adams the hardware.
The fast open wheelers of the Brennan’s Carpet and Design Midgets were next up. Devin Westover in his beautiful #7 midget led the first lap but Sid McElreath had Westover in the cross hairs and lined him up for a pass on lap 2 giving McElreath the lead. Natalie Waters started picking them off one at a time and was closing in on Westover with a head of steam going into turn 3 when the back end came around on her and slid to a stop bringing out the caution. The green flag came back out and one lap later Chaz Groat was able to get by Westover for second. Waters from the back of pack was now battling Westover for third and would eventually get by putting her machine into the top 3. Second year midget driver, River Merrill, had a day that she would rather forget after glancing off of the frontstretch wall during hot laps earlier in the day causing some minor damage and spinning twice in the main event slowing the field down each time. A late restart found Groat getting by McElreath for the lead and giving the young Utah driver his second main event win in 2 races over McElreath and Waters proving to the rest of the field that he will be a serious threat in 2020.
The final race of the evening featured the return of Denny’s Minis for their second main event. Roy Boots Jr led the field for the first few laps hoping to have better results than the first main event earlier in the evening. Mike Audet would have a carbon copy of his incident from main event #1 by spinning coming off of turn 4 bringing out the caution. Justin Carson from Odgen Utah would be the leader on a lap 5 restart. Carson, Boots, and Miles would run in tight formation for a couple of laps at the front of the field when contact between Carson and Miles sent Carson spinning in turns 1 and 2. The ending result would give Carson back the lead and Miles sent to the back of the field. Miles would not be defeated as he cracked the top 5 by lap 9 and was back in contention for the win again. Chad Everett started showing some strength as he moved his machine to the runner up spot just shy of the halfway point. Everett now started to put the heat on Carson for the lead with Boots not far behind. The top 3 would run nose to tail for many laps as Boots decided to try Everett down low for the second spot. As the two battled, Boots’ car got loose coming out of turn 2 and slid to the infield bringing out the caution ending another great run for the Buhl driver. Green flag racing once again and Cecil Miles using the very top groove was passing cars and making up distance to the leaders. With 3 laps to go, Miles got loose coming off of turn 2 sending the car to a sliding stop on the backstretch bringing out the final caution. On the final restart, Everett gave everything he had to get by Carson for the lead but came up a little short giving the win to Carson by a car length.
This Saturday night, May 23rd, is Whelen Night!! The return of the ICCU Modifieds with double main events along with the Cactus Petes Streets, Project Filter Bombers, Valley Office Systems Hornets, and double main events for the Quale’s Electronics Jr Stingers make up the card for some more exciting racing at the 1/3 mile oval. Gates open at 5pm, McDonalds Heat races start at 6pm!! Come early to get a good seat and experience the greatest racing at the greatest track in all of Idaho………Magic Valley Speedway!!