By DJ Everett
Magic Valley Speedway opened the year to the normal cool April temperatures but that didn’t stop our loyal fans from coming out to take in some exciting racing on opening night! The ICCU Modifieds, Cactus Pete’s Streets, Project Filter Bombers, Magic Valley Pipe Hornets, and Quale’s Electronics Jr Stingers all produced action that made the fans rise out of their seats!
The first race of the night was the Quale’s Electronics Jr Stingers as Roxy Nolan, Kaili McKean, and Kristopher McKean all took to the track. They raced on the hornet track instead of the usual stinger track making it more challenging for these young drivers. As the green flew, Nolan took advantage of her pole position starting spot to lead the first three quarters of the first lap until former stinger champion Kaili McKean took Roxy on the outside out of turn 4 to lead it at the stripe. From there on out it was game over as all three drivers drove a safe race with no issues and McKean taking the checkered flag to start the year off in the win column.
A good field of ten ICCU Modifieds took to the track next for their first main event of the year that included Bruce Quale taking over the wheel for his injured son Jason and defending midget champion Natalie Waters in her modified debut at MVS. The green was displayed and front row starters Mitch Pehrson and Tim Fahrner battled for the top spot with Fahrner grabbing the lead at the end of lap 1. Behind them some great side by side racing was taking place between Patrick Gold, Matt Egley, Bruce Quale, Eric Rhead, and Zach Webster. Everyone started to sort things out with Gold landing himself in third and Quale in fourth. Gold was able to put a wheel down low on Pehrson and get by bringing along Quale, Webster, and Rhead. All four now had their sights set on leader Fahrner in which they were starting to track him down. While that action was happening, Natalie Waters spun to the infield off of turns three and four but was able to rejoin the race on the frontstretch while the field stayed green. During the midpoint of the race, defending ICCU modified champion Eric Rhead running fifth at the time caught the backstretch wall with the right side of his car lifting up off the ground. That didn’t faze him as he kept his foot on the throttle and eventually got by Webster and Quale to move into third. Fahrner was doing a great job leading this race despite having drivers behind him starting to close the gap slowly. The battle for the lead started to pick up as Gold was underneath Fahrner down the frontstretch and as they entered turns one and two, Gold used the lapped machine of Devin Burdette as a pick to get by Farhner for the lead. As that was happening, a fierce battle for third was taking place between Quale and Rhead. The traffic was heavy on the racetrack and as the two exited turn 2, they made contact sending Quale into a spin and bringing out the caution flag. Great action happening in the first ICCU modified main event of the year making the fans stand on their feet. Fahrner was able to get the lead back for the restart and as they green flew Fahrner got a great jump on the field. Rhead was able to put it to the high side of Gold and get by to move into second. At the same time, Webster moved down low underneath Quale to get by into fourth. Rhead caught Fahrner and got by to move into the lead with two laps to go. Caution flew again for Waters spinning in turn two which later we learned she was having front brake issues making the car very unstable. The final restart saw Rhead jump back out in front bringing Webster into second by going up and around Fahrner. Waters still suffering from an ill handling car spun one more time in turn 3 as the field took the white flag. The caution flew for safety purposes as Waters was facing the opposite direction at the bottom of turn three. The field slowed and the checkered flag was displayed giving Rhead his first main event win of the year.
The Quale’s Electronics Jr Stingers came back out for their second main event of the night and when the green flag flew, polesitter Kristopher McKean lunged out to the early lead but big sister Kaili McKean started making moves from the back and on the second lap she took the lead. Kristopher and Roxy Nolan had a great battle going on for second but when they entered turn one the two made contact sending Roxy spinning with Kristopher getting on the brakes hard to keep from hitting Roxy. Both got going again and we stayed green. Kaili kept cruising around and eventually took the checkered flag to pickup her second win of the night.
The Project Filter Bombers rolled onto the speedway and when they dropped the green it was Misty Gilliam taking command of the race early on. Brandon Adams and Jonathan Rich put on a heck of a battle for second with Adams taking the spot and then put the heat on leader Gilliam. Adams made short work of Gilliam becoming the new leader with Rich grabbing second. Rich tried to track down Adams for the lead and made one last ditch effort going into turn three on the final lap. Rich’s car got loose, swapped ends sending him into the wall. Adams took the win with Rich’s car slowing after contact with the wall losing second place to Gilliam. Adams made a nice gesture doing a polish victory lap while flying a memorial Chaz Groat flag who we lost during the off season.
The Cactus Pete’s Streets were next for their main event and racing into turn one it was polesitter Josh Cuff with the lead. That would be short lived as Shawn Lester grabbed the lead off of turn four on lap one. On lap two, Willie Dalton made an amazing move to go around Cuff for second and immediately took Lester on the inside for the lead. That opened the door for Ronn McClimans to move underneath Lester for second and Steve Edens Sr followed on through into third. Lester and Cuff had a good battle for fourth with Lester getting the best of it. Edens was able to get to the rear bumper of McClimans for the runner up spot in the latter stages of the race but was unable to make a move. Dalton was able to cruise to victory for the defending Cactus Pete’s Streets champion.
The ICCU Modifieds returned for their second main event of the night and as the green flag waved, outside polesitter Matt Egley led it on the first lap after a great battle with Mitch Pehrson. Behind Egley it was a traffic jam with a lot of side by side battles. Zach Webster from the back of pack starting making wholesale passes on the high side first by getting by Patrick Gold and then to the inside of Pehrson. At the front of the field, Bruce Quale made an inside move on Egley to be the race’s next leader. Webster followed in the tire tracks of Quale to move underneath Egley into second. Eric Rhead was doing the same picking off cars one at a time and eventually moving into third place. Rhead at this point had a front row seat watching the battle for the lead between Webster and Quale. Webster dove underneath Quale going into turn three and took the lead off of turn four. Rhead was the next to work on Quale this time for second and after a great side by side between the two drivers, Rhead was finally able to surge into the runner up spot. Webster was able to keep a consistent distance between himself and Rhead for the time being but behind them, Tim Fahrner and Patrick Gold started making their moves through the field. Caution flew for Egley’s hood that came off of his machine and landing on the frontstretch going into turn one. This set up a great battle on the restart between Webster and Rhead and when they went back to racing, Webster got a good jump on Rhead to retain his lead. Rhead took a look high and low on Webster but couldn’t get by. Fahrner got a good restart and was able to get by Quale for third. Pehrson spun in turn four while running sixth but was able to get going again and rejoin the race as the field stayed green. Gold got to Quale’s rear bumper to challenge for fourth and as they entered turn one, the two made contact resulting in Quale going into the spin cycle. The field had already taken the white flag at that point therefore the checkered flag flew giving Webster the win.
The final race of the night was the Magic Valley Pipe Hornets. As in normal hornet fashion, half of the race was run anticlockwise on the hornet track and the last half was run clockwise. Peggy Dean led the group on the first lap with Brayden Sweatfield and Zach Rydalch battling hard for second. There was much paint trading going on between the three drivers as Rydalch stayed committed to the outside lane and eventually found himself in the lead getting by Sweatfield and Dean. Sweatfield got by Dean for second and then the yellow flew to turn the field the other way. On the restart, Sweatfield jumped to the high side of Rydalch and made the pass work to get into the lead. Rydalch stayed within striking distance and on the final lap made a great effort to get by Sweatfield but ended up in the dirt coming to a stop allowing Dean to get by into second with Sweatfield taking the win.
We would like to congratulate Lindsey Park for winning the selfie contest. Lindsey will receive one free admission ticket to the next racing event. This Saturday night is Magic Valley Pipe Night featuring the Northwest Tour Trucks, Brennan’s Carpet Midgets, McClimans Racing Engines Minis, Magic Valley Pipe Hornets, and Double Deckers! Also in attendance will be former Nascar championship crew chief and Fox Sports Nascar television commentator Jeff Hammond! Gates open at 5pm with McDonald’s racing at 6pm! The racing season has just started which means we are in for a great year of racing! We will see all of you this Saturday at Idaho’s fastest 1/3 mile oval………….Magic Valley Speedway!!