Snake River Legends Host Record 42 Legend Cars At Meridian Speedway
The Domino's Pizza Legends saw twenty Young Lion and Semi-Pro division racers battle for regional qualifier points. The first of forty laps was led by Greg Cortaberria, whose racecar was last seen upside down in turn four Friday night. In mid-pack Friday night winner Chase Gilbertson had knifed through half the fast field in three laps. Lap four saw Tristan Haider and Mark Cirelli Jr. pass Cortaberria for first and second. As Cortaberria fell he took the top line backward, including local racers Aubree Wartman, Gilbertson, and Caity Miller. When the caution flew ten laps into the event for a Scott Dawson spin the field tightened back up, and in spite of several three-wide battles the field made it through the next five laps caution free. Haider would watch his lead evaporate on the fifteenth lap as Alex Ludeman worked the low side for the top spot. Tim Mangini followed, and immediately put the pressure on. Zach Blume would pull to third at the halfway mark as Mangini took over the lead in lapped traffic. Mangini's lead would grow as Blume worked both sides of Ludeman's rear bumper to no avail. With ten to go Gilbertson found himself sixth and in desperate need of help to close the field back up if he wanted to pull the weekend sweep. That help would come in the form of a Brooke Schimmel spin with four laps remaining. With just one mile of racing left Mangini led with Haider second, and Gilbertson third. The restart saw Mangini catch Gilbertson sleeping as he pulled back into the lead. Gilbertson gave chase, but couldn't overpower the California driver as Mangini claimed the checkered flag.
"What a heck of a weekend," said second place Gilbertson. "I was sleeping on the restart, and [Mangini] put his best one down.
"I can't believe we won with this thing," said Mangini of his rebuilt racer.
The Pro and Masters Domino's Pizza Legends looked to lay down a fast fifty lap main event as day turned to night. On the start Jason Irwin shot out to an early lead followed by Peyton Saxton and Rick McNeil. Six laps in Saxton started knocking on Irwin's rear bumper. Robert Cayton and Casey Tillman, fresh out of his SPI Super Six sprintcar, battled for third. As the leaders logged fast laps James Ingham and Duane Swanson put on a spectacular duel for ninth, which eventually saw Swanson win out. After twenty laps of green flag racing Tillman's car began to fade, allowing fifth place runner Tony Mangini and sixth place Randy Schaaf to close on him. At the midpoint of the race leader Irwin had lapped all the way up to tenth place, but was still unable to outpace second place runner Saxton. The yellow flag would fly when Johnethan Davis went for a spin in turn two.
The restart saw Tillman use cone strategy to challenge Irwin for the lead, but the real action was behind the leaders as Donnie Rebbit got turned in the first corner. As the pack caught the spinning car Ingham climbed Lloyd Bigler's left rear tire and flew into the stopped Rebbit. All drivers would climb from their vehicles okay. This time Tillman was able to hang with Irwin and Saxton, as he settled third behind the pair. With twenty to go Cayton jumped below Tillman for the third spot, bringing Manginin and Schaaf with him. Schaaf would spin from fifth two laps later, setting up an eighteen lap sprint for the win. The Saxton-Irwin battle picked up right where it left off before the caution with Saxton, whose car was now showing smoke entering the corners, still looking for a way around Irwin. While Saxton could close through the corner, Irwin was able to power away down the straightaways. With ten to go Cayton would join the fight for first, but Saxton would ignore the pressure and keep his sights locked on the victory. With four to go Saxton would make his move, blasting down the inside on Irwin, but it wouldn't be enough as Irwin battled back on the outside to claim the win.
"That was a heck of a race," said Saxton.