Just as driver introductions were concluded, Speedway Co-Owner and Promoter Royal Jones made a surprise visit to the announcers tower with news that would again send shock waved through the racing community as Jones upped the total purse by $10,000; made possible by an anonymous sponsor. With the addition money, the winner’s share of the night’s purse jumped from $10,000 to a jaw dropping $16,000 and gave the A-Mains hard charger a $4,000 bonus.
As the 24 car field rolled around for the green flag, Jason Hughes and Jeremy Payne paced the field to the start as Payne would get the early jump on Hughes but into turn one and out of turn two, Hughes would re-claim the race lead and from there being to pull away until the caution waved with only a couple laps in the books. On the Delaware Double File Restart, Hughes would feel the pressure as Payne would again challenge for the lead but the caution would put the field back to the starting blocks. On the double file start, Payne would opt for the low grove as team mate Terry Phillips took the high grove. As the green dropped it looked like Phillips was going to be a force to be dealt with but just like that, mechanical failure put the Andy’s Frozen Custard 75 pit side. On the final restart of the nights 50 lap A-Main would set the stage for two huge battles on the Speedway as Hughes ran away from Rodney Sanders who ran away from a battle for third through sixth that saw Jeremy Payne, Bumper Jones, Jon Tesch, and Johnny Scott run side by side for the rest of the race…that was until Payton Taylor caught up to them.
After being involved in an earlier caution, the snake was on a mission as the Bad Boy Mowers 01 marched through the field to put his name into the mix. With less than 15 laps to go, the 01 moved around Tesch and set his sights on Johnny Scott who battled side by side with the McDonalds 111 of Bumper Jones as both drivers struggled to get around Jeremy Payne. As the battle in the field raged on, up front Rodney Sanders was running down Jason Hughes in lapped traffic and with only 5 laps to go; it was game on as Sanders closed in on the back bumper of Hughes. Back in the field, the race was about to get good as Jones made his move on Jeremy Payne, leaving the door open for Johnny Scott to follow the 111 through to fourth but he would stay there for long as the Interstate Battery 1st moved into third; leaving Payne to contend with Taylor in 01.
Back up front, Sanders was all over Hughes for the lead with only a couple of laps to go but as the checkered flag waved it was Jason Hughes claiming his third DIRTcar Winter Meltdown and Chub Daniels Memorial. Rodney Sanders would grab second with Johnny Scott third, Bumper Jones fourth, and Payton Taylor grabbing away fifth from Jeremy Payne coming to the checkered flag and take home an extra $4,000 as the A-Mains Hard Charger.
16th Winter Meltdown / Chub Daniels Memorial
The Southern New Mexico Speedway
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Modified Event Winners (Sunday, March 7th 2010)
Last Chance #1: Terry Tipton, Morgan Bagley, Bryan Rowland, Christy Georges, Nathan Bischel, Blake Jegtvig, Jason Krohn, Jake Boles, Kellen Chadwick, Holly Jones, Steve Miller, Philip Houston, Jack Kokot, Jacob Gallardo, Jared Landers, Bobby Sikes Jr., Dusty Riggs, Joe Lackey, Robbie Chiles, Lance Mari, Greg Jenkins, Richie Davis, Garrett Higgins, Wesley Summers
Last Chance #2: Josh Cain, Richie Tosh, Jimmy Ray, Corky Thomas, Fito Gallardo, Tristan Sikes, Tom Georges, Nick O’Neal, Grant Junghans, Tim Culp, Josh Majek, Eddie Martin, Royal Jones, Martin Robinson, Travis Tipton, Patrick Carney, Dickie Gorham, Roy Don Mason, Brian Poppa, Ronnie Salas, Sherman Barnett, Levi DeMartinon, Melissa Gorham, Steve Sutton, Bob Sikes
C-Main: Cain, F. Gallardo, Bagley, Jegtvig, T. Georges, Thomas, Ray, C. Georges, Tosh, O’Neal, Culp, Houston, Junghans, Bischel, Majek, Krohn, Martin, H. Jones, Boles, Chadwick, Terry Tipton, T. Sikes, Miller, Rowland
B-Main: Stormy Scott, Jon Tesch, Derek Ramirez, Peyton Taylor, Cain, RC Whitwell, Mike Hansen, Curt Barnett, T. Georges, F. Gallardo, Houston, Jegtvig, Ray, Bagley, C. Georges, Thomas, Junghans, Steve Holzkamper, Alan Sharpensteen, Culp, Tosh, Kelly Shryock, O’Neal, Bischel
A-Main ($10,000 to win): Hughes, Sanders, J. Scott, B. Jones, Taylor, Payne, Tesch, Weder Jr., Whitwell, Nelson, Ramirez, S. Scott, Barnett, Ray, Jegtvig (-1), Cain (-1), T. Georges (-1), F. Gallardo (-1), Bagley (NF), Hansen (NF), Houston (NF), Banghart (NF), Dotson (NF), Phillips (NF)
**69 Modifieds** (71 total)
Park Jones won a thrilling $1,500 Legends of the Southwest Main Event.
Garrett Alberson won the Southwest Super Truck Main Event.
Vanessa Robinson won the Street Stock Main Event.
Chris Sims and Dennis Gates were the only two not to return on the final day.