Nampa, Idaho’s Weaver Survives Tough CWI Twin 25sadmin
The drama started early at Meridian Speedway as the College of Western Idaho Street Stock Twin 25s took to the asphalt quarter-mile. From mechanical woes to close encounters of the concrete kind several racers found themselves with major hurdles to overcome before the night’s first green flag waved. Even those that made it through the evening’s preliminary action weren’t safe as a night of racing turned into a night of survival.
The Budweiser Modifieds were first to test the treacherous track for a 25 lap feature with its divisional point leader Josh Jackson in a backup car after a hard practice crash destroyed his primary ride. Front row starters Robert Rendo and Gene Stroebel rocketed into turn one when the green flag fell. Rendo got the better of that battle in his All American Powder Coating, Identify Sign Works modified and took the lead while trophy dash winner Dave Wurtz Jr. pulled to Stroebel’s rear bumper for second. Wurtz Jr. took the spot on lap four, but would only enjoy it for one lap before Darvin Ackerland pulled his Ackerland Construction racer to the outside and mounted a challenge.
Wurtz Jr. and Ackerland went to work on each other’s bumpers and fenders for a full seven laps while Rendo built his lead. By the time Ackerland claimed second place he had a dozen circuits to track Nampa, Idaho’s Rendo down. Ackerland lapped the track at a near record clip to close the gap and pull into striking distance with four laps remaining on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard. On the white flag lap Ackerland gave Rendo his best shot in both the high and low line, but the rookie Rendo kept his cool and motored into Arctic Circle Victory Lane.
“Darvin really helped me in the pits setting up this car,” Rendo said. “I think he’s going to regret it now.”
The College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Street Stocks and Claimer Stocks combined to run the first of their two 25 lap main events as the shadows fell long over the front straightaway. In the CWI Street Stocks Shawn Hansen jumped out to the early lead while Casey Hart took the point in the Claimer Stock division.
Hansen was under immediate pressure from quick-time Melissa Weaver who worked her rebuilt Marv’s Tire Service, Dillon Performance Engines racer under the leader on lap three and claimed the top spot. A new leader emerged in the Claimer Stock division two laps later as Tommy Kirkland overpowered Hart’s Hart Construction, CSDI Construction machine to take over first place. Chaos erupted on lap eight when JD Ford and Ben Crow got together off turn four and spun. Tim Shelton locked his brakes and slid gently into the pile before Ray Otis pile drove his Claimer Stock into Shelton’s left rear corner. All drivers were okay after their hard hits, but both Shelton’s Bell’s Automotive, La Sasco car and Otis’ Integrity Pools, Integrity Construction racer were forced to retire from the race early.
Marv Weaver continued his dominance of CWI Street Stock race one while Hart bobbed and weaved in traffic to maintain his hard-fought Claimer Stock lead. With nine to go the Claimer Stock field caught up to Hart as Kirkland and Hale both set to work on the big sideways pickup truck. With four to go Nampa, Idaho’s Kirkland found his way low and around Hart, but so did Hale. Now Hale jabbed high and low in a bid to get around leader Kirland. At the checkers it was Nampa, Idaho racer Marv Weaver who claimed the CWI Street Stock division victory while Kirkland outdueled Hale on the backstretch to take the Claimer Stock hardware.
The College of Western Idaho High School Tuners were next to take a turn at the quarter-mile. On the green Tayvia Morris bolted to the lead in a backup Kim’s Kars, Challenger Transport machine while Eric Arnold and Peter Woog sliced their way through traffic early. Arnold pulled low to the lead on lap two and brought Hunter Gates and Woog with him. Mired in mid-pack traffic were top qualifiers Kendra Occhipinti and Daytona Wurtz. This pair caught a break as a lap six caution bunched the field and erased a nearly half track deficit.
On the restart Gates overpowered fellow Nampa, Idaho racer Arnold to take over the lead while Occhipinti and Wurtz fought for real estate in their battle for sixth. Wurtz was first to lunge her way toward the front as she took fourth on lap ten in her Ada County Sheriff’s Employee Association, Glen’s Towing car. Now the Star, Idaho racer challenged Arnold for third, which she claimed on lap fifteen.
Wurtz was the fastest car on the racetrack with ten laps to go and quickly closed on the Gates-Woog battle for the lead. With seven to go Wurtz hung the low line and took the runner up spot. Not satisfied Wurtz continued on her march to the front. The distance was just two car lengths when a caution slowed the field with just four laps left.
When the four lap shootout began Wurtz steamed to the high side of Woog, but Woog held onto the top spot on lap one. The strain as too much for Woog on lap two and Wurtz put her car into the lead and didn’t waver on her way to Arctic Circle Victory Lane.
The CT400 Winged Sprintcars roared to life for a 25 lap feature. Jasen Skyberg and Mike Anderson dueled their way through lap one before Anderson completed the low line pass to take the top spot in his Bender Electric, Discount Tire machine. That relegated Skyberg to the clutches of Casey Tillman and Chris Ratterree. Tillman and Ratterree nearly tangled in their rush to get around Skyberg’s Big D Builders, SPI Transortation racer, and slowed their sprinters to regroup on lap four.
While the action developed deep in the pack Anderson enjoyed a healthy lead in his sprinter. With his machine’s left front tire lifting nearly a foot clear of the racing surface in the corners Anderson poured on the power and wheeled his way to a half-track lead. Behind the dominant Anderson, Skyberg held onto second place while Ratterree held off a late-race charge from Colton Nelson for fourth.
“I’d like to thank everybody in this class,” Anderson said as he gathered his trophy. “We were having problems last night and this morning…but here we are.”
The CWI Street Stocks and Claimer Stocks pulled back onto the speedway to complete the second leg of the CWI Twin 25 festivities. On the green Tim Shelton in his rebuilt racecar took the top spot on lap one while Melissa Weaver, herself in a car rebuilt after a grinding practice crash, pushed Micky Lawson’s Spulman and Associates, GR Farms car into the CWI Street Stock lead. After a lap two caution reset the field Casey Hart found himself on the outside of Shelton for the Claimer Stock lead and Melissa Weaver was on the outside of Micky Lawson for the CWI Street Stock lead. Shelton made the low line work and took the Claimer Stock lead and Weaver ducked low to challenge Lawson. Weaver took her time and methodically worked around Lawson on lap eight before she set her sights on the overall race leader Shelton.
Behind the leaders Hart and Shawn Hansen waged a ten lap war for a spot on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard. Hansen finally won out as Hart’s pickup proved too wild to handle. On the next lap Hansen came under siege from Marv Weaver, who worked the high side on his heat race rival and claimed third place behind Shelton and daughter Melissa Weaver.
With five laps left Shelton held a two second lead over Melissa Weaver, whose car lost power in a hail of smoke and fire in turn two. The lady racer made her way to the infield grass without incident and allowed the race to continue. As the laps ran out Kuna, Idaho’s Shelton not only held his car together, but outran Marv Weaver and the rest of the field to claim victory.
“It started, it ran, so I drove it,” Shelton said of his banged up machine post race.
The Meridian Speedway season rolls on next Saturday, July 25 with the Jeff Russell Road to Recovery Race featuring the NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Latemodels, Pepsi Sprintcars, Project Filter Pro-4s, Claimer Stocks, Mini Stocks and Tates Rents Hornets. Seats will fill up fast for this full night of short track action. Log onto meridianspeedway.com for advance tickets and text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 for the latest from around the quarter mile. We’ll see you next Saturday under the big yellow water tower at Meridian Speedway.