Urgency on Display Saturday at CWI Community Night


Urgency on Display Saturday at CWI Community Night

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Kendra Occhipinti leads a strong contingent of College of Western Idaho High School Tuners into their second to last event of the season Saturday.

Saturday, August 16, the College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Program Street Stocks take their talents to Meridian Speedway for the College of Western Idaho Community Night.  Also chasing Saturday’s Xtreme Photo main event trophies are the Pepsi Sprintcars, Domino’s Pizza Legends, Budweiser Modifieds and Coors Super Stocks, the College of Western Idaho Transportation Program High School Tuners, and Junior Stingers.

Consistency has always been a key to championships in the tight confines of Meridian Speedway, and this year Melissa Weaver has embodied the term.  Weaver’s average finish over the eight races of the 2014 campaign is 1.125.  The only thing standing between a perfect season for Weaver is her father, Marv, who grabbed a win after his daughter had bagged five straight main event trophies.  But challengers from outside of the Weaver racing stable have emerged throughout the season as well, notably Shaun Bush, driver of the orange 86 car, and Roy Kirkland in his black and gold number 24.  With just three races remaining for the CWI Street Stock division this year it’s time for challengers like Bush, Kirkland, and Patrick Tully to make a statement going into next year.

Ryan Newman has taken a different, but equally dominating, track to the top of the Pepsi Sprintcar standings.  Newman’s season began with a string of solid finishes, but recently the silver and black 14R sprinter has hit its stride.  After outdueling Tony Ackerland for a main event victory in the division’s last appearance on the quarter-mile Newman holds a commanding 142 point margin over second place Colton Nelson.  Just three events separate Newman from the championship, and a strong run Saturday would go a long way toward securing the title.

The Domino’s Pizza Legends division has been a two horse race of late between Zach Blume and Camron Madsen.  Last weekend’s battle went to Madsen, who finally claimed a main event victory in his gray and white number 25.  This win cut into Blume’s lead, which had been just a scant 26 markers, leaving a now razor-thin margin between the two.  But racing in such a large class presents its pitfalls, and in a championship battle this tight there’s simply no room for a mulligan at this late stage of the season.

The Budweiser Modifieds and Coors Street Stocks have combined to produce a number of great races this season, and another barn burner is on the way Saturday.  After another big win last week Darvin Ackerland has assumed the Budweiser Modified point lead, no small feat when Ackerland was absent from the first two events.  While it has been a come-from-behind story for Ackerland, Rob Powers of the Coors Super Stock division has held the point lead all season, despite strong runs by first-year Super Stock competitor Lynn Sharp.  Will Powers continue his winning ways Saturday, or will Sharp use the first of four remaining opportunities to overpower the point leader and claim a main event trophy?

Joining their more seasoned peers on the quarter-mile Satruday are the CWI High School Tuner and Junior Stinger divisions.  Designed to groom the next generation of speedway stars these two classes have generated some of the best paint-swapping, lead changing action of the season.  Along with the close on-track antics the championship standings in these two division have been every bit as tight.  In the High School Tuner ranks Kendra Occhipinti in her black and pink 99 holds the top spot, a dozen points ahead of Peter Woog’s number 23, and nineteen markers ahead of Jordan Harris’ black number 22.  If this three-car tussle for first isn’t close enough for you, the Junior Stinger standings will you’re your attention.  Here Daytona Wurtz in her red number 13 holds a two point advantage over Taylor Occhipinti’s black 96 car.  These two competitors have combined to claim every main event win this season, and with the competition running so consistently close the onus falls on qualifying, as a better qualifying time means more available passing points during main events.  With just two races remaining for the Junior Stingers the time to take control of the title chase is now.

Every moment of Saturday’s action is crucial, don’t miss one of them.  Meridian Speedway’s gates open at 4 p.m. with qualifying just after 5 p.m. and racing at 6:30 p.m.  General admission for adults is $10.25, $6.25 for kids seven to eleven-years-old, and as always kids six and under get in free.  Text ‘meridianspeed’ to 84483 for special information and visit meridianspeedway.com for advance tickets and additional information.