by Jon Brown, MERIDIAN, Idaho – When the Stockcar Opener sets off the 2013 season at ASA-sanctioned Meridian Speedway on Saturday, Chris Fenton hopes there’s a new configuration to the historic paved oval.
“If we could get rid of Turn 1 at Meridian Speedway, I wouldn’t mind,” the NAPA Late Models driver said, only half-joking.
The 41-year-old Meridian, Idaho resident plans to make a run at the local championship and also has built a racecar from the ground up for the Carbon X Rocky Mountain Challenge Series.
But a lot is riding on that first lap Saturday night when Meridian kicks off the season with races in its stockcar divisions – NAPA Late Models, Coors Super Stocks, Project Filter Pro-4s, College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Street Stocks, the TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks and the Jr. Stingers.
The season opener also means the first Westby’s Bike Races 4 Kids of the year.
The gates open at 4 p.m. with qualifying at 5 p.m. and racing at 6:30 p.m.
Race tickets are $10 for adults, $7.50 for military personnel with ID and senior citizens 62 and older and $6 for children ages 7-11. Children 6 and younger get in free. A family ticket good for two adults and up to four children ages 7-11 is $30.
Buy tickets or get information on how to register a child for the bike races at www.meridianspeedway.com.
Fenton and Turn 1 at Meridian Speedway haven’t gotten along in recent years. He’s destroyed a couple of racecars – and probably one title chase – with wrecks into the unforgiving wall at the end of the front stretch on the quarter-mile track in downtown Meridian.
“If we could have a three-corner track, I’d love it,” Fenton said with a laugh. “Hopefully we’ve got that monkey off our back.”
Fenton, who finished fourth in the 2012 Meridian title chase won by Nampa, Idaho’s Dylan Caldwell, has his mind set on championship runs at his home track and in the RMCS, where he’s also gunning for a rookie of the year crown in his first full season on the tour.
He plans to ease his way into the season, though.
“For the first race, for me personally, it’s about shaking off the rustiness,” he said. “It’s about not being too impatient and trying to put the car into places it won’t fit.”
Fenton is married (his wife is Jen) and has two children — 8-year-old daughter Torr and 20-year-old son Tanner.
2012 championship recap
ASA Modifieds – Shelby Stroebel, Meridian, Idaho
Mtn. Dew Winged Sprints – Mike Murgoitio, Meridian, Idaho
Pepsi Sprintcars champion – Casey Tillman, Kuna, Idaho
NAPA Late Models champion – Dylan Caldwell, Nampa, Idaho
Project Filter Pro-4s champion – Jim Bailey, Middleton, Idaho
Coors Super Stocks – Dennis Brodigan, Nampa, Idaho
College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Street Stocks champion – Chad Bess, Nampa, Idaho
Domino’s Pizza Legends champion – Phyl Zubizareta, Garden City, Idaho
TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks champion – Larry Hull III, Boise, Idaho
Budweiser B Modifieds champion – Jay Cook, Nampa, Idaho
Tates Hornets champion – Colton Nelson, Meridian, Idaho
Hornet 100 Series champion – Nelson
Thunder Dogs champion – Sledgehammer (David Jolley, Nampa, Idaho)
Jr. Stingers champion – Riley Rogers, Meridian, Idaho