by Jon Brown, MERIDIAN, Idaho – Sometimes in life, you have to do things you dislike to achieve success.
Melissa Weaver found that out Saturday night at ASA-sanctioned Meridian Speedway.
The former track champion won the majority of segments in the College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Street Stock 10×10, including the final 20-lapper to take home a feature win after 100 laps.
“We were in the car all night,” the Nampa, Idaho driver said. “Didn’t like it.”
She apparently came prepared, though. Track announcer Brent Arte observed during the post-race interview that Weaver had a pillow and towel in her Chevrolet Camaro.
Weaver won six of the nine segments and finished second in another. Her father, Marv Weaver, won one of the other segments.
Melissa Weaver finished out of the hunt in only one segment after she had to take evasive action to avoid a crash.
In the other main events:
Caldwell, Idaho’s Ryan Newman won the 10th annual LeeRoy Nelson Memorial by taking the checkering flag in a 30-lap Pepsi Sprintcars feature.
Jonathan Hull of Boise, Idaho won his second consecutive feature in the TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks, holding off Caldwell, Idaho’s Jason Sanders over a fierce final half of the race.
Rob Powers of Meridian, Idaho backed up earlier success by winning the 25-lap Coors Super Stocks feature.
Boise’s Randy Keckley took advantage of a Payette, Idaho driver Josh Jackson’s bad luck with two laps left and grabbed the checkered flag in the Budweiser B Modifieds. The B Modifieds shared the track with the Super Stocks.
In the Super Stocks feature, Powers survived some contact with series points leader Justin Ellis of Boise after the race’s first yellow flag and then held off his chief rival.
The Thunder Dogs feature was particularly dicey.
Sledgehammer (David Jolley of Nampa) lived up to its name when he spun race leader Big Tuna (Stan Irons, Boise) with six laps and cruised to the victory. The Dogs’ main event also saw Over Kill (Mike Bako of Boise) flip on the backstretch while being spun, and the front end of Bulldacious (James DeMello, Boise) was destroyed by a head-on hit with the frontstretch wall while turning around Money Pit (Kennon Irons, Boise).
Sanders, who had his season-opening three-race win streak snapped by Hull the last time out, went bumper-to-bumper with his rival over the final 13 laps.Hull and Sanders, the only two men to win Mini Stocks feature this year, put on a fantastic show for the crowd.
Hull and Sanders began their duel after Keri Ballard spun in traffic in Turn 4 to bring out the only caution flag of the 30-lap race.
The pair seemed connected as they made their way around lapped traffic and out to a three-car-length lead.
“I felt him every single lap,” Hull said. “Coming around the corner, he’d hit me every time.
“That’s the way I like it.”
Powers’ victory in the Super Stocks ended a long drought against Ellis.
“We threw a whole different setup at it because it had been going away on us after 10 or 15 laps and Justin would beat us,” Powers said. “We made an adjustment that I’m not going to tell you about, and it worked.”
Keckley rebounded from an early incident with Meridian’s Gene Stroebel and was in great position when Jackson fell off the pace while leading the B Modified drivers with a lap left.
After the race, Keckley apologized for the early mishap with Stroebel, taking full responsibility for causing both drivers spin out coming out of Turn 4 with 15 laps remaining.
In the Pepsi Sprintcars feature, Newman wrapped up the distinction of being the 10th different man to win the LeeRoy Nelson Memorial by jumping to lead on a restart with 13 laps left.
Newman, who shares the same name of a successful NASCAR driver, is the 10th different man to get his name on the perpetual trophy. Jeff Russell won the 2008 race, which was the last time that Pepsi Sprintcars raced for the trophy.
Newman began the race in the top five.
Newman was putting pressure on early race leader Cody Huddleston of Meridian – and the pair was running a half-lap clear of the field – when Nampa’s Rob Grice made contact with Adrian, Ore. 13-year-old Tristen Spiers to bring out a yellow flag with 13 laps left. Grice and Spiers w
ere battling for third place at the time.
Newman had to win the lead again with another side-by-side restart with six laps remaining.
Spiers spun in Turn 4 to bring out the caution flag as points leader Tony Ackerland of Star, Idaho was trying to make a move on Huddleston in a duel for second place.
Newman pushed his racecar out to the front again with four laps left after another teenager – 15-year-old Justin Segura of Nampa – took a spin in Turn 4.
In the seventh of nine segments in the CWI PTD Street Stocks 10×10, Weaver drove past and away from the field.
After overtaking Meridian’s Ray Bolinger for the lead with six laps to go, Weaver rolled out to a three-second lead. It was her third segment victory of the night.
The former track champion went from the back to the front twice in two of the first three segment races in the College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Street Stocks 10×10.
As the top qualifier, she began the first 10-lap segment in the back of the 10-car field. She eventually settled into second place as her father, Marv, won the first segment. Father and daughter rolled past Street Stocks rookie Ray Bolinger of Meridian, Idaho with three laps remaining.
The pass on the low side of the track came soon after a single-file restart. Rookie Mike Kemp from Meridian caused the yellow flag when he spun in Turn 4.
The drivers began the second 10-lap segment in the same order they finished the opener. Melissa Weaver shot past her father and led the field by half a straightaway by the end of the race.
The third segment had a full invert and went off immediately after Segment No. 2. The invert didn’t faze Weaver in the least.
She had cut the field in half within two laps, popping into the top five and then waited patiently as Boise, Idaho’s Shawn Hansen and Scott Shoecraft battled side-by-side for the lead.
Weaver found her chance when Shoecraft slid off the track and onto the dirt with three laps to go.
In the fourth segment, Weaver started on the pole and never looked back.
The fifth segment, however, brought bad luck.
Weaver started at the back of the field, but never got the chance to charge through her opponents.
Rookie driver Rick Moran from Meridian had mechanical problems that threw him into the frontstretch wall and then into the wall again in the apex of Turns 1 and 2. The second time he crashed, three laps into the race, both Weavers and Baldwin had to brake hard to avoid a crash.
Melissa Weaver wound up on the apron on the backstretch, and the field passed her by. She was never able to recover as Tommy Kirkland took the checkered flag.
The sixth segment featured a full invert, and Weaver was able to work her way into the top two, but she couldn’t get around rival Jeffrey Meads. Another Nampa driver, Meads held on to the top spot even though Weaver was all over the rear bumper of his Mopar in the final two laps.
The Mini Stocks drivers have a quick turnaround as they’ve back in action on Wednesday for Cricket Dairy Days Races and Carnival. The Mtn. Dew Winged Sprints return to the paved quarter-mile oval for the first time since the Diamond Cup, while the Domino’s Pizza Legends also take the track. The $2,500 bounty still stands for the first driver to break into the 10-second range on a qualifying run.
Wednesday is also the first installment of the 2013 Hornet 100 Series, with drivers taking the four-cylinder entry class racecars through their paces for 100 laps around the bullring.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $7.50 for military personnel with ID and senior citizens, and $6 for children ages 7-11. Children 6 and younger get in free, as always. A family pass for two adults and up to four children 7-11 is $30.
Gates open at 4 p.m. with racing at 6:30 p.m.
The Dairy Days show is the only chance to see racing at the Meridian track next week as the speedway is dark the Saturday of Meridian Dairy Days.
Visit www.meridianspeedway.com or “like” Meridian Speedway on Facebook to get the latest information.
The racetrack can be reached by phone at (208) 888-2813.
College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving
Street Stocks 10×10
Saturday’s unofficial results
LeeRoy Nelson Memorial 30 for Pepsi Sprintcars – 1. Ryan Newman, Caldwell, Idaho; 2. Rob Grice, Nampa, Idaho; 3. Cody Huddleston, Meridian, Idaho; 4. Colton Nelson, Meridian; 5. Tristen Spiers, Adrian, Ore.
Budweiser B Modifieds (25 laps) – 1. Randy Keckley, Boise, Idaho; 2. Josh Jackson, Payette, Idaho; 3. Jay Cook, Nampa; 4. Sharlet Wilson, Mountain Home, Idaho; 5. Gene Stroebel, Meridian
Coors Super Stocks (25 laps) – 1. Rob Powers, Meridian; 2. Justin Ellis, Boise; 3. Gale Carter, Boise
College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Street Stocks 10×10 Segments 9-10 (20 laps) – 1. Melissa Weaver, Nampa; 2. Rick Baldwin, Middleton, Idaho; 3. Jeffrey Meads, Nampa; 4. Ray Bolinger, Meridian; 5. Shawn Hansen, Boise
CWI PTD Street Stocks 10×10 Segment 8 – 1. Melissa Weaver; 2. Meads; 3. Baldwin; 4. Marv Weaver; 5. Hansen
CWI PTD Street Stocks 10×10 Segment 7 – 1. Melissa Weaver; 2. Meads; 3. Hansen; 4. Ray Bolinger, Meridian; 5. Baldwin
CWI PTD Street Stocks 10×10 Segment 6 – 1. Meads; 2. Melissa Weaver; 3. Baldwin; 4. Hansen; 5. Marv Weaver, Nampa
CWI PTD Street Stocks 10×10 Segment 5 – 1. Tommy Kirkland, Nampa; 2. Meads; 3. Baldwin; 4. Ray Bolinger, Meridian, Idaho; 5. Hansen
CWI PTD Street Stocks 10×10 Segment 4 – 1. Melissa Weaver; 2. Baldwin; 3. Hansen; 4. Marv Weaver, Nampa; 5. Meads
CWI PTD Street Stocks 10×10 Segment 3 – 1. Melissa Weaver; 2. Shawn Hansen; 3. Marv Weaver; 4. Baldwin; 5. Meads
CWI PTD Street Stocks 10×10 Segment 2 – 1. Melissa Weaver; 2. Marv Weaver; 3. Baldwin; 4. Hansen; 5. Meads
CWI PTD Driving Street Stocks 10×10 Segment 1 – 1. Marv Weaver; 2. Melissa Weaver; 3. Baldwin; 4. Ray Bolinger, Meridian, Idaho; 5. Hansen
TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks (30 laps) – 1. Jonathan Hull, Boise; 2. Jason Sanders, Caldwell; 3. Duane Gerber, Boise; 4. Scott Gilligan, Filer, Idaho; 5. Brendon Fries, Boise
Thunder Dogs winner (30 laps) – Sledgehammer (David Jolley, Nampa)
(Eight laps each)
TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks
Fast Dash – 1. Jonathan Hull; 2. Duane Gerber; 3. Sanders; 4. Keri Ballard, Boise; 5. Fries
B Heat – 1. Richard Brees, Meridian; 2. Brandon Shira, Boise; 3. Nathan Dearing, Boise; 4. Alex Duda, Boise; 5. Quentin Ward, Meridian
C Heat – 1. Denny Gerber, Boise; 2. Robbie Hyde, Twin Falls, Idaho; 3. Scott Gilligan, Filer, Idaho; 4. Amber Rogers, Meridian; 5. Jayson Wardle, Kuna, Idaho
Fast Dash – 1. Colton Nelson, Meridian; 2. Tony Ackerland, Star, Idaho; 3. Don Allen, Meridian; 4. Jimmy Gross, Fruitland, Idaho; 5. Ryan Newman, Caldwell, Idaho
B Heat – 1. Cody Huddleston, Meridian; 2. Tyler Barrow, Boise; 3. Michael Anderson, Nampa; 4. Larry Hull III, Boise; 5. Tristen Spiers, Adrian, Ore.
Coors Super Stocks
Fast Dash – 1. Powers; 2. Ellis; 3. Carter; 4. Boven
Budweiser B Modifieds
Fast Dash – 1. Randy Keckley, Boise; 2. Josh Jackson, Payette, Idaho; 3. Jay Cook, Nampa; 4. Gene Stroebel, Meridian; 5. Sharlet Wilson, Mountain Home, Idaho
Fast Dash winner – Sledgehammer (David Jolley, Nampa)
B Heat winner – Hot Pursuit (James Cloud, Meridian)
CWI PTD Street Stocks – Melissa Weaver, 14.902 seconds
Pepsi Sprintcars –Ackerland, 13.691
TEAM Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks – Jason Sanders, 15.525
Coors Super Stocks – Powers, 14.247
Budweiser B Modifieds – Keckley, 14.234