THIS WEEKEND, Race Fans Can Get A Free Sneak Peek At Some Of The Machines That Will Speed Around ASA sanctioned Meridian Speedway this year.

Who knows? Maybe some of the winged sprintcars scheduled to compete in the new Canadian-American Western Winged Sprintcar series will pound the pavement Saturday or Sunday for the annual Test and Tune.

The Test and Tune is free to spectators, while racers will pay $25 to run their cars through safety and technical inspections. The event starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, with the track opening for hot laps at 11 a.m. On Sunday, the inspections begin at 11 a.m., with track time beginning at noon.

There also will be a Thursday night practice this week and nearly every week during the season. Drivers pay to work some bugs out, and spectators get in free to the cold pits.

The season opener comes Saturday, April 21 with a 50-lap ASA Modifieds feature and racing in the new Pit Stop Super Stocks division. The SPI Super Sixes (also known as the Idaho Sprint and Roadster League) will make their first series stop of the season, and local racing takes place in the College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Street Stocks and the Pit Stop Mini Stocks.

Work is nearly complete on upgrades planned for the south end of the racetrack, including new catch fence and crash wall improvements in Turn 1 and updated rest rooms, sidewalks and ticket booth near the south entrance gate.

Just as Phase 4 of the track’s capital improvement plan keeps humming, the racing continues to improve every year at the track.

But ticket prices still haven’t changed. Admission on opening night is $10 for adults, $7.50 for senior citizens and military personnel with ID, $6 for children ages 7-11. Kids 6 years old and younger, as always, are admitted free.

Advance tickets are available online at www.meridianspeedway.com for special events such as the NAPA Auto Parts Treasure Valley 100 for the Rocky Mountain Challenge Series late models on May 19, the RMCS return for the Project Filter 75 on July 28 and Eve of Destruction IV on Aug. 4.

While historic Meridian Speedway always has been the place to be to see some of the fastest cars around, the 2012 season is unique with the arrival of the Western Winged Sprints series attracting open-wheel drivers from Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Utah and western Canada.

Home-track drivers such as reigning ASA Northwest Sprintcar Racing Association champion Sierra Jackson of Middleton and Mike Murgoitio (2011 Meridian Mtn. Dew Winged Sprints champion), NSRA standing Johnny Giesler and Bryan Warf of Meridian, former Meridian track champion Chris Ratterree and Emmett’s Cody Veenstra.

Top Canadian drivers who could run the Western Winged Sprints series include Ron Larson, Matt Mansell, Darren Yates, Scotty Almond and Jeff Montgomery.

Standout drivers such as Meridian track record-holder Andy Alberding and Matt Hein of Roseburg, Ore., could visit for some of the Western Winged Sprints series races at Meridian, including the Bob and Tom Naylor Memorial and BOB 96.1 FM Diamond Cup XXIV, which will be part of Northwest Asphalt Speedweek. The Speedweek begins with Memorial Day weekend Western Winged Sprints races at Magic Valley Speedway in Twin Falls and Rocky Mountain Raceways outside Salt Lake City.

Some of the top drivers from Utah also will be joining the series as Rocky Mountain Raceways adopts a winged sprint rules package and moves away from the non-winged sprints.

The touring wingers and the house winged sprints drivers will be chasing the 10-second speed bounty again this year. The prize has grown to $4,500 for the first driver to break into the 10-second range during a qualifying lap.

Meridian fans still will be able to see the Pepsi Sprintcars this season along with local winged sprints, Street Stocks, ASA Modifieds and, new this year, B Modifieds and Super Stocks. The NAPA Late Models, Project Filter Pro-4s, Mini Stocks, Domino’s Pizza Legends, Tates Hornets, Jr. Stingers and Thunder Dogs also are back for another year of action.

News, driver profiles, schedule updates and much more can be found on www.meridianspeedway.com. For more information, call 888-2813.

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