Woodburn Dragstrip
7730 Hwy. 219
Woodburn, Oregon
503-982-4461

Shawn Cranford ~ 2016 World of Speed Jr Lightning Champion

The World of Speed Jr Racing Series offers kids ages 5-17 the opportunity to experience the thrill of racing half-scale dragsters in a controlled racing environment. In the Jr Lightning class, 13-17 years olds have a maximum dial-in of 7.90 and slower. In 2016, there were 25 young adults competing in the World of Speed Jr Lightning class.

Due to Mother Nature, the Jr program was able to complete 11 out of the 13 scheduled races. The first event was held on April 9th, where Katie Day and Shawn Cranford were in the final round. To get there, Day defeated Dylan Hough, earned a single in round 2, and defeated Jake Meithof. On the other side of the ladder, Cranford defeated Austin Varner, Trevin Walberg, and earned a single in round 3. In the finals, both drivers dialed 7.90. Day had the starting line advantage with a .043 reaction time and ran 7.929, which was enough for her to get the win. Cranford had a .121 reaction time and ran a 7.909.

April 17th brought better weather and a 15-car field for the World of Speed Jr Lightning class. Devin Lewis and Conner Rice earned their way into the finals. To get there, Lewis eliminated Austin Varner, Hunter Jackson, and Elizabeth Varner, while Rice eliminated Trevin Walberg, Shawn Cranford and Jake Meithof. With both racers dialing 7.90, it was Lewis that had a starting line advantage with an almost perfect light of .001, and he was able to capitalize at the finish when Rice broke out by .005. Lewis ran a 7.927 to Rice’s 7.895.

At the next event, April 30th, it was Shawn Cranford and Jake Meithof going to the finals. Cranford beat Alisha Miller, Katie Day and Dylan Hough in semi-finals to reach the final round. Meanwhile, Meithof took down Josh Schmanke, earned a single in round 2, and downed Anthony Friesen in the semi’s. In the final, Jake Meithof turned on the dreaded red light by –.033 instantly ending his chances at defeating Shawn Cranford for the victory.

On May 1st the World of Speed Jr’s ran their 5th race where it was Kyler Pitts and Anthony Friesen in the finals. To get there, Pitts defeated Shawn Cranford, Carson Campbell, and Dylan Hough, while on the other side of the ladder, Friesen defeated Conner Rice, Hunter Jackson and Jake Meithof. In the final, Pitts used a reaction time advantage of .013 to put space between himself and Friesen before running a 7.947 on his 7.90 dial to take the win. Friesen ran a 9.238 on his 9.18 dial.

Unfortunately, due to Mother Nature, the races scheduled for May 14 & 15th were cancelled. On May 28th, it was Josh Schmanke (making his first appearance in a final round of this season) and Conner Rice (in his second final round) in the finals. To get there, Schmanke eliminated Austin Varner, earned a single in round 2, and eliminated Anthony Friesen, while on the other side of the ladder; Rice defeated Katie Day, Jake Meithof and earned a single in round 3. In the final round, it was over before it began with Rice turned on the red light by -.003, resulting in the win for Schmanke.

At the 8th scheduled event, held on June 5th, it was Katie Day and Conner Rice in the final round of eliminations. To get there, Day defeated Hunter Jackson, Austin Varner and earned a single in round 3. Rice eliminated Anthony Friesen, Dylan Hough and Kennedy Krier. In the finals, Rice had the starting line advantage with a .049 reaction time to Day’s .078 reaction time. Rice slowed down and Day drove around him and took the win running a 7.942 on her 7.93 dial, while Rice ran an 8.077 to his 8.03 dial.

The next two events held on Saturday & Sunday, which was Father’s Day (June 18th & June 19th), proved to be a busy weekend for the Jr’s. On Saturday, it was Austin Varner (in his first final of the season) and Josh Schmanke going into the final round. Varner had eliminated Katie Day, Jake Meithof, and earned a single in round 3, while Schmanke defeated Selena Lenihan, Jake Meithof and Conner Rice to reach the finals. The final round was over before it began when Schmanke turned on the dreaded red light by -.057, resulting in a win for Varner. On Sunday, it was Austin Varner (in the final round again) and Dylan Hough (in his first final round appearance of the season). To get there, Varner defeated Conner Rice, Josh Schmanke, and earned a single in round 3, while Hough defeated Shawn Cranford, Jake Meithof and Selena Lenihan. In the finals, Varner had the starting line advantage of .009 to Hough’s .106, and he used it to put space between himself and Hough before running a 7.962 on his 7.91 dial to take the win. Hough ran a 7.931 on his 7.90 dial. After these races, the points were as follows: Jake Meithof with 390 points, Shawn Cranford, Austin Varner and Conner Rice were tied with 380 points, and Katie Day and Dylan Hough were tied with 350 points.

The Jr racers had a busy weekend, with two races on Saturday, July 9th, (the Summit Racing Equipment Jr Dragster Challenge, where the Jr racers have a chance to win a Wally, and the World of Speed Jr Racing Series #11), and a third race on Sunday, the 10th, (the World of Speed Jr Racing Series #12). For the 1st race, and with 14 racers competing for the Jr Wally, it was a final round showdown between Alisha Miller and Conner Rice. To get there, Miller eliminated Taylor Toftemark, Dylan Hough and Trevin Walberg, while Rice eliminated Kyler Pitts, earned a single in round 2, and Treyton Bann. In the finals, it was over before it began when Miller and Rice both fouled at identical reaction times of -.028, resulting in Miller taking the win and the Wally, after running an 8.012 on an 8.08 dial over Rice’s 8.182 on an 8.25 dial. The 2nd race of the day showcased Shawn Cranford and Jake Meithof in the final round. To get to the finals, Cranford defeated Conner Rice, Katie Day, and Kyler Pitts, while on the other side of the ladder, Meithof defeated Taylor Toftemark, Treyton Bann, and Trevin Walberg. In the finals both racers dialed in at 7.90 and Cranford used a reaction time advantage of .022 to put space between himself and Meithof and take the win. Cranford ran a 7.989 to Meithof’s 7.914. On Sunday, it was Alisha Miller and Conner Rice in the finals. Miller defeated Anthony Friesen, Kyler Pitts and Dylan Hough to meet Rice in the finals. Rice defeated Katie Day, Austin Varner, and earned a single in round 3. In the finals, the win went to Miller when Rice broke out. Miller ran 8.124 on her 8.08 dial, while Rice ran 7.966 on his 7.98 dial.

The last event held on August 20th, in an 11-car field, Austin Varner and Shawn Cranford went to the finals. To get there, Varner eliminated Cooper Chun, Selena Lenihan and Dylan Hough while Cranford eliminated Hunter Jackson, Jake Meithof and earned a single in round 3. It was a close race but it was Varner who took the win over Cranford with a starting line advantage of .027 over Cranford’s .124 reaction time. At the finish, Varner ran 8.030 on his 8.00 dial to Cranford’s 7.938 on his 7.90 dial.

With 500 Points, 2 Event Wins and 2 Runner-Up finishes, the 2016 World of Speed Jr Lightning Champion and voted the Most Improved Driver of the Year… Shawn Cranford!!

Top 6 Points Finishers (Driver Name, Hometown and Total Points)

1. Shawn Cranford. Woodburn, OR, 500 Points
2. Austin Varner, Astoria, OR, 470 Points
3. Jake Meithof, Lafayette, OR, 460 Points
4. Conner Rice, Milwaukie, OR, 440 Points
5. Dylan Hough, Junction City, OR, 430 Points
6. Katie Day, Estacada, OR, 430 Points

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