DIAMOND CUP WEEKEND CONCLUDES WITH FAST, HARD-FOUGHT RACES
As the winds picked up so did the intensity as Meridian Speedway hosted the final night of the BobFM Diamond Cup presented by Star Diamonds. With the American Flag flapping over the back straightaway the NSRA and Western Winged Sprintcars joined the regulars from the Mountain Dew Winged Sprintcars to battle for the prized Star diamonds ring. Also joining the fight were the American Speed Association Pro Trucks, Coors Super Stocks and a special event for Tates Rents Hornets rookies only.
The Coors Super Stocks slugged their way through twenty quick laps with Rob Powers and Lynn Sharp trading slides as they battled for the top spot. With Sharp hot on his back bumper Powers would use his superior launch out of the corners to emerge from battle victorious.
The ASA Pro Trucks brought their eleven most rugged racers to bear on the Concrete Jungle looking to bang their way through a fifty lap main event. Paint was traded early as point leader Johnny Pierre ducked below Kendel Woll for early track position. The bold move would pay off as Pierre found himself fifth on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard after just six laps. Up front Daniel Shirley forfeited an early lead to Alan Larson. Scott Luttmer would find himself second and Pierre had clawed his way to third with 25 laps in the books. Then Pierre made his move. First Pierre worked Luttmer’s rear bumper to open a hole on the inside. Pierre’s next victim would be Larson, whose full second lead was erased when John Wong’s battle with Shirley went sour and Wong found himself in the front stretch concrete. On the restart Pierre broke loose and fell to third as Luttmer scooted low. Now Luttmer mounted a challenge on Larson. Larson blunted all of Luttmer’s advances and pulled to a comfortable lead with five laps to go. Larson would parlay the lead into a victory.
“It was good racing,” said Luttmer after his second place run. “Really hard racing tonight.”
Thirteen purpose-built race engines shook the entire quarter-mile as the green flag fell on the final leg of the Diamond Cup. Bryan Warf immediately rode the high line to an early lead. Friday night winner Sierra Jackson began her march forward early as she dispensed Richie Larson for sixth on lap one. Ten laps in Jackson went to work on Mansell for fifth, grabbing the spot with a daring pass on the apron.
Meanwhile Johnny Giesler had settled into third. Fifteen laps in Giesler made contact with second place Alberding, but the real action was behind them as Richard Miranda’s sprinter careened into the turn three wall. After the initial contact Miranda’s car jumped into the catch fence. The violence of the impact tore the right rear wheel from the car and pitched it into the North end grandstand. No fans were seriously injured in the melee, but Miranda’s car was in shambles.
“He took a shot,” said long-time North end fan and Budweiser Modified competitor Rick Baldwin. “It happened quick.”
Once the catch fence was repaired action thundered back to life with Warf, Alberding and Giesler the top three. Jackson quietly sat fourth and sprang to third on the high side within one lap of the restart. Giesler, feeling the Diamond Cup slipping from his grasp pedaled his car in a desperate attempt to catch his Telmate-sponsored teammate.
At the halfway point Jackson’s car started to succumb to a loose condition and fade, but Giesler was unable to capitalize on the opportunity after overdriving his car to stay in contact with Jackson.
With ten laps to go Warf held a solid lead over Alberding, Jackson, and Giesler. Jackson would burn around Alberding on the high side for second, and though Giesler followed her through to third, it wouldn’t be enough. With her strong second place run Jackson cemented her first solo Diamond Cup victory.
“When we get this car on it’s hard to beat,” said race winner Warf.
Jackson was less reserved in Arctic Circle victory lane.
“It feels great,” said Jackson. “I’m super ecstatic…it means a lot.”
Completing the night were the Tates Rents Hornets, who found themselves sliding on the super-soft sprintcar rubber. Kodi Newberry was quick to master the slide as he piloted his red and black car to third behind Mitch Parker and leader Jim Longden. On a restart with eight laps to go David Salisbury decided it was time to go and jumped around both Ben Harris and Sean Young. After Young spun late there were three laps to settle the rookie battle. Parker mounted a furious charge to the front, but it wouldn’t be enough to catch Longden, who collected the hardware.
Next weekend Meridian Speedway will take a break from two-night racing action and instead focus the weekend on the Police, Fire, Emergency Medical Services and Correctional Officers races on Saturday. Featured classes will include the Meridian Speedway Modifieds and the Budweiser Modifieds, Pepsi Sprintcars, Team Mazda Subaru Mini Stocks, Tates Rents Hornets, and the second appearance of the spin-happy Thunderdogs. As always Saturday gates will open at 4 p.m. with races going green at 6:30 p.m.
This week's racing action was a Contingency Connection event. To learn more about The Contingency Connection see Meridian Speedway officials.
ASA Pro Trucks (50 laps)-1.Alan Larson 2.Scott Luttmer 3.Johnny Pierre 4.Dan Doan 5.Tanner Wong
ASA Pro Trucks
A Heat-1.Dan Doan 2.Johnny Pierre 3.John Wong 4.Kendel Woll 5. Ron Lawser
B Heat-1. Daniel Shirley 2. Alan Larson 3. Drew Reitsma 4. Scott Luttmer 5. Jay McDonald
Trophy Dash Winners
ASA Pro Trucks-Ron Lawser
ASA Pro Trucks-Scott Luttmer, 14.755 seconds
Diamond Cup Full of Thrills
MERIDIAN, Idaho—The Meridian Speedway grandstands were near capacity Friday night as the quarter-mile oval hosted night one of the twenty-fifth Diamond Cup as fans took full advantage of the Stinker Stores Family Pass promotion. Those on hand got to see thrilling finishes and hard-fought racing from a variety of divisions.
The thrills began in the trophy dashes as Roy Kirkland and Destiny Huber battled door handle to door handle for four high-speed pace laps. At the line Kirkland edged Huber by just 26 one-thousandths of a second. Not to be outdone the Tates Rents Hornets put one two great heat races. The first saw ‘Dirty’ Al Russell make a bonzai run at Fred Nagele in the final turn. The two traded yellow and black paint across the line as the win went to Russell. The next heat race saw Mike Vester lunge ahead of Michael Capps for an eighteen one-thousandths of a second victory.
Not all of the night’s thrills came at the start/finish line. In the NSRA Western Winged Sprintcar B heat race Dave Parrie’s car lost power in turn two. In the jam-up that ensued third-quick qualifier Ron Larson couldn’t avoid Parrie and hopped over the stricken car’s right rear tire. Larson’s car would clip the back stretch concrete and roll down the back straightaway before coming to a rest wing-side down. Both drivers emerged unscathed.
“I had nowhere to go except in the oil,” Larson said as his crew and others descended on his pit to assist with repairs.
With the raucous dashes and heat races in the books main event action kicked off with a bang as the Tates Rents Hornets mobbed the quarter-mile. Bill Allen sprang to the lead on the first of twenty-five laps. Quick time Cody Brinzendine was mired in traffic, and season winners Thomas Harrod and Charlie Atkinson took the opportunity to work their way forward. As the field battled Lynn Sharpe's right front wheel couldn't handle the strain and separated from his yellow racer. Cone strategy would play an important role as it brought Harrod, Brinzendine, and Atkinson to the speedy high groove. On the green Harrod wasted no time carving his way to the point. Brizendine would fall off the pace with a dozen circuits left bringing out another caution. With a rowdy field now bunched again the stage was set for more tense, three-wide racing. The field wouldn't disappoint as Mike Vester, Al Russell and Kodi Newberry all took turns at door-to-door-to-door battling. Something had to give and it was Newberry who found himself facing the wrong direction with five to go. In the ensuing restart shootout Atkinson snuck away on the low side as Harrod and Rick Howe played bumper tag for second. In the end Howe's charge would come up short as he finish third behind Atkinson and Harrod.
Seven College of Western Idaho Professional Truck Driving Program Street Stocks locked in for a twenty five lap romp. On the break Destiny Huber and Shaun Bush picked up right where they left off in the heat race with two high speed pace laps wheel to wheel. Eventually Huber would gain the lead, only to have Marv Weaver work the high lane to grasp the top spot after five laps. The battle became for second as Melissa Weaver and Roy Kirkland traded some paint. Eventually Melissa Weaver would take second and then first with ten circuits to go. Kirkland worked around the elder Weaver for second, but couldn't track down the streaking black and pink 92 car as Melissa Weaver claimed her fourth win in four tries in the young 2014 season.
The American Speed Association Pro Trucks took the adage 'rubbin's racin' to heart in their forty lap main event. Plenty of fenders already showed strange paint from two hard-fought heat races. The banging started up front as Daniel Shirley and Sam Harris pounded on each other's doors, fenders, and bumpers until Shirley gained a comfortable margin after four laps. 2013 ASA Pro Truck champion Johnny Pierre worked his way to fifth in ten laps, but it was John Wong on the move early as he leapt from the back of the twelve truck field to fourth at the halfway mark. Also making a move was Drew Reitsma as his truck pushed to the lead. Wong's run was spoiled by Harris, who got crossed up in turn four and shuffled both to the back of the field. Reitsma ran off with the top spot while competitors Dan Doan and Mason Newhouse bashed the front stretch concrete battling for position. As Reitsma watched in his mirror Shirley fought off a savage contest from Pierre for second.
"We'll definitely be back tomorrow," said Reitsma after the victory. "For another one...I love this class."
Finally the main attraction roared onto the asphalt for the first leg of the annual Diamond Cup. Though Friday's action was only to accrue points for the overall Diamond Cup championship the action was as tight as it was fast. Out of the blocks it was polesitter Richie Larson to the point. Locals Bryan Warf and Johnny Giesler tangled deep in the pack, but both continued to march through the field undamaged. Third place Sierra Jackson used the tenth lap to work over Rick Brown for second, but instead found the tire smoking Brown able to thwart her advances. Only Colton Nelson's stalled car could cool the action. The green reappeared with 27 laps remaining. Gremlins also struck leader Larson, whose cut right rear tire forced him to the pits and the tail end of the field.
Back at race speed Brown's hot rod pulled to the lead with teammates Jackson and Giesler giving chase. With right rear smoking in protest Brown gave up the low line with seventeen laps to go. Gielser would follow Jackson to second two laps later and turn his attention to tracking down her tail tank. The next lap Brown's car issued a ball of flame as he pulled into the pit area. The ensuing caution brought the teammates side-by-side. Victoria, British Columbia's Matt Mansell restarted third and all-time track record holder Andy Alberding rounded out the first two rows. Giesler would try both high and low lanes, but didn't have enough to pass Jackson, whose sprinter thundered away from the field to claim night number one of the Diamond Cup. Further back Alberding dispensed of Mansell for third and weekly Mountain Dew Winged Sprintcar driver Warf took fifth.
"The car was really good tonight," said Jackson in Arctic Circle Victory Lane. "I'm hoping for a winner's circle tomorrow, too. With a ring."
And these winged warriors will do it all again Saturday night to determine the overall winner of the Meridian Speedway Diamond Cup presented by Stinker Stores and Star Diamond. The ASA Pro Trucks will round out their two-day show on Saturday as well, along with the Coors Super Stocks, the Tates Rents rookie Hornets, and the Tile Outlet Bike Races 4 Kids. Grandstand gates will open at 4 p.m. with racing set for 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $18.25 at the gate. Check out Meridian Speedway online at meridianspeedway.com for advanced tickets.
As always Contingency Connection is a part of this week's event, offering nearly $2000 in awards each week in awards each week from NATIONAL manufacturers. For more information about Contingency Connection see track officials.
Friday’s unofficial results
Stinker Stores Family Pass Diamond Cup Night
May 30, 2014
ASA Pro Trucks (40 laps)-1. Drew Reitsma 2. Daniel Shirley 3. Johnny Pierre 4. Alan Larson 5. Kendel Woll
ASA Pro Trucks
A Heat-1. Dan Doan 2. Sam Harris 3. John Wong 4. Scott Luttmer 5. Mason Newhouse
B Heat-1. Kendell Woll 2. Drew Reitsma 3. Johnny Pierre 4. Tanner Wong 5. Alan Larson
Trophy Dash Winners
ASA Pro Trucks- Dan Doan
ASA Pro Trucks-Johnny Pierre, 14.809 seconds
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