Cristiani Dominates Royal Purple Modified Diamond Cup Double
Over twenty of the fastest short-track racers in the Northwest converged on Meridian Speedway Friday, June 8, for the first night of the BOB FM Diamond Cup presented by Star Diamonds. Co-headlining BOB FM Diamond Cup weekend, the Larry H. Miller Ram Trucks Royal Purple Modified Series ran double dashes Friday and Saturday nights as the regional touring series works its way into the summer stretch.
The Larry H. Miller Ram Trucks Royal Purple Modifieds brought a dozen machines to their Friday night green. Outside pole sitter Scott Gilligan got to the gas first and overpowered CJ Stirm to lead the first of 75 circuits. But Gilligan’s turn at the point was short lived as Neil Latham cut to the inside and took his Impact Motorz machine to the top spot.
Next through the revolving leader door was Jerome, Idaho’s Jonathan Gomez, who muscled his way to the lead two laps later. But behind the lead shuffle, pre-race favorite Trevor Cristiani of Ukiah, California found the handle on his Pepsi-Cola modified and slashed into the top three on lap six. An early caution flag brought Cristiani and Zach Webster to Gomez’ bumper for the restart.
For two laps the Cristiani and Webster paced each other wheel-to-wheel before Cristiani took sole possession of second place on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard. Cristiani immediately filled Gomez’ mirrors before he ducked low on Gomez. Lap after lap Cristiani tested the leader, but each time Gomez launched off the corner to maintain the lead. While this battle raged, Eric Rhead piloted his Redbone Trucking, Fat Boy Ice Cream machine into the lead fight.
The race’s second third started off with a bang as Cristinai tried to move Gomez out of his way. Gomez hung onto his Century Boatland modified and immediately committed to a defensive line. But Cristiani was ready for this tactic, and slid his racer into the high line and pulled abreast of Gomez. On lap 33 Cristiani launched off the second corner and motored to the lead. This dropped Gomez into the clutches of Rhead and Dylan Caldwell.
Rhead went to work on the runner up in the high line, but Gomez fought off the Salt Lake City, Utah driver’s advances and brought Caldwell to Rhead’s inside. Contact between Caldwell and Rhead sent both drivers to the back of the pack and brought Webster back into the top three. But as soon as Webster broke back into the top three his Young Automotive Group, Dura-Create Inc. machine pushed up in turn four and made contact with Stirm to bring out a yellow flag.
The green flag waved again, and Cristiani walked away from the field on his way to a BOB FM Diamond Cup Friday night victory. Behind Cristiani, Gomez held off resurgent competitors Caldwell and Rhead to claim second.
The Royal Purple Modified Series closed their BOB FM Diamond Cup double-header under threatening skies with a fifty lap feature. On the break Lynn Hardy used the outside line and rocketed into the early lead. But Hardy quickly had company as hard-charging Jonathan Gomez sliced through traffic to take the runner up spot.
Gomez tucked his Century Boatland machine under Hardy, but the Salt Lake City, Utah competitor maintained the lead. Meanwhile, quick-qualifier Trevor Cristiani entered the lead picture and dispatched Gomez to put his Pepsi-Cola modified in second place. Cristiani planted himself in Hardy’s rearview mirror as he worked high and low in his bid for the top spot.
At the race’s halfway point Cristiani committed to the inside line and roared past Hardy to the point. Hardy wheeled his machine hard to keep ahead of third place runner Gomez. This extra effort plus sprinkle of rain caused Hardy to spin with twenty laps left. During the caution period heavy rain began to fall on the quarter-mile, and the race was suspended with twenty laps left.
After the High School Tuners, Big Daddy’s Barbecue Hornets, and TEAM Mazda Mini Stocks took their turns on the quarter-mile, the Royal Purple Modifieds rolled onto a dry track to complete their main event.
Cristiani got hard on the gas pedal to reclaim the top spot as Hardy fought off a savage attack from Gomez. After two laps of constant contact Gomez backed off as he searched for another route to the runner up spot. A stream of lapped traffic bunched the battle for second up with eight laps left. Gomez jabbed low again and again as he searched for Hardy’s weakness, and Gomez would find none as Hardy beat him to the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe. But it all happened behind Cristiani, who swept both Royal Purple Modified Series races of BOB FM Diamond Cup weekend.
“I’ve never done something like that halfway break before,” Cristiani said. “I sure enjoyed it.”
With another exciting installment of the BOB FM Diamond Cup presented by Star Diamonds in the books, Meridian Speedway turns its attention to Saturday, June 16 and the Teleperformance Twin 25s. The PitStopUSA.com NASCAR Modifieds get two cracks at the quarter-mile asphalt oval Saturday, with the Coors Super Stocks, Project Filter Pro-4s, Domino’s Legends, Teleperformance Claimer Stocks, and Junior Stingers rounding out a full night of racing thrills. General admission to the Teleperformance Twin 25s is just &11.50 for adults twelve and older, $9 for seniors and military members, and $6.50 for kids 7-11. Gates open at 4:45 p.m. with the first green flag at 6:45 p.m. We’ll save a seat for you this Saturday, June 16, for the Teleperformance Twin 25s at your NASCAR Home Track under the big yellow water tower, Meridian Speedway.