Daring move puts Warf in Diamond Cup driver’s seat
He figured it out Friday night to become the big winner on the first night of the BOB FM Diamond Cup XXV at ASA-sanctioned Meridian Speedway.
“Racing with Johnny, I knew the only way we were going to get him was in traffic,” the hometown racer said.
With fellow Meridian driver Giesler seemingly running away from the field on stop No. 4 of the Northwest Sprintcar Asphalt Speedweek, Warf was looking for daylight.
Ironically, it was Giesler’s great start that eventually opened the door as the two drivers got bunched up side-by-side among slower racecars on a quarter-mile track stuffed with 20 sprintcars.
With 13 laps to go in the 40-lap main event, Warf drove low into Turn 4 and worked past Giesler with a daring move and never looked back.
Warf became the first two-time winner in this year’s Speedweek, taking the inside track to the $1,000 bonus and staking an early claim to the Ameristar Diamonds diamond ring awaiting the Diamond Cup champion after Saturday’s 75-lap finale.
Things may be looking up for the veteran hot shoe, who has found success in touring Late Models and Supermodifieds. The last time the Western Winged Sprints ran a 75-lap race – last September at Meridian Speedway in the season finale – Warf walked away from the field for the win.
Warf’s success, including Monday’s win at Rocky Mountain Raceways in West Valley City, Utah, gives him five career victories on the WWS tour. Giesler remains atop the list with six wins.
“It’s awesome to be back in victory lane,” Warf said. “I didn’t know if we’d get two this week.”
The Diamond Cup is co-sanctioned by the WWS and ASA Northwest Sprintcar Racing Association, resulting in a large field of sprintcars from five western states and two Canadian provinces.
Tickets are $18 for adults, $15.50 for military with ID and senior citizens, $14 for children ages 7-11. Children 6 and younger get in free. The gates open at 4 p.m. to racing at 6:30 p.m.
In the first eight-lap Western Winged Sprints/Northwest Sprintcar Racing Association heat race, Matt Elliott of Caldwell, Idaho, passed Seattle, Wash.’s Bill Kennely at the start-finish line after Lap 1 and then rolled to a victory.
In the second heat, Canadian Richie Larson carried the family crest to victory as his dad, Ron, continued to work on his crippled sprinter in a Middleton, Idaho garage. Ron, who is from Quesnel, British Columbia, slammed hard into the frontstretch wall near the flag stand during Wednesday’s Bob and Tom Naylor Memorial Classic.
Richie, who hails from Prince George, British Columbia, led wire-to-wire in the eight-lap shootout. Another Canadian, Jeff Montgomery of Langford, British Columbia, broke free of the pack, but ran out of racetrack in his pursuit of his countryman.
Meridian, Idaho’s Brandon Johnson, who had been away from the track a couple of summers, pulled the trigger faster than any other driver in the first heat and never looked back, joining his racing teammate, Elliott, as a winner. Another Meridian driver, Bryan Warf, worked his way up from the sixth-place spot to finish second.
In the WWS/NSRA A Trophy Dash, Mike Murgoitio opened the weekend at his home track on a high note, out-distancing fellow Meridian racer Bryan Warf for the trophy in the fast dash.
In the sprintcars B Dash, Victoria, British Columbia, racer Chris Schmelzle took advantage when another driver bunched up the other two sprintcars at the start of the four-lap race.
Rick Brown of Springfield, Ore., and Snohomish, Wash.’s Greg Middendorf had to check up when Billy Kennely of Seattle got squirrely as soon as he took the green flag. That gave Schmelzle all the cushion he needed to run away.
The three-year-old bounty for the first 10-second sprintcar qualifying lap at Meridian was safe for another night even though several racers gave their best shots to take home the $2,500.
West Jordan, Utah’s Ryan Burdett still put together a run to glory.
Six days after hurting his primary motor and detonating the backup engine during Speedweek No. 1 at Magic Valley Speedway in Twin Falls, Idaho, Burdett took down the Western Winged Sprintcars venue record held for one year by Andy Alberding of Roseburg, Ore.
Burdett roared to an 11.284-second lap on the first of his two tours on the paved quarter-mile oval.
Alberding, who set the WWS record during the first night of Diamond Cup XXIV, still holds the all-time record of 11.157, which was established on June 5, 2010 during another Diamond Cup meet.
Visit www.meridianspeedway.com for ticket prices and family pass prices for each night.
The racetrack can be reached by phone at (208) 888-2813.
96.1 BOB FM Diamond Cup XXV
Presented by Ameristar Diamonds
Northwest Asphalt Sprintcar Speedweek No. 4
ASA-sanctioned Canadian-American Western Winged Sprintcars Series
ASA Northwest Sprintcar Racing Association
Friday’s unofficial results
Diamond Cup Night 1 (40 laps) – 1. Bryan Warf, Meridian, Idaho; 2. Cody Gerhardt, Madera, Calif.; 3. Mike Murgoitio, Meridian; 4. Johnny Giesler, Meridian; 5. Ryan Burdett, West Jordan, Utah
(Four laps each)
A Dash – 1. Chris Schmelzle, Victoria, British Columbia; 2. Rick Brown, Springfield, Ore.; 3. Billy Kennely, Seattle, Wash.; 4. Greg Middendorf, Snohomish, Wash.
B Dash – 1. Murgoitio; 2. Warf; 3. Andy Alberding, Roseburg, Ore.; 4. Burdett
(Eight laps each)
Heat No. 1 – 1. Brandon Johnson, Meridian; 2. Warf; 3. Matt Mansell, Victoria, British Columbia; 4. Sierra Jackson, Middleton, Idaho; 5. Middendorf
Heat No. 2 – 1. Richie Larson, Prince George, British Columbia; 2. Jeff Montgomery, Langford, British Columbia; 3. Schmelzle; 4. Johnny Giesler, Meridian; 5. Alberding
Heat No. 3 – 1. Matt Elliott, Caldwell; 2. Kennely; 3. Brown; 4. Sierra Jackson, Middleton; 5. Murgoitio
WWS/NSRA Sprintcars – Burdett, 11.284 seconds (WWS venue record; previous: Andy Alberding, Roseburg, Ore., 11.316, May 30, 2012)