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.
As always this week’s racing action was a Contingency Connection event. To learn more about The Contingency Connection see Meridian Speedway officials.