by Jon Brown: MERIDIAN, Idaho – Johnny Giesler did exactly what he needed to do to win the 96.1 BOB FM Diamond Cup XXIV – finish in front of his friend, fellow Meridian driver Mike Murgoitio.
In the process of claiming the “asphalt” black diamond ring furnished by GNO Jewelry and AmeriStar, Giesler won Saturday night’s 50-lap feature at ASA-sanctioned Meridian Speedway that wrapped up the Canadian-American Western Winged Sprintcars Northwest Asphalt Speedweek.
“Oh, man, it feels great,” Giesler said after holding off Murgoitio. “I love racing with these guys. Me and Mike are friends away from the racetrack. I love the kid. I love racing with him.”
Giesler won two of the Speedweek features – both at Meridian Speedway – and Murgoitio won twice, including Friday’s opener of the Diamond Cup, which was co-sanctioned by the ASA Northwest Sprintcar Racing Association.
“We had a great run,” Murgoitio said. “I have to take my hat off to Johnny Giesler. They had a great race tonight, they deserve the win.
“I can’t complain. We got two wins, they got two wins.”
In other features from Saturday night:
Boise’s Jasen Skyberg backed up his fast qualifying time to win the SPI Transportation Super Sixes 35-lap race by nearly a half-lap.
Nampa’s Chad Bess took advantage of a bobble by reigning track champion Melissa Weaver, also of Nampa, to rush ahead and walk away with the 35-lap Street Stocks main event.
Blake Coria of Boise won the 50-lap Tates Hornets feature to wrap up the night and then promptly gave up his car when track management waved $750 in his face. Had he passed up the claimer request, he would have lost the feature victory and the series points that go with it.
“Well, I came out to win it, and that’s what I did so … (I’ll) build another one,” he said.
Giesler entered the Diamond Cup finale with his objective clear. Beat Murgoitio and win the ring.
Of course, there were 17 other open-wheel racers who came from around the Northwest, Intermountain West and Western Canada to try to land the ring, too.
West Jordan, Utah’s Ryan Burdett seemed determined to put in his two cents when he bolted to the lead when the first green flag dropped.
But Giesler sent an early message that the night would be his, roaring around Burdett in Turn 4 on the seventh lap. Burdett slowed considerably, seemingly resigned to the fact that there was no earthly way to contain Johnny The Jet.
Giesler checked out, building a three-second lead until Nampa’s Sara Henry and Meridian’s Wyatt King tangled after both suffered ruptured tires heading into Turn 1 with 33 laps remaining.
On the restart, Canadian Scott Aumen went high on the track to create a three-wide situation. His daring move allowed Murgoitio to clear lapped traffic that was lined up between he and Giesler.
Giesler also was able to get five seconds in front of the field – until he hit lapped traffic and Murgoitio crept back into the picture.
With seven laps left, Murgoitio drove up to Giesler’s bumper as the race leader was impeded by Garden City, Idaho’s Dave Parrie and Ron Larson from Quesnel, British Columbia.
Four laps from the finish, Murgoitio was still on his buddy’s bumper with a wide-open racetrack looming.
But Murgoitio ran out of time, and Giesler had his second victory in four nights. He won the Bob and Tom Naylor Classic 50 on Wednesday.
It didn’t take too long for the Street Stocks rivalry to bud at ASA-sanctioned Meridian Speedway.
Nampa, Idaho drivers Melissa Weaver and Chad Bess seem to be poised to pick up where they left off in 2011 when Weaver out-dueled Bess for the track championship.
On Saturday night, Bess nestled behind Weaver for a restart with 15 laps remaining in the 35-lap main event. Both drivers raced around race leader Micky Lawson, who had chosen the low side for the side-by-side restart.
When the rivals hit Turn 2 with 14 laps remaining, Weaver wobbled and Bess roared past her and built an immediate three-car-length lead.
Bess would eventually lap one car in the field and win the race by nearly a quarter-lap over Weaver.
“We kept on working on it, working on it. And we’re getting faster every week,” Bess said. “These cars keep getting faster, so it’s taking us longer to get to the front. I kinda like it.”
In the second Super Sixes appearance of the year at Meridian, Skyberg won his second consecutive feature race in the traveling series, backing up his fast qualifying time from earlier in the day.
Skyberg never looked back after passing early leader Tony Ackerland of Star, Idaho 10 laps into the main event. Within three laps, he was four seconds ahead of the field.
After a prolonged battle with Bob Bachman of Kuna, Idaho, Ackerland got loose and lost his momentum, allowing Bachman to pull ahead and pull away.
In the fast heat for the Diamond Cup winged sprints, Meridian’s Cody Veenstra made it 2-for-2 on the night with a quick jump and a speedy sprinter. The B Dash winner took Langford, British Columbia’s Jeff Montgomery along for the ride when both shot past another Canadian, Matt Mansell, on Lap 2 of the fast heat. Meridian racers Johnny Giesler and Mike Murgoitio also would flash by Mansell.
Montgomery and Giesler had a chippy battle for second place behind Veenstra, with the two drivers banging each other on the fifth lap.
Sierra Jackson benefitted from race officials’ ruling in the first of three eight-lap Diamond Cup heat race.
The Middleton, Idaho driver, who won the ASA NSRA series title in 2011 when she also shared the Diamond Cup championship, was put on the front row after Ron Larson of Quesnel, British Columbia, and Salt Lake City, Utah’s Jimmy Waters couldn’t get a clean start on the green flag in two tries.
Jackson took full advantage, sprinting out to a three-second heat race win.
In the second heat race, Meridian’s Bryan Warf picked up the win, but the real excitement was the battle for second place.
Wyatt King, another Meridian driver, slipped past Herriman, Utah’s TJ Thorne in the middle of Turn 3-4 on Lap 2. As he passed on the low side, though, King made contact with Thorne.
Scott Aumen from Duncan, British Columbia would catch Thorne for fourth place on the final lap.
For the second night in a row, Cody Veenstra of Meridian saw a checkered flag in the Western Winged Sprints B Dash.
Veenstra and Ron Larson of Quesnel, British Columbia started the four-lap dash side-by-side, but Larson pushed ahead out of Turn 4 on the first lap.
The lead was short-lived, though, as Veenstra took control with a strong run out of Turn 2 on Lap 2. By the end of that lap, he would be out in front by two seconds.
Mike Murgoitio used the low side of the track to dominate the A Heat despite a pesky run by Roseburg, Ore.’s Matt Hein, who shared the 2011 Diamond Cup championship with Jackson.
Murgoitio eventually won by half a straightaway, even with Hein pitching his car sideways in an attempt to make up ground.
The winged sprinters weren’t the only open-wheel racers at the track Saturday. The SPI Transportation Super Sixes made their second appearance of the season at the track, too.
Kevin Detweiler of Nampa pulled off the Fast Dash victory for the six-cylinder class. Star, Idaho’s Tony Ackerland picked up the victory in the B Heat.
The Meridian Speedway staff doesn’t take a breath or a break after hosting the final three races of Northwest Asphalt Speedweek.
This Saturday night fans will have the opportunity to show their appreciation during Pit Stop Drive Thru EMS, Police, Fire and Corrections Officer Night at the speedway.
Saturday’s racing card includes twin 40-lap main events for the ASA Modifieds, the NAPA Late Models, the Pit Stop Drive Thru Super Stocks, the Pit Stop Drive Thru Mini Stocks and the Domino’s Pizza Legends.
Keeping with the theme of the night, there also will be a Redneck Fire Fighting Challenge.
Admission is $10 for adults, $7.50 for military personnel with ID and senior citizens, and $6 for children ages 7-11. Children 6 and younger get in free.
A family pass, which gets two adults and up to four children ages 7-11 through the turnstile, is $30.
Racing begins at 5 p.m. with qualifying. Heat races start at 6:30 p.m.
Call (208) 888-2813 or visit www.meridianspeedway.com for more event information.
Meridian Speedway
Canadian-American Western Winged Sprintcars
ASA Northwest Sprintcar Racing Association
Northwest Asphalt Speedweek No. 4
96.1 BOB FM Diamond Cup XXIV
Presented by GNO Jewelry
Saturday’s unofficial results
Main events
Diamond Cup XXIV Night 2 for Western Winged Sprints (50 laps) –
1. Johnny Giesler, Meridian, Idaho; 2. Mike Murgoitio, Meridian; 3. Jeff Montgomery, Langford, British Columbia; 4. Andy Alberding, Roseburg, Ore.; 5. Bryan Warf, Meridian
Final Diamond Cup XXIV championship standings –
1. Giesler, 134 points; 2. Murgoitio, 126; 3. Montgomery, 134
SPI Super Sixes (35 laps) –
1. Jasen Skyberg, Boise, Idaho; 2. Bob Bachman, Kuna, Idaho; 3. Dean Waltman, Boise; 4. Kevin Detweiler, Nampa, Idaho; 5. Tony Ackerland, Star, Idaho
Street Stocks (40 laps) –
1. Chad Bess, Nampa, Idaho; 2. Melissa Weaver, Nampa; 3. Marv Weaver, Nampa; 4. Bobby Riggs, Fruitland, Idaho; 5. Micky Lawson, Caldwell, Idaho
Tates Hornets (50 laps) –
1. Blake Coria, Boise; 2. Cade Hollon, Riggins, Idaho; 3. Colton Nelson, Meridian; 4. Rob Powers, Meridian; 5. Cody Garrett, Boise
Western Winged Sprints trophy dashes
(4 laps each)
A Dash –
1. Murgoitio; 2. Matt Hein, Roseburg, Ore.; 3. Giesler; 4. Alberding
B Dash –
1. Cody Veenstra, Meridian; 2. Ron Larson, Quesnel, British Columbia; 3. Sara Henry, Nampa; 4. Rick Brown, Springfield, Ore.
Heat races
(Eight laps each)
Western Winged Sprints
Heat No. 1 –
1. Veenstra; 2. Montgomery; 3. Giesler; 4. Murgoitio; 5. Mansell
Heat No. 2 –
1. Warf; 2. Wyatt King, Meridian; 3. Henry; 4. Scott Aumen, Duncan, British Columbia; 5. TJ Thorne, Herriman, Utah
Heat No. 3 –
1. Sierra Jackson, Middleton, Idaho; 2. Ryan Burdett, West Jordan, Utah; 3. Hein; 4. Jimmy Waters, Salt Lake City, Utah; 5. Larson
SPI Super Sixes
Fast Dash –
1. Detweiler; 2. Jasen Skyberg; 3. Andy Graybeal, Boise; 4. Bob Bachman; 5. Waltman
B Heat –
1. Ackerland; 2. Kevin Chipman, Eagle, Idaho; 3. Pat Young, Kuna, Idaho; 4. Dave Skyberg, Boise; 5. Dick Sola, Boise
Street Stocks
Fast Dash –
1. Roy Kirkland, Boise; 2. Melissa Weaver, Nampa; 3. Marv Weaver, Nampa; 4. Chad Bess, Nampa; 5. Rick Baldwin, Middleton, Idaho
B Heat –
1. Bobby Riggs, Fruitland, Idaho; 2. Micky Lawson, Caldwell, Idaho; 3. Bill Lawrence, Grand View, Idaho; 4. Patrick Johnson, Caldwell; 5. John Weller, Caldwell
Tates Hornets
(Six laps each)
Fast Dash –
1. Chuck Youngblood, Meridian; 2. Powers; 3. Garrett; 4. Nelson; 5. Lynn Sharp, Nampa
B Heat –
1. Coria; 2. Hollon; 3. Sharlet Pataro, Mountain Home, Idaho; 4. Stacy Heath, Nampa; 5. Jess Ryska, Meridian
C Heat –
1. Ben Driebergen, Boise; 2. Jason Rupp, Boise; 3. Kevin Johnson, Kuna, Idaho; 4. Monica Heath, Caldwell; 5. Fred Nagele, Boise
D Heat –
1. James Pahl, Caldwell; 2. Michael Capps, Meridian; 3. Allen Arnold, Star, Idaho; 4. Brenden Fries, Meridian; 5. Terry Dodge, Nampa
Fast times
Western Winged Sprints –
Giesler, 11.473 seconds
SPI Super Sixes –
Jasen Skyberg, 13.935
Street Stocks –
Bess, 15.124
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