by Jon Brown, VICTORIA, British Columbia — Sierra Jackson’s won the 52nd annual Daffodil Cup by a breath, fitting for a woman who late blew out the candles on her 20th birthday cake.
The Middleton, Idaho racer worked her way from the middle of the pack to win her first feature of 2012, taking home the Cup as Canadian Scott Aumen struggled in vain to finish high enough to win what would have been his fifth Daffodil title on the final night of the Canadian-American Western Winged Sprintcars Series appearance at Western Speedway.
The WWS wrapped up its Canadian excursion with a 40-lap main event, and Jackson knew exactly what she had to do to become the first female Daffodil champion – win and hope Aumen finishes no better than fourth.
That’s exactly what happened.
“It’s great. It’s our first win of the year – finally,” she said. “I’m glad it was the Daffodil Cup.
“This is a great race to win, and they are great fans to win in front of.”
Jackson scored 168 points over the two-day show at Western Speedway and added another milestone to a long list of firsts for her open-wheel career. A year after becoming the first woman to win the Diamond Cup at ASA-sanctioned Meridian Speedway, she became the first woman to win one of Canada’s most prestigious motorsports trophy.
Now, she has a good shot at the inaugural WWS series championship. Jackson’s performance pulled her into a tie for first place in the points standings with
traveling partner and fellow Idahoan Johnny Giesler.
The series finale comes Sept. 7-8 with a two-day show – and a 75-lap final main event – at ASA-sanctioned Meridian Speedway. Jackson and Giesler, who crashed out Friday night and finished 11th Saturday, both have 451 points
Jackson started ninth in the 14-car main event field, right beside Aumen, the winner of Friday night’s main event.
“I just knew I had to stay patient and not hustle the car,” Jackson said.
She broke into the top five six laps in, and Aumen continued to languish in the field.
After battling Giesler side-by-side for several laps, Jackson drove into third place and joined a breakaway led by Poulsbo, Wash., veteran driver Randy DuBois.
She crept closer when DuBois suffered a broken drive shaft while leading on Lap 18 and coasted his No. 7 sprintcar into the pits.
Finally, Jackson stalked Quesnel, British Columbia driver Ron Larson, who had inherited the lead with DuBois’ retirement.
Thirteen laps from the end, Jackson flashed down the low groove and past Larson on the backstretch.
She opened a five-second lead with about five laps to go, and Aumen was unable to make any progress in his pursuit of Matt Mansell of Victoria, British Columbia, who finished third.
Giesler’s Saturday night started much differently than his Friday night ended, although he admitted in a Trophy Dash interview from victory square that his second night in Canada really never ended after he wrecked with Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia’s Jeff Bird on the first lap of the 30-lap feature Friday.
Giesler led green-to-checkered in the A Dash on Saturday night. Then he hunted down Poulsbo, Wash.’s Randy DuBois for a pass from outside coming out of Turn 4 halfway through the first heat race. Giesler won the eight-lap sprint going away.
“We worked really hard,” the 23-year-old Giesler said of a late night and early morning of thrashing on the No. 23V sprintcar. “I’ve got to thank all the guys — Spiers Construction and the Jacksons — just all the guys that helped us out.
“We had a long night and an early morning, and it’s running good.”
DuBois was running good again Saturday night. He was sounding good, too. The American sang Canada’s national anthem prior to the racing action at Western.
Then he went out and won the B Dash.
He bolted to the front in Heat No. 1 and already had a big lead heading to the line to complete Lap 1 when Bird skidded sideways across the backstretch as Middleton, Idaho’s Sierra Jackson passed him.
Aumen got off to another fast start, setting the series qualifying record for the second night in a row and then winning the second heat race by a healthy margin.
Midway through Heat No. 2, Aumen sped past Chase Larson of Quesnel, British Columbia in a Canada-heavy preliminary. A Duncan, British Columbia driver, Aumen built a half-a-straightaway margin of victory.
Although Chase Larson was unable to hold off Aumen, the youngster did run competitively after starting on the heat race on the front row alongside his father, Ron.
In qualifying, Aumen came within a half-second of breaking Randy Price’s Western Speedway qualifying record.
Aumen drove his No. 44 sprinter to a 13.676-second fast lap. The time, achieved on Aumen’s second lap, broke his own Western Winged Sprintcars venue record of 13.740, which was established during Friday’s series debut at the Canadian oval.
For more information about the Canadian-American Western Winged Sprintcars Series, including schedule, results and standings, visit www.wingedsprintcars.com.
More information on Western Speedway is available at www.westernspeedway.net.
Canadian-American Western Winged Sprintcars Series
Race No. 9
52nd annual Daffodil Cup
Victoria, British Columbia
Saturday’s unofficial results
Daffodil Cup Race 2 (40 laps) – 1. Sierra Jackson, Middleton, Idaho; 2. Ron Larson, Quesnel, British Columbia; 3. Matt Mansell, Victoria, British Columbia; 4. Scott Aumen, Duncan, British Columbia; 5. Guy Barrett, Victoria, British Columbia
Final Daffodil Cup standings – 1. Jackson, 168 points; 2. Aumen, 167; 3. Mansell, 125; 4. Darren Yates, Duncan, British Columbia, 95; 5. Ryan Burdett, West Jordan, Utah, 92
Western Winged Sprintcar Series standings after nine races – 1. (tie) Johnny Giesler, Meridian, Idaho, and Sierra Jackson, Middleton, Idaho, 451 points; 3. Bryan Warf, Meridian, Idaho, 345; 4. Burdett, 344; 5. Aumen, 311
(Four laps each)
A Dash – 1. Johnny Giesler, Meridian, Idaho; 2. Mansell; 3. Jackson; 4. Burdett; 5. Aumen
B Dash – 1. Randy DuBois, Poulsbo, Wash.; 2. Chase Larson, Quesnel, British Columbia; 3. Darren Yates, Duncan, British Columbia; 4. Ron Larson, Quesnel, British Columbia
(Eight laps each)
Heat No. 1 – 1. Giesler; 2. DuBois; 3. Jackson; 4. Yates; 5. Jeff Bird, Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia
Heat No. 2 – 1. Aumen; 2. Chase Larson; 3. Ron Larson; 4. Ryan Burdett, West Jordan, Utah; 5. Mansell
1. Aumen, 13.676 seconds, 105.294 mph (second lap)
WWS track record; previous – Aumen, 13.740, Aug. 17, 2012
2. Jackson, 13.788 (first)
3. Mansell, 13.788 (second)
4. Giesler, 13.841 (second)
5. Burdett, 14.083 (second)
6. Bird, 14.125 (second)
7. Guy Barrett, Victoria, British Columbia, 14.208 (second)
8. Yates, 14.210 (second)
9. Ron Larson, 14.283 (second)
10. DuBois, 14.310 (first)
11. Chase Larson, 14.502 (second)
12. Wade Bland, Victoria, British Columbia, 14.784 (second)
13. Travis James, Salt Lake City, Utah, 15.774