Northern Nevada teams rebound at Meridian Speedway | NevadaAppeal.com

Northern Nevada teams rebound at Meridian Speedway

RHONDA COSTA-LANDERS
Appeal Staff Writer

MERIDIAN, IDAHO — The excitement and apprehension were immense Saturday at Meridian Speedway as two Carson City teams fought lap after lap at the American Speed Association/ Western States Supermodified Racing League’s annual Diamond Cup race.

Most of the fans were on their feet throughout the race.

The scheduled 50-lap event was the finale of two days of fierce competition and awesome racing by 12 supermodifieds with nine 360-sprinters mixed in. More than half a dozen drivers could be awarded the handsome diamond ring, but it would eventually go to only one.

Leading the points headed into Saturday’s racing was Boise’s Jeff Russell. Also in the running were Troy Regier for S&S Motorsports of Carson City, Amy Barnes of DNA Racing in Minden, Rick Veenstra of Idaho along with Bobby Dalton of San Martin, Calif., and Kirk Wartman of Boise.

Winning the main event Saturday didn’t seal the deal for the diamond ring. The driver had to be the overall points winner from Friday and Saturday’s races, including points for qualifying.

Not one to ever slack in his racecar, Regier posted fast time in the No. 98 and earned 27 passing points – 3 for each car passed from his starting to finishing positions, plus main event and heat race points. But to do it, he had to overcome “Dangerous” Dale Lamborn of Carson City, who returned after a three-year hiatus.

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Lamborn started on the pole and quickly checked out from the rest of the field. Drivers Sierra Jackson and Jim Birges tried to keep pace with Lamborn, but lost ground from their own contest for position. Only slowed by three cautions, the 21-car field was strung out over the quarter-mile track in just a few laps. One caution was on lap 35 when Eric Silsby of DNA Racing spun to the infield coming out of turn 4. After spinning 360-degrees, Silsby continued, but track crews had to sweep up the dirt sprayed from the infield.

“All in all, everything turned out OK,” Silsby said. “We got a lot of help from S&S Motorsports, Jim Birges, Mike Minegar and Tom Hill, who all helped us work on the car. We couldn’t have raced without their help. We ran pretty good for what we had.”

At the restart, the top-5 cars were Lamborn, Regier, Jackson, Birges and Wartman, driving for Reno’s Courtney Lewis. From lap 35 on, Regier tried every avenue, high, low and in between to gain position ahead of Lamborn. On lap 48, Regier was under Lamborn in turn 1, cars just inches apart, but Lamborn quickly closed the door again, and took the win on night two of the Diamond Cup.

“That was a great race,” Lamborn said. “I really wanted that win. I saw Troy trying to get inside me and I just didn’t want to give it up.

“The car started to go away at the end, but I got the win. It feels great.”

“Friday’s racing was tough,” Regier said. “We made huge gains on the car Saturday. I’m happy the direction we’re going. We’ll soon find that sweet spot.

“Racing against Dale and starting 10th on this track, which is a tough track to pass on, the car has to be magical to pass and get to the front. I’m proud we almost won this race and I’m happy for Dale. He won in my old car. Congratulations to him.

“I thought I had him a couple of times, but it wasn’t meant to be. It was a good show for the fans.”

Amy Barnes of Minden recorded a sixth-place finish in race two, and unofficially sixth in the Diamond Cup points.

“The car was ridiculously tight tonight,” she said. “Overall, I’m happy with this weekend.”

Wartman, who finished third in the Cup, drove most of the main event with a near-flat, left-rear tire.

“When I pulled in the pits, the tire was nearly as low as the wheel,” Wartman said. “We’re gaining on finding the right setup for the car. We’re almost where we need to be.”

Unofficially, the top-6 Cup positions were: Regier, Veenstra, Wartman, Ernie Coppo, Jeff Russell and Barnes.

For information on the ASA/WSSRL, visit http://www.wssrl.com.

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