Barnes takes second in Diamond Cup event |

Barnes takes second in Diamond Cup event

Appeal Staff Writer

MERIDIAN, IDAHO – Whether it be chasing a loose setup on the car or repairing damage from a crash on the track, five Northern Nevada teams struggled Friday at Meridian Speedway at the annual Diamond Cup race.

Reigning champions in the American Speed Association/Western States Supermodified League, S&S Motorsports of Carson City, are usually the team to beat, no matter the track or conditions. Even S&S had its difficulties Friday.

Without its driver to hot lap the car earlier in the day (Troy Regier missed his flight in from Fresno, Calif.), Carson City’s Dale Lamborn made several turns in the baby blue No. 98 for Tom Silsby and Steve Shaw – co-owners – to help prepare the car for qualifying.

Arriving minutes before having to strap in the car and lineup to qualify, Regier hit the 1/4-mile asphalt and temporarily held fast time with an 11.966, until Bobby Dalton of San Martin, Calif., recorded an 11.899 to take fast time.

The Diamond Cup is a two-day event, with points being awarded from Friday and Saturday to the top-six qualifiers, all heat races and the main events. The winner is determined by overall points from each day. After Friday’s main event, it’s almost anyone’s cup to win. With 21 cars starting the main event, 12 supermodifieds and nine 360 sprinters, the race got of to a clean start with Lamborn leading the field out of turn two, with Amy Barnes of Minden just a few car lengths behind.

Barnes was making an impressive run after being taken out of her heat race and suffering a broken shock tower. The DNA Racing crew feverishly worked to get her back on the track for the main event.

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The pace was fast with Lamborn beginning to lap the slower cars on lap five. Returning to the supermodified series after a three-year hiatus, Lamborn appeared unstoppable. At least for 11 laps. On lap 11, Jim Birges of Fresno spun in turns 1-2 and was positioned high on the track with the car still in gear. He hit the gas to try to get to the infield, but didn’t make it in time and hit Eric Silsby of Minden, who was then hit by Lamborn who couldn’t stop in time.

The wreck involved several vehicles and took out three of the top-running cars.

At the restart it was Jeff Russell of Boise, Idaho, in the lead with Barnes second, Rick Veenstra of Hagerman, Idaho third, Kirk Wartman driving for Courtney Lewis of Reno fourth, and Ernie Coppo of Clovis, Calif., fifth.

Regier was in eighth. Lamborn and Silsby were out of the race, each with heavy damage to their cars.

The only other caution was for Martin McKeefery of Milpitas, Calif., who was dealing with a loose car all night and spun coming out of turn 4 on lap 20.

The remaining 20 laps were fast and exciting as the lead cars diced through the field until the checkered flag flew. Unofficially, the top-10 cars were: Russell, Barnes, Veenstra, Wartman, Regier, Dalton, Coppo, Kenny Hamilton and McKeefery.

“The car was running real good at the end of the race,” Barnes said. “Tom had me put more rear weight in the car (while under red condition). I adjusted the rebound.

“The car had been tight and this loosened me up a little.”

Barnes’ smile was evident of how pleased she was with her run in the main event.

Lamborn’s crew — sons Brandon and Travis, and wife, Leah, began working on the car and finding parts to be able to return for Saturday’s action, with help from S&S Motorsports.

“We’ve got a bent brake rotor, the bumper and nose, front shocks and radius rods damaged,” Lamborn said. “We got some heavy repairs to make, but we’ll do it.

“Man, that race had my name written all over it.”

Among Silsby’s damages were broken upper and lower radius rods and a broken fuel line.

S&S Motorsports and Wartman made it through the main event, but the S&S car is still seeking the right setup on the new chassis.

“The car’s breaking loose on me,” Regier said. “I’m able to make adjustments, but it’s still not just right.”

The top-6 cars in points heading into Saturday’s finale were: Russell (167), Barnes and Veenstra (162), Regier (157), Wartman (156) and Dalton (153).

Complete results of the Diamond Cup at Meridian Speedway will be in Monday’s Nevada Appeal.