S&S Motorsports wins annual Diamond Cup at Meridian Speedway in Idaho
Appeal Staff Writer
MERIDIAN, IDAHO — The 50-lap annual Diamond Cup race at Meridian Speedway became a battle over who could survive a loose-handling car the longest.
The Diamond Cup is traditionally a two-day race, the first being 40 laps, the second 50 laps. Friday’s race was rained out; Saturday’s went as scheduled. With Friday’s rain out, there was no rubber on the track for the tires to get a grip on.
Troy Regier, driving the No. 98 S&S Motorsports Supermodified racecar not only dealt with loose conditions, but overcame seemingly impossible odds to win the trophy with determination and teamwork, and by passing seven cars to earn 21 passing points in a revised point system put into place by the new owners of the Western States Supermodified Racing League.
Regier recorded second-fast time of the night with an 11.989; Rick Veenstra taking fast time away three cars later with an 11.980.
Eighteen cars qualified on the night with three heat races held, six cars per heat. A.J. Russell won the first heat with Martin McKeefery finishing second and Eric Silsby of Minden taking third.
Jim Birges won the second heat with Regier in second and Kirk Wartman third. Pat Whittet won the third heat with Veenstra taking second and Jeff Russell finishing third.
Three cars qualified not making the main event were Amy Barnes of Minden, Dave Adamson and Kenny Hamilton Sr. Barnes pulled out of competition with a bent drive line.
“I’m disappointed,” Barnes said. “But we’ll fix it and be in Salt Lake City. Next time.”
Silsby left the main event on lap 30 after fighting a loose condition and seeing a rising temperature gauge. Silsby was leading the main event in the season-opening race May 6 in Madera when he pulled out of the main for an overheating engine.
The lineup for the main event was a complete invert from qualifying times, putting Regier at the rear of the field. In the new points system, drivers receive three points for each car passed from the start of the lineup.
After a seven-car melee in turn 1 on lap 1 of the main event, five were able to return to action only to see another caution for a solo spin two laps later.
Regier began working the field, trying to pass cars and maintain close proximity to the lead car of McKeefery, who started the race in the pole position. After clearing the second-place car of Wartman, the distance of about 10 car lengths stood between Regier and McKeefery, but he had only four laps to catch him.
Four laps were about one lap too short, leaving Regier to settle for second, about two car lengths behind McKeefery, but first in points to win the Diamond Cup.
“I’m happy to get second, and win the Diamond Cup,” Regier said. “But I’m not satisfied.
“I didn’t think we had a chance. I was a little loose and couldn’t give it full throttle; I had to pedal it.”
“The car was loose mid-corner and off,” said Steve Shaw, co-owner of the racecar with Tom Silsby.
“We’ve made some changes to the car and we’re still learning from that. That’s how you move forward.
“We’re on a learning curve. We were not as good as we’d like to have been and the traffic was bad. It’s tough to get to the front with that many cars to get around.”
Shaw thanked their sponsors, Ron Burdg of Sierra Racing Products; Valley Chevrolet, NAPA – Capital City Auto Parts; TND Machine and Mallory Electric.
“I feel we had the quickest car,” Regier added. “It was physically demanding trying to keep the momentum up for 50 laps.”
The top-5 finishers were McKeefery, Regier, Wartman, Jeff Russell and Veenstra. Complete results were not available. The Reno team of Courtney Lewis with Mike Baisch driving finished unofficially 11th.
This win was McKeefery’s first-ever in a supermodified racecar, and in just his second race. McKeefery moved into the supermodified ranks from the Legends series in California, where he won several championships. The teenage driver is in his first season of supermodified racing.
The WSSRL next races July 4 at Rocky Mountain Raceways in Salt Lake City.