Oregon Racers Win in Idaho
Meridian Idaho, Tyler Schild, May 30, 2015
The twenty-seventh running of the BobFM Diamond Cup presented by Star Diamonds concluded Saturday with a full field of Northwest Sprintcar Racing Association and Mountain Dew Winged Sprintcar competitors flying through a fifty lap feature. Amid the roar of high-horsepower engines Matt Hein and Rick Brown led the field into turn one.
Hein launched his Coastline-West Insulation, C and R Striping sprinter off turn two and took the top spot early. The lessons of Friday’s wreckfest weren’t lost on the field as single-file racing prevailed by lap three. Middleton, Idaho racer Sierra Jackson was the first to drop ranks as she raced her strong Spires Construction, Telmate machine toward the front from tenth starting spot.
Hein enjoyed his lead while behind him Colville, Washington competitor Chris Schmelze pulled up to challenge Brown. Brown settled that score quickly as the Sringfield, Oregon racer roared into the runner up spot on lap six. Now Friday night feature winner Andy Alberding thundered onto the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard in pursuit of his first Diamond Cup title.
On lap twelve Alberding and his Sprinter Trucking, Davis Auto Parts machine overtook Darren Yates in turn three to move up to fourth. Bryan Warf followed Alberding through and was finally able to make his way into the top five as well. Up front Hein caught traffic and had to manage both that and a furious assault from Brown and Schmelze as the top three bobbed and weaved for the top spot. On lap fourteen Warf picked Alberding off using the lapped ‘Pink Lady’ racer of Kenny Hamilton and set sail to Schmelze’s tail tank. Warf threw his Allan Marsh Travel Center, Dave’s Quick Lube sprinter sideways and overpowered Schmelze just past the race’s halfway point and started tracking down the lead duo of Hein and Brown.
Just inches from lapped cars and certain disaster Warf worked on Brown and Brown worked on Alberding. Brown jabbed high to no avail. Warf slung his sprinter low, but had no room to advance. The only thing that slowed this three-way scrap for the lead was a caution with eleven circuits remaining. This pinned the Diamond Cup championship hopes of Hein, Warf, and Alberding on one last mad dash to the finish.
Hein was the first to turn one while behind him Warf slammed the door on Brown and took second. With Roseburg, Oregon’s Hein already out of reach Warf went on the defensive. He’d already scored the most passing points of any racer in the field and hoped this would put him atop the weekend standings. Brown had nothing left for Warf as he settled into third.
Behind Brown it was Alberding who made a desperate late-race run at fourth place Schmelze. Schmelze, right rear tire melting under the strain of a long race, was able to hold off 2013 NSRA Champion Alberding to take fourth. But up front the story was Hein and his dominant machine that went wire-to-wire for the victory.
“This is an awesome race to be a part of,” Hein said as he collected his main event trophy. “We weren’t the fastest car by far…with eleven to go I just drove it as hard as I could.”
Before fireworks lit up the early-summer sky the overall Diamond Cup points were tabulated. Alberding held the lead after his Friday night victory, but the gap from him to third place Warf was just five points at the evening’s outset. The final margin of victory was just three markers, but in the end Alberding stood with the Star Diamond ring in Arctic Circle Victory Lane. Warf was second in the weekend standings.
“This is the best weekend I’ve had in Idaho,” Alberding joked about his numerous runner-up Diamond Cup finishes. “This is an awesome event. I’m proud to get this great ring with so many great names.”