Tillman, Warf Duel for Diamond Cup Honors

MERIDIAN, Idaho—Unseasonably mild temperatures greeted a sell-out crowd on Friday, August 7, as the Speed Tour Sprint Car ranks took the green flag on the 2020 edition of Meridian Speedway’s annual Bob FM Diamond Cup. 

Sixteen Speed Tour Sprint Cars roared to green for Friday night’s 35 lap Naylor Classic.  On the break Aaron McPeak overpowered Mike Anderson, who had rolled his non-winged Pepsi Crate Car down the front straightaway an hour earlier, for the top spot with Cory Lockwood in tow.  Lockwood wasted no time as he navigated his Turning Point Brands, Eloy and Sons Landscaping machine to the outside of McPeak in a bid for the lead.   

An early caution flag slowed the action and reset the field with Lockwood to the outside of McPeak for the restart.  McPeak got on the gas pedal hard, but it wasn’t enough to hold off Lockwood, who stormed around the outside of turns one and two to put himself atop the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard. 

With the floodgates open, Justin Segura, Colton Nelson, and Casey Tillman filed into the second, third, and fourth spots.  Tillman was first to make a move, and the Kuna, Idaho racer swung outside of Nelson to snag the last podium spot.  A lap ten restart saw Tillman dispatch Segura and take the second position in his Ready Made Plastic Trays, PFC Brakes sprinter. 

Tillman rattled off a bevy of fast laps as he raced to Lockwood’s tail tank, but his efforts came up short as Lockwood cruised across the Caleb’s Chop Shop Victory Stripe to become the 20th different winner of the Naylor Classic. 

“A race like this makes your heart skip a beat,” Lockwood said.  “My dad’s got his name on [the Bill Crow] trophy and I finally get one of them.  There’s an amazing [group] of guys on that list.  It’s an honor to be a part of it.” 

Second and third-place finishers Tillman and Warf kept the big picture in mind. 

“We’ve got a good place to start tomorrow,” Tillman said.  “I would really like the diamond ring, but we’re not thinking about that.  We’re out here to win.” 

“It’s looking like it’s [going to] possibly come down to Casey and me,” Warf said.  “We’re going to give it hell tomorrow.” 

Entering the second leg of the Bob FM Diamond Cup presented by Neil Alan Fine Jewelry on Saturday, August 8, Casey Tillman held the weekend points lead with Bryan Warf and night one feature winner Cory Lockwood in tow.   

The field followed Mike Anderson and Matt Elliott to green for Saturday night’s forty lap feature.  Elliott got out of the blocks first and motored past Anderson to take the lead in his The Sign Shoppe, Desert Sage Wall Systems machine.  After just five laps Elliott led Justin Segura, Anderson, and Friday night feature winner Lockwood by a comfortable margin. 

Deep in the pack Tillman and Warf fought hard to make their way forward.  Tillman was the first to break through, his Ready Made Plastic Trays, YMC Mechanical sprinter gaining speed as the race wore on.  Meanwhile Warf navigated his Knapp Auto, Hunziker Racing sprinter through a near constant stream of side-by-side traffic.   

A caution flag just after the halfway point re-racked the pack and set Warf directly behind Tillman for the restart.  As Elliott sped away from runner up Lockwood and the pack, Tillman found himself trapped behind a physical third-place battle between Colton Nelson and Segura.  Patiently Tillman followed Nelson and eventually broke through to take fourth on the Pepsi-Cola scoreboard. 

But Warf was making ground too, and when the checkers flew the Meridian, Idaho racer found himself in sixth place, two spots behind Tillman.   

From there, the attention turned to the Speed Tour officials as they calculated the weekend’s points.  Once tabulated, Tillman was declared the winner of the 2020 Bob FM Diamond Cup presented by Neil Alan Fine Jewelry. 

“Can I use this as my wedding ring?” Tillman joked.  “The biggest thing is we unloaded fast…I have to give a big shout out to the guys in the pits.  I don’t think there’s been one time I’ve come off the track and said ‘let’s just leave [the car] alone.’” 

The Speed Tour Sprint Cars and Speed Tour Modifieds return to action Saturday, August 22, for Cactus Petes Night at Magic Valley Speedway.  For further event information or to purchase tickets, visit www.magicvalleyspeedway.com.  We’ll see you Saturday, August 22, at Magic Valley Speedway for Cactus Petes Night with the Speed Tour Sprint Cars and Speed Tour Modifieds. 

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