Meridian Speedway’s quarter-mile oval will be sprayed with a combination of Coke syrup and bleach in preparation for this weekend’s Diamond Cup.
The old-school concoction is said to improve grip and soften tires, which promotes more passing and increased speeds.
It’s the perfect recipe for the return of Super Modifieds to the track for the first time since 2009.
The open wheel Supers have no clutch, transmission, battery or starter, making them lightweight and ultra-fast with an average horsepower of 800 or more.
The hand-built cars were once considered the premier division at the speedway, but the expense and intricacies required to maintain them have made them somewhat of an endangered species.
“They certainly haven’t lost their popularity. Everybody likes to watch them,” Meridian Speedway spokesman Adam Nelson said. “However, it does take a true mechanic, not a parts installer, to put one together. Everything is hand-built. You can’t buy pieces out of a catalog.
“In this day and age, that’s why the sprint cars kind of took over, because you can pretty much buy anything you need for one out of a catalog.”
The majority of the Super Modifieds expected to race Friday and Saturday at Meridian will come from California and Colorado. Only one Idaho driver is in the field, and he’ll be pulling double duty.
Bryan Warf of Meridian has won four straight Winged Sprint championships at the speedway and has two more victories already this season. He also won the Copper Cup Classic for Super Modifieds at Rocky Mountain Raceways in Utah last July.
During qualifying for the event, Warf set RMR track records with an average speed of 108.941 mph and a qualifying lap of 12.392.
“We’re all really excited. That’s where all of our passion is. That is what I grew up watching,” said Warf, whose dad, LaMoyne Warf, built the No. 91 Super Modified in 2001. “The car I’m driving this weekend is the same car I watched get built from the ground up and crewed on when I was young.
“Now getting to drive it again at my home track is something really special to me.”
While the Diamond Cup is already one of the most anticipated events on Meridian’s calendar each year, excitement is once again building for a driver to claim the track’s 10-second bounty.
Since new asphalt was put down between the 2009 and 2010 seasons, a cash reward has been offered for the first driver to run a qualifying lap in under 11 seconds.
Former Diamond Cup champion Andy Alberding of Roseburg, Ore., owns the overall track record at 11.157 set on June 5, 2010, but the return of Super Modifieds could put that mark in jeopardy.
Friday will be the first time Super Modifieds have raced on the new asphalt.
“The Diamond Cup is usually the night that it can happen, because there are so many cars and so much rubber gets laid down on top of the prep work,” Nelson said. “If we have weather Friday or Saturday like we had last Saturday, I think it’s favorable.
“I don’t think the question is can it happen, but how many times will it happen?”
Because Nelson anticipates the 11-second barrier will be broken this weekend, he said the cash reward of $2,500 will be given to the fastest driver to drop into the 10s.
Over the track’s Memorial Day races, Nelson used the Coke and bleach spray, and new track records were set by the NAPA Auto Parts Big 5 Late Models (John Newhouse, 12.965) and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modifieds (Colton Nelson, 13.746).
With diamond rings up for grabs to the overall two-day points leaders among the Super Modifieds and Winged Sprints in addition to a hefty purse for event winners each night, there will be more than enough incentive for drivers to go full throttle.
“You are going to see the fastest cars that come to Meridian Speedway,” Warf said. “There’s nothing that will come to that race track that’s going to be faster than the cars there this weekend.”
If you go
- What: Diamond Cup
- Where: Meridian Speedway
- When: Friday and Saturday
- Times: Gates open at 4 p.m., qualifying starts at 5 p.m., and racing begins at 6:30 p.m. each night
- Daily admission: $18 adults, $15.50 seniors & military, $6.50 for children ages 7-11, and free for children 6 and younger.