Gold Cup Belongs To Jason Meyers

Jason Meyers will sub for injured driver Jason Johnson this weekend when the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series visits Calistoga Speedway. (Tom Parker Photo)
Jason Meyers celebrates after winning Saturday's Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway. (Tom Parker Photo)
Jason Meyers celebrates after winning Saturday’s Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway. (Tom Parker Photo)

CHICO, Calif. — Two-time World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series champion Jason Meyers hadn’t been in a race car since June 15, but no one would’ve guessed it on Saturday night after he made a mid-race pass for the lead and drove to victory in the 60th Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway.

Meyers captured two championships before announcing his retirement from the series in 2012 and has been on limited duty in sprint car racing in his native California since then, but on Saturday night he was in prime shape, capturing the lead and the victory after passing current championship leader Daryn Pittman on a lap-21 restart to lead a California sweep of the podium.

Andy Forsberg, who finished third in Friday night’s feature, bettered that performance on Saturday night with a second-place run. Jonathan Allard finished third, one spot ahead of Kyle Larson. Pittman finished fifth to and was the highest finishing World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series driver.

Pittman jumped out to the early lead and led the first half of the race of the 40-lap feature. His lead began slipping on lap 16 after a caution bunched the field back together. Allard was the first challenger, and the crowd erupted as he pulled around Pittman on the backstretch on lap 18, but Pittman again held the position at the flagstand.

On a lap 20 restart following an open red flag, it was Meyers who jumped around Pittman from the third spot to take the lead. After Meyers moved in front he pulled away from the field and cruised to the win.

“It means a lot to come up here, we haven’t had an opportunity to run a race car the whole summer and Tommy Tarlton gave me the opportunity to come up here and run this weekend,” said Meyers. “To come up here to get my second Gold Cup win, but more importantly for Tom and Tommy to get this win and get all the sponsors on this car this win.”

Forsberg had to make a last-lap pass on Allard for the runner-up position.

“We’ve struggled the last couple of years at this race with the same car and the same motor,” said Forsberg. “Last winter we made the decision to get a different car and the new engine builder and we had our ducks in a row and obviously things went our way. I’ll take it and we definitely had a good weekend.”

Allard, a Chico native, challenged for the lead on several laps mid-race and rounded out the podium.

“I made a big mistake, I committed to the top and we were real good and we made some big gains on Jason, but he started to pull away from me and I knew I was slowing down,” Allard said. “Andy slipped by and that was all she wrote. We were going for the win so we were searching around and trying to get there.”

A wild qualifying session ended with several local drivers with strong qualifying efforts. Leading the way was Colby Copeland, who qualified with a best lap of 12.362 seconds around the high-banked quarter-mile oval.

World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series championship leader Pittman extended his points lead with the fifth-place finish while rival Donny Schatz was 11th. The finish gives Pittman another 12 points in the championship and he now leads by 70 points going into the Gold Rush Tour finale Sunday night at Antioch Speedway.