Josh Larsen ran through the program unbeaten and captured the prestigious Warren Russell Cup for the third time on an evening of great racing at the world famous Costa Mesa Speedway.
Faria and Jimmy "Little Animal" Fishback both got into the tapes, but neither was penalized. When the tapes went up it was Faria who held a slight lead entering turn one. His lead wasn't enough to get across Larsen who held tight to the inside line and took the lead as they exited turn two without USA U21 Team Member Austin Novratil who slid off. Fishback was able to get under Faria and McConnell began threatening the former National Champion's position as well. Meanwhile, Larsen held a comfortable lead and stretched it with each lap. Novratil's race ended at the end of lap two when he went over backward in spectacular fashion on the front straight, but was able to remove himself from harm's way and the race continued. Larsen was first to the checkered flag, Fishback finished second, McConnell was third, Faria finished fourth, and Novratil was credited with fifth. The win was particularly special for Larsen because he was sponsored by Warren Russell and Russell Racing for many years.
Fishback opened the heats with a win over "Nasty " Nate Perkins. Doug Nicol won the second heat ahead of Dale Facchini. Larsen began his evening with a win over Dukie Ermolenko. John "Mongoose" Marquez scored an impressive win over Steve Russell, who is the grandson of Warren Russell. Faria ended the first round by beating Novratil.
The second round began with Fishback collecting his second straight victory. Perkins beat McConnell in event 11. Larsen beat Novratil for his second win in a row. Ermolenko defeated Bobby "Boogaloo" Schwartz in the next heat. Faria beat Jason Ramirez for his second win to end round two.
Novratil started the final round by handing Fishback his first defeat. McConnell beat Mike "Spiderman" Bloom for his first win. Larsen beat Steve Russell to remain perfect. Schwartz beat Nicol in the penultimate heat. Faria beat Aaron Fox in the final heat to match Larsen's perfect score.
Faria won the first semi and was followed into the main event by Fishback. The second semi was restarted after Perkins brought Novratil down and was penalized. Larsen won the restart and Novratil finished second to also transfer to the main.
McConnell and Perkins battled for the lead in the Last Chance but came down in turn three and brought out the red flag. The referee ordered a complete restart. McConnell led before Perkins took the lead at the end of lap one. It was short-lived, however, as he overslid in turn one and allowed McConnell to retake the lead. The positions remained unchanged and McConnell won to take the final spot in the main.
The Support Main required three attempts to complete and the third staging looked to be a Michael Hernandez runaway, but he fell while in the lead on the final lap. Justin Hassan also went down but the race continued and Rudy Laurer, who had started on the penalty line, squeezed by the carnage and crossed the finish line first. Tim McGrath finished second.
Max Ruml won both his heats and powered to a dominant win in the Youth 250cc Main Event. Dillon Ruml finished second, Braden Sauer was third, and Hayley Perrault was credited with fourth.
Gino Scopellite led from start to finish and claimed top honors in the Youth 200cc Second Division Main Event. Maverick Molloy was second, Shea Bendykowski finished third, Sebastian Palmese was fourth, and Michael Wells finished fifth.
The Warren Russell Cup honors a man who gave a lot to speedway through sponsorship of riders, tracks, and events. Warren Russell was a very respected man in American Speedway and was a fixture at speedway events in Southern California for many years. The racers he has sponsored over the years were the aforementioned Larsen, Faria, Schwartz, and Brad Oxley. Faria's won the 1990 and 1991 National Championships while sponsored by Warren Russell and his championship-winning motorcycle was on display on the infield along with several other mementos.
The next event at Costa Mesa Speedway is Kids Night this Saturday, June 18. All kids who are 12 years old and under will be admitted free and the program will have speedway and sidecars.
Support B Semi-Final
First Division Heat Scoring123T
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