Bobby Pierce Routes Castrol® FloRacing Night in America Tri-City ActionGRANITE CITY, Ill. (May 25) — Plenty of folks during the second half of Tuesday night’s Castrol FloRacing Night in America event at Tri-City Speedway were hoping for a caution flag to tighten up the action — especially second- and third-running Jonathan Davenport and Kyle Larson — but dominating leader Bobby Pierce definitely wasn’t one of them.
Holding a four-second lead through much of the race, Pierce wasn’t interesting in seeing a yellow flag fly in the 40-lapper at the 3/8-mile oval.
“I really didn’t want to see a caution there. That could’ve got interesting,” the 24-year-old Pierce said. “Bad for the fans, but good for me.”
Good for Pierce for sure as the Oakwood, Ill., driver won yet again at a track where he’s run as many laps as just about anywhere. Pierce clicked off his 30th career Tri-City Late Model victory — 26 in Super Late Models — and pushed his career first-place earnings at the track near $100,000.
Davenport, of Blairsville, Ga., finished 4.177 seconds back in second with Larson, the open-wheel and NASCAR star from Elk Grove, Calif., in third on a drizzly night near St. Louis, Mo. Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., was fourth followed by Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., who started fourth and slipped back to 11th after a first-lap brush with the wall.
Pierce’s biggest concern was Davenport, a previous Castrol tour winner who was looking for his first career victory at Tri-City after getting up to the second spot on the sixth lap.
“I was pretty nervous. The main reason I’m out of breath, you know, I had a pretty good guy running second behind me,” said Pierce, whose high-side line kept him snuggled up against the outer concrete wall much of the race. “A couple of times I’d mess up (and) I could tell he caught me by my dad’s signal sticks a little bit. It wasn’t much, but just a little. It kind of made me a bit nervous and I almost wish he just would’ve lied to me. I probably could’ve run a better race there.”
Davenport couldn’t match Pierce’s high-side momentum on a track that, because of pre-race sprinkles, required some extra pace laps to get the surface into shape.
“We went a little bit softer on tires and I didn’t know that (the surface) would quite blow off like it did,” Davenport said. “I was hoping it would stay dirty and we could run more through the middle. Bobby done a great job. He’s one of the best around the wall, especially here. If he’d have stayed at home, I think we could’ve finally gotten a win here.”
Larson, whose car was towed off the track on his second time-trial lap after he got into the wall, started sixth in the main event and moved into the third spot on the 16th lap. He would advance no further.
“I got into the wall, I don’t know, as soon as I got to third, and right after that I got really loose (into the corner),” said Larson, a Castrol winner at Brownstown, Ind., earlier this season in his Kevin Rumley-owned ride. “I think if I wouldn’t have gotten into the wall, I’d have been able to run the middle strong like I was and would’ve chased them down … and who knows? We did get really good there at the end and was hoping for caution. I was watching the (score)board and was just praying that a caution would come out just to give me some sort of opportunity.”
Two cautions, both on the fifth lap, slowed the action. Kyle Bronson’s flat left-rear tire halted the action first with 10th-running Chris Simpson spinning on the restart and collecting Paul Roider, whose car got hung up on Simpson’s nosepiece. Both retired.
Twenty-seven cars entered the season’s fourth Castrol FloRacing Night in America event, which was run under a threat of rain that prompted track and series officials to push the program along. The B-main was scrapped to save time and all drivers on hand started the feature.
Pierce was fastest in time trials with a lap of 15.576 seconds. Pierce, Billy Laycock and Tony Jackson Jr. won the heats.
The next Castrol FloRacing Night in America event is a $10,000-to-win show on Wed., June 2, at Florence Speedway in Union, Ky.
Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 56-Tony Jackson Jr; 2. 6-Kyle Larson; 3. 33-Daryn Klein; 4. 0E-Rick Eckert; 5. 157-Mike Marlar; 6. 11-Gordy Gundaker; 7. 11H-Jeff Herzog; 8. 14M-Reid Millard; 9. (DNS) 1GK-Ryan King
Renegade Racing Fuel Fast Qualifier ($100 Product): Bobby Pierce
Integra Racing Shocks Heat Race #1 Winner ($200 Product): Bobby Pierce
Pit Stop USA Heat Race #2 Winner ($150 Product): Billy Laycock
PFC Brakes Heat Race #3 Winner ($200 Product): Tony Jackson Jr.
Buzze Racing B-Main #1 Winner (Free Steering System Dyno: NA
Hoosier Tire Drawing Winners: Billy Laycock, Kyle Larson
$150 Cash Drawing Recipients: Daryn Klein, Bobby Pierce
Any questions regarding Castrol® FloRacing Night in America and its events can be directed toward series general manager Ben Shelton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 901-335-3037.
For more information on Castrol® FloRacing Night in America sponsors, visit the company websites at www.castrol.com; www.renegaderacefuel.com; www.keysermanufacturing.com/brand/integra-racing-shocks-springs; www.pitstopusa.com; www.pfcbrakes.com; www.buzzeracing.com; www.arizonasportshirts.com; and www.hoosiertire.com.
For complete details regarding Castrol® FloRacing Night in America, please visit the series landing page at www.flosports.tv/castrolfloracingnightinamerica/