Pierce Pounces for Atomic Castrol® FloRacing Night in America Victory
$22,022-To-Win / $1,000-To-Start Tarheel 50 at Tri-County Raceway Track Up Next on Thursday, October 6
ALMA, Ohio (September 28, 2022) — Bobby Pierce hoped he’d have a car good enough to complete for a win in Wednesday’s Castrol® FloRacing Night in America event at Atomic Speedway. He said he even told his crew that “we’re not really good here” before the night’s action at the Alma, Ohio, oval got underway. After a convincing victory in the mid-week affair, however, Pierce likely has a much fresher outlook on Atomic.
Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., grabbed the lead from polesitter Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., on lap 18 and turned back a late challenge from Dresden, Ohio’s Devin Moran to capture the 50-lap main event. The 25-year-old beat 13th-starting Moran to the finish line by 0.800 of a second for a $22,022 winner’s check and his second straight triumph on the series.
“I think I’ve only been here five or six times, so I don’t have a good handle on the track,” said Pierce. “We’ll take it. This car has been great. Really good to finish a race you know it just has some issues. It’s just an awesome night all around. I’m ecstatic. It’s a big race. These Flo races pay good money. There’s a lot of people watching at their home so just a huge thank you to (FloRacing) and Atomic and all these fans for coming out and all the fans for watching. It was an awesome night.”
Brent Larson of Lake Elmo, Minn., rallied from 15th to finish third, while Doug Drown of Wooster, Ohio, finished fourth after starting 18th. Tenth-starting Tyler Erb of New Waverly, Texas, completed the top five.
Sheppard, looking for his 14th win of the season, led the first 17 laps, but faded to an 10th-place finish following contact with Pierce. Pierce, who started third, surged ahead briefly down the backstretch on lap 17, but Sheppard motored back ahead by the time they reached the flagstand. On the next lap Pierce pulled event with Sheppard again down the backstretch and turned down the track as they entered turn three. The two touched with Pierce appearing to get into the right front of Sheppard’s Rocket Chassis house car, sending Sheppard into a long slide entering turn three. Though he maintained control, Sheppard was never a threat thereafter.
“That lapper was there and it seemed like whenever we caught lap traffic is slowed us down a little bit,” said Pierce. “I had a good line right before that so I knew once we got to lap traffic I’d have a chance. (Sheppard) was kind of slipping up over there and I was able to get under him and when I slid the lapped car I wasn’t going to clear him and we almost hit, so I let Brandon back under me.
“We went down the backstretch and I went for it again but Brandon was right there. We made a little bit of contact. I don’t know if he was mad about it. I didn’t really even know he was there, I just had my eye on the lapper, but I don’t know how he finished. It was fun racing with him. Whenever you can race cars like that it’s a lot of fun because they’re the best in the business and it’s hard to beat them, especially here because I’ve never won a race here.”
Now he has. And he had to turn back the winner of last year’s event — Moran — to do so.
Moran cracked the top 10 by lap five and climbed to seventh by lap 14. He picked up four positions — including two when Camaron Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., and Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., spun out of contention while battling inside the top five — on lap 20 as he moved to third. Three laps later, Moran moved by Eatonton, Ga.’s Garrett Smith into second.
By lap 30, Pierce’s lead grew to 2.858 seconds before Moran began to slowly chip away qt the deficit.
“I really didn’t know where to be honestly, especially on the restarts,’’ said Pierce. “I guess I was doing a good job restarting low and hitting that cushion. There was just a little bit of cushion in the top of (turn) one and I was hitting that and getting a good run off of (turn) two. (Turns) three and four is a tricky corner.
“(The groove) definitely moves around. I was kind of surprised that no one was able to run the bottom in that mud and get going because I was really loose on top. I felt like my left rear was going flat. That’s why I kept spinning the tires under the caution, in case it was going flat. It’s a tricky race track you know.”
While four cautions slowed the pace, including one with five laps remaining that erased Pierce’s 1.307-second lead, Moran was never able to mount a serious challenge for the lead.
“I really didn’t want that last caution,” Moran said. “I knew we were getting to lapped cars and I could see them up there; they were all run in the middle to the top and I knew Bobby obviously hadn’t been to the bottom all night or at least I didn’t think he had. For how the night started this is definitely a success for us. I wanted to double down and win this race two years in a row but … It’s definitely a good kick off to start the weekend.”
Larson said he “basically followed (Moran) through the field for the most part” but his charge stalled after reaching third. It was a solid finish after a lackluster effort during prelims forced him to go digging through his set-up notes.
“I don’t know what happened in qualifying, but we were no good,” said Larson. “I was pretty mediocre in the heat race. So I just got my notebook out from last time we were here. We hadn’t been here since May. You think I’ve learned a lot since then or I’ve gotten better since then. Then you get to a place and all the sudden you’re like, ‘Man I’m no good. I’ve got to get back to where I was.’
“That’s what I did for the feature. I just threw a few small things at it from where my notes were at and man we picked up, and we were pretty decent. When you have a good race car you feel invincible up to the point where you get to some guys who have better race cars and then you’re just kind of following them around. But Devin had a good car. I wish he had won, maybe I would have taken second.”
Next on tap for the series is a Thursday, October 6 trip to Ray Cook’s Tri-County Racetrack (Brasstown, N.C.) for the FK Rod Ends Tarheel 50, which is headlined by a $22,022-to-win / $1,000-to-start finale.
Joining the night’s action will be the final track point’s event, featuring Interstate Welding 602 Late Models ($600-to-win), Street Stocks ($400-to-win), Open Wheel Modifieds ($400-to-win), and FWD ($300-to-win).
The Super Late Model tire rule for the event is as follows:
All Four Corners: Hoosier 1300, Hoosier 21, American Racer SD-48
Right-Rear additional options: Hoosier 1600, Hoosier 55, American Racer MD-56
2022 Castrol® FloRacing Night in America Purse
Tri-County Racetrack (Thursday, October 6)
1)$22,022 2)$11,000 3)$5,000 4)$4,000 5)$3,000 6)$2,500 7)$2,250 8)$2,000 9)$1,800 10)$1,500 11)$1,200 12)$1,150 13)$1,100 14)$1,050 15-22)$1,000
TOTAL – $67,572
Entry Fee: $100 | Non-Qualifier Money: $50
For more information on the facility, please visit www.TriCountyRaceTrack.net .
For more information on Castrol® FloRacing Night in America sponsors, visit the company websites at www.castrol.com; www.renegaderacefuel.com; www.integrashocksandsprings.com; www.pitstopusa.com; www.k1racegear.com; www.buzzeracing.com; www.hokertrucking.com; www.rocketchassis.com; www.dirtdraft.com; www.hoosiertire.com; and www.fkrodends.com.
For complete Castrol® FloRacing Night in America details, visit the brand-new series website at www.FloSeries.com. For other questions, contact general manager Ben Shelton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 901-335-3037.