SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. — The 13th annual Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts kicked off in rousing fashion on Saturday night with two of late model racing’s biggest stars squaring off during the final lap for the first lucrative payday of the season.
And when the checkered flag flew on the 40-lap opening leg of the Wild West Shootout, it was Bobby Pierce edging Scott Bloomquist by a mere nose to collect the $5,000 winner’s bounty at FK Rod Ends Arizona Speedway.
“The picture showed I was just a nose ahead, I barely pulled it off,” Pierce said.
In the early portion of the 40-lap feature event, Pierce was busy chasing down early pacesetter Chase Junghans after starting third.
The 2017 Wild West Shootout champion finally made his way past Junghans on the 13th round and was in command until heavy traffic began to take its toll. Bloomquist was on the move, racing past Sheppard for second with just two laps to go and then making a move on Pierce during the final circuit only to fall just inches short at the stripe.
“Most of the time black noses lose photo finishes,” Bloomquist said.
After pocketing $13,000 in last year’s Wild West Shootout finale, Brandon Sheppard rounded out Saturday’s podium in third with Louisiana’s Cade Dillard rallying from the 17th starting position to capture fourth. Brandon Overton made forward progress as well, picking off a half-dozen positions to round out the top five.
With the opening round triumph, Pierce puts himself in prime position to cash in on the Keyser’s Quarter-Million Challenge that could be worth as much as $100,000 for a clean sweep of the six-race series. Five triumphs would offer up an extra $100,000, four wins would be worth an added $25,000 and three wins would net a bonus of $10,000.
Casey Arneson won the modified feature and Cole Searing topped the X-Mod feature.
Bobby Pierce, Scott Bloomquist, Brandon Sheppard, Cade Dillard, Brandon Overton, Earl Pearson, Hudson O’Neal, R.C. Whitwell, Tony Toste, Garrett Alberson, Terry Phillips, Ricky Thornton Jr., Pat Doar, Jason Papich, Joey Moriarty, Don Shaw, Thomas Hunziker, Rob Sanders, Chris Simpson, Jimmy Mars, Chase Junghans, Ricky Weiss, Stormy Scott, Scott Ward.