QUINCY, Ill. – Bobby Pierce survived late race motor woes and a mid-race exchange of slide jobs for the race lead on Sunday night to capture his fifth Lucas Oil MLRA win of the year.
The win, Pierce’s second at Quincy Raceways, netted him $5,000 in the inaugural Scottie 45.
At the drop of the green, polesitter Pierce picked up right where he left off back in May, jumping to the race lead and setting a blistering pace.
The races lone caution waved on lap 14 for the stalled car of Reid Millard at the top of turn three. The caution appeared to be a break for Pierce, as it saved him from having to navigate heavy lapped traffic with the No. 1v of Vaught closing in.
The move of the night came on the ensuing restart when Mitch McGrath darted from his 3rd position to the inside of Pierce at the entrance of turn one, stealing the lead with the first slide job of the night.
McGrath escaped the grasp of Pierce and was able to maintain a constant two to three car length advantage over the next 14 laps, with Pierce and Vaught in tow.
Just past the mid-way point, McGrath began running a lower line, opening up the top side for the “Smooth Operator.”
On the races 29th lap, Pierce returned the favor with a slide job for the lead in turns one and two, stalling the momentum of McGrath and allowing Vaught to slip by and into the second spot.
Vaught would pressure Pierce for the next ten laps, pulling along alongside in lapped traffic, but in the end it would be Pierce pulling away for the convincing win at the quarter-mile oval.
Vaught extended his championship lead after coming home in second, while McGrath settled for third at the line. Jason Papich collected his second top five of the weekend, coming home forth, while leading rookie candidate Logan Martin rounded out the top five.
In Lucas Oil Victory Lane, Pierce commented on the exchange of slide jobs for the lead.
“I didn’t really appreciate the move, so I wasn’t the friendliest giving it back to him. It is what it is, and luckily we got the job done,” noted Pierce. “Right when that happened, I went down a cylinder I think, maybe two. Something was really wrong and my oil pressure was pretty low so we will check it out, but hopefully it’s alright.”
“He (McGrath) capitalized on that restart,” continued Pierce. “I didn’t get a good start and that made me more motivated to get him back, because I really wanted that win.”
Pierce was hoping for congestion in order to pounce in the closing stages, and got it.
“I was kind of waiting for lapped traffic. We weren’t catching them super fast, so I really had to get up on the wheel,” Pierce said. “When he started changing his line, going a little bit lower on the top, it let me have the cushion. It’s hard when you get in the dirty air; you don’t want to push and shove off the track.
“At least this place doesn’t have walls, so you won’t hit concrete, you just go off.”