WEST BURLINGTON, Iowa — On a picture-perfect night for racing at 34 Raceway, Bobby Pierce used lapped traffic to his advantage to walk away with his third career win in the ever popular Slocum 50.
The packed grandstand witnessed a race that came down to the end that included three different leaders in the 50 lapper.
Defending Lucas Oil MLRA Champion Chad Simpson rolled off from the DirtonDirt.com pole position alongside of last year’s event winner Shannon Babb.
Both drivers captured quick time in their respective qualifying sessions and also picked up heat race wins. While Simpson got a great start off of turn four it was Babb that used the top side to take the race lead off the exit of turn two on the races opening lap.
After a lap-one caution for a spinning Kyle Bronson, Babb would again jump to the front with Simpson and 2016 Slocum 50 winner Ryan Unzicker holding down the top three positions. The events second caution would fly on lap 11 when Brandon Sheppard and Jay Johnson, fighting to stay on the lead lap, got together exiting turn four and spun.
Bobby Pierce had moved into the top three and on the ensuing restart went after Chad Simpson for the runner up spot. As Babb jumped out front again Pierce would get past Simpson for second, but only for a handful of laps.
Simpson took advantage of a lap-18 restart to move back around Pierce, and now set his sights on Babb. All night long the 34 Raceway challenged the series drives and on lap 28 Babb slightly jumped the cushion in turn three as Simpson drove away with the race lead, and appeared to be on his way to his first Slocum 50 win.
As Simpson took the lower line he would encounter lapped traffic which played into the hands of Pierce who continued to pound the top side cushion.
As the leaders maneuvered turns three and four Simpson would stall behind the lapped car of Hudson O’Neal as Pierce took his Hoker Trucking No. 32 to the front of the field. The race would remain green with the “Smooth Operator” taking the popular victory ahead of Simpson and Babb.
Chris Simpson captured the Casey’s General Stores Hard Charger for advancing 10 spos to finish fourth while Unzicker rounded out the top five.
“Man, that was a tough race, but probably one of the funnest I have ran,” Pierce said.
Feature (50 Laps): 1.Bobby Pierce 2.Chad Simpson 3.Shannon Babb 4.Chris Simpson 5.Ryan Unzicker 6.Garrett Alberson 7.Dennis Erb 8.Will Vaught 9.Chase Junghans 10.Jesse Stovall 11.Jordan Yaggy 12.Hudson O’Neal 13.Mitch McGrath 14.JC Wyman 15.Logan Martin 16.Jay Johnson 17.Brian Shirley 18.Dave Eckrich 19.Tyler Erb 20.Brandon Sheppard 21.Kyle Bronson 22.Jeremy Grady 23.Rickey Frankel 24.Payton Looney