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Daily Dirt 04/15/2024 19:33:01

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August 14
Federated Raceway at I-55,
Pevely, MO
Sanction: DIRTcar Summer Nationals - $10,000
Information provided by: Joshua Joiner (last updated August 17, 9:25 am)
I-55 gives Pierce 12th Summer Nationals win
  1. Bobby Pierce
  2. Brandon Sheppard
  3. Ashton Winger
  4. Shannon Babb
  5. Gordy Gundaker
  6. Jason Feger
  7. Tanner English
  8. Brent McKinnon
  9. Dane Dacus
  10. Mitch McGrath
  11. Blaze Burwell
  12. Paul Roider
  13. Trevor Gundaker
  14. Rickey Frankel
  15. Jeff Roth
  16. Joe Godsey
  17. Brandon Lance
  18. Daryn Klein
  19. Paul Kuper
  20. Rusty Griffaw
  21. Logan Martin
  22. Michael Kloos
presented by
Jimmy Dearing/stlracingphotos.com
Bobby Pierce celebrates with crew and supporters at I-55.
What won the race: Bolting into the lead on a lap-seven restart, Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., held firm command for the remainder of the distance to capture Saturday night's 40-lap DIRTcar Summer Nationals feature at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55. The runaway Hell Tour points leader beat Brandon Sheppard to the finish line by 1.282 seconds for his 12th win of 2021 on the series and a $10,000 payday.
On the move: Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., started 15th and finished sixth.
Winner's sponsors: Pierce’s Pierce Race Car is powered by a Vic Hill Racing Engine and sponsored by Hoker Trucking, Allgayer Inc., Premier Waste Services, Mesilla Valley Transportation, Go Lithium, Base Racing Fuel, Carnaghi Towing, Viper Risk Management, Extreme Electric, First Spear, Quality Paint & Body, Leka Tree Service, Advanced Suspension and Allstar Performance.
Points chase: After I-55: 1. Bobby Pierce (1,745) 2. Tanner English (1,527); 3. Ashton Winger (1,477); 4. Joe Godsey (1,152); 5. Mitch McGrath (1,116); 6. Jason Feger (972); 7. Brian Shirley (878); 8. Tim Lance (859); 9. Jeff Roth (844); 10. Brandon Lance (753).
Current weather: Clear, 66°F
Car count: 33
Fast qualifier: Shannon Babb
Time: 12.174 seconds
Polesitter: Logan Martin
Heat race winners: Brandon Sheppard, Bobby Pierce, Logan Martin, Daryn Klein
Consolation race winners: Blaze Burwell
Provisional starters: Joe Godsey, Trevor Gundaker, Michael Kloos, Brandon Lance
Next series race: August 18, Butler Motor Speedway (Quincy, MI) $5,000
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.
From staff reports

PEVELY, Mo. (Aug. 14) — Bobby Pierce turned the tables on Brandon Sheppard in Saturday night’s 40-lap DIRTcar Summer Nationals feature at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55.

Twenty-four hours after falling to Sheppard at Highland (Ill.) Speedway, Pierce overtook the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series regular for second just before a caution flag flew on the seventh laps and moments later bolted into the lead on the ensuing restart. The 24-year-old star from Oakwood, Ill., never looked back en route to defeating New Berlin, Ill.’s Sheppard by 1.282 seconds for the $10,000 top prize.

“That pass I had on him was pretty important to get me up front where I needed to be and go from there,” Pierce said of Sheppard, who was behind the wheel of his family-owned XR1 Rocket No. b5. “Really thanks to Brandon for driving me clean. He had a lot of good things to say about me last night, and he’s a helluva racer.”

The triumph was a milestone for Pierce in more ways than one. It was, of course, his first-ever Summer Nationals win at the high-banked, third-mile oval outside St. Louis, but it also gave him a single-season career-high 12 victories on the Hell Tour and tied him for third on the circuit’s all-time win list, at 39, with Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind.

“I’ve always wanted to win a Summer Nationals race here,” said Pierce, who extended his already substantial Hell Tour points lead with just four Michigan events remaining on the schedule from Aug. 18-21. “I ran here a lot when I was pretty young, starting out in Supers, and it quickly became one of my favorite racetracks. Just everything about it, the size, the shape … I love it.

“(The win has) been a long time coming. We’ve been pretty good here in the Summer Nationals races but just never got W. It feels great.”

Ashton Winger of Hampton, Ga., finished third after briefly climbing to second place for laps 9-11. Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., quietly raced from the sixth starting spot to a fourth-place finish while eighth-starter Gordy Gundaker of St. Charles, Mo., completed the top five.

Pierce, who started outside of Sheppard in the fourth position, made his most critical move on lap seven when he pulled a slider off turn four to grab second from B-Shepp. That positioned Pierce to assume command on a lap-seven restart when Daryn Klein of Fairview Heights, Ill., who led the field to the green flag after inheriting the top spot because race-long pacesetter Logan Martin of West Plains, Mo., had smacked the turn-three wall to trigger caution conditions, slid high in turns one and two and clipped the outside wall.

“We had some luck on our side tonight,” Pierce said.

Pierce was especially fortunate to identify the problem that eliminated Martin before it happened. He had just passed Sheppard for second and was eyeing Martin when the leader experienced contact in turn two with the lapped Jeff Roth of Bentonville, Ark., and again in turn three — and on the second occasion, the paint-trading sent Martin into the outside wall.

“That was pretty sketchy,” Pierce said of the incident that prompted Martin to climb from his car and angrily motion at the passing Roth during the caution period. “The track was pretty treacherous in spots and it made lapped traffic pretty hectic. Luckily we were able to stay out of that wreck. I saw that coming when we started lapping that guy (Roth), so I kind of figured I had to keep my eyes big there … and there was a wreck.”

Escaping that paved the way to Pierce’s latest checkered flag, a win that gives him an outside shot at matching or beating the Summer Nationals single-season win record held by Babb, who won 15 times in 2005.

“We got four races to go,” said Pierce, who is headed toward his fourth career Summer Nationals points title but first since 2017. “I’d have to win all four of ‘em to beat Babb’s record, so we’ll have to see if we can do it.”

Sheppard, 28, conceded afterward that Saturday was Pierce’s night after the previous evening’s Summer Nationals stop at Highland had belonged to him.

“I thought I was inching closer to him the later the race went, but they shortened the race up there — they made it 40 instead of (the scheduled) 50 laps (because the program was running late) — and I had my car way too tight for early in the race. The longer I was going the better I was getting, but it really wasn’t doing me no good in the early portions of that race.

“Bobby snuck by me there pretty early, and that pretty much was the race for me. He did a great job. We had a really good car, we were just a little too snug. I know where I messed up. I didn’t anticipate the rough and wide-open (track surface) as much as I should have.”

The race was slowed by four caution flags. Following Martin’s race-ending trouble, yellows flags flew for Rusty Griffaw (Lap 10), Klein (lap 11) and Paul Kuper (lap 15).

Notes: A downed power line in the pits that fell on Tanner English’s car and part of Sheppard’s trailer pushed the start of action back one hour; no one was injured, English's car appeared undamaged and the local power company came to the track to make repairs. ... Before his tangle with Martin, Roth had to stop during pace laps and have crew members remove the radiator cover from under his hood. He had to start from the rear rather than his scheduled 12th spot because he pitted. … The race was a makeup of a June 26 rainout as the series, which before 2020 always wrapped up its points race by mid-July, has stretched into the late summer with this rain makeup weekend and another week of action in Michigan. … I-55 hosted the series for the 21st time.

Feature lineup

Row 1: Logan Martin, Daryn Klein
Row 2: Brandon Sheppard, Bobby Pierce
Row 3: Ashton Winger, Shannon Babb
Row 4: Tanner English, Gorder Gundaker
Row 5: Mitch McGrath, Dane Dacus
Row 6:  Brent McKinnon, Jeff Roth
Row 7: Rusty Griffaw, Paul Roider
Row 8: Jason Feger, Jeff Roth
Row 9: Blaze Burwell, Paul Kuper
Row 10: Joe Godsey, Trevor Gundaker
Row 11: Michael Kloos, Brandon Lance

Consolation race results

(12 laps; top two transfer)

Finish: Blaze Burwell, Paul Kuper, Claude Walker, Tucker Finch, Thomas Hunziker, Doug Tye, Kolby Vandenbergh, Jason Suhre, Josh Heuiser, Matt Zimmerly, Scott Henseler, Tony Wolf, Joe Godsey, Tim Lance, Brandon Lance, Trevor Gundaker, Michael Kloos.

Heat race results

(10 laps; top four transfer)

First heat: Brandon Sheppard, Ashton Winger, Mitch McGrath, Rusty Griffaw, Claude Walker, Matt Zimmerly, Thomas Hunziker, Kolby Vandenbergh. Scratch: Trevor Gundaker.

Second heat: Bobby Pierce, Tanner English, Brent McKinnon, Jason Feger, Joe Godsey, Tim Lance, Jason Suhre, Doug Tye.

Third heat: Logan Martin, Shannon Babb, Dane Dacus, Paul Roider, Paul Kuper, Tucker Finch, Tony Wolf, Scott Henseler.

Fourth heat: Daryn Klein, Gordy Gundaker, Jeff Roth, Ricky Frankel, Blaze Burwell, Josh Heuiser, Brandon Lance, Michael Kloos.

Time trials

Driver (car no.), hometown 

Group A
Ashton Winger (12), Hampton, Ga., 12.291
Tanner English (81E), Benton, Ky., 12.300
Brandon Sheppard (B5), New Berlin, Ill., 12.389
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 12.394
Mitch McGrath (74), Waukesha, Wis., 12.458
Joe Godsey (14G), Edinburgh, Ind., 12.553
Claude Walker (35), Moro, Ill., 12.719
Brent McKinnon (26M), Carlyle, Ill., 12.732
Rusty Griffaw (16), Festus, Mo., 12.761
Tim Lance (48), Brimfield, Ill., 12.770
Thomas Hunziker (38), Bend, Ore., 12.794
Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill., 12.799
Kolby Vandenbergh (15), Ashland, Ill., 12.810
Jason Suhre (4), Highland, Ill., 13.079
Matt Zimmerly (26), Hillsboro, Mo., 13.417
Doug Tye (4D), Collinsville, Ill., no time
Trevor Gundaker (11), St. Charles, Mo., no time

Group B
Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 12.174
Gordy Gundaker (11), St. Charles, Mo., 12.344
Logan Martin (36), West Plains, Mo., 12.424
Daryn Klein (10), Fairview Heights, Ill., 12.466
Paul Kuper (14k), Aviston, Ill., 12.601
Michael Kloos (6K), Trenton, Ill., 12.674
Dane Dacus (54), Lakeland, Tenn., 12.707
Rickey Frankel (33), Quincy, Ill., 12.820
Paul Roider (23), Columbia, Ill., 12.860
Blaze Burwell (44), Mount Vernon, Ill., 12.864
Tucker Finch (25T), Jacksonville, Ill., 13.002
Jeff Roth (14R), Bentonville, Ark., 13.046
Tony Wolf (16W), Highland, Ill., 13.504
Josh Heuiser (1H), St. Jacob, Ill., 13.522
Scott Henseler (3), South Roxana, Ill., 14.182
Brandon Lance (248), Brimfield, Ill., 14.725

Saturday's schedule

6:45 p.m. - Drivers' meeting
7:15 p.m. - On-track activity
- Late Model hot laps
- Modified hot laps/time trials (3 laps)
- Late Model time trials (2 laps)
- Pro mod hot laps
Opening ceremonies
- Late Model heat races (10 laps)
- Modified heat races (8 laps)
- Pro mod heat races (8 laps)
- Late Model consolation (10 laps; if necessary)
- Modified consolation (10 laps; if necessary)
- Late Model last-chance race (12 laps; if necessary)
Intermission/track prep
- Late Model feature (50 laps)
- Modified feature (25 laps)
- Pro mod feature (15 laps)

Feature lineup

Row 1: Martin, Klein
Row 2: Sheppard, Pierce
Row 3: Winger, Babb
Row 4: English, G. Gundaker
Row 5: McGrath, Dacus
Row 6: McKinnon, Roth
Row 7: Griffaw, Roider
Row 8: Feger, Roth
Row 9: Burwell, Kuper
Row 10: Godsey, T. Gundaker
Row 11: Kloos, B. Lance

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