NEW RICHMOND, Wis. (June 18) — Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., continued to turn back the clock at Cedar Lake Speedway, completing a $15,000 sweep of the UMP DIRTcar Summernationals-sanctioned Masters weekend with a victory in Saturday night's 50-lap finale.
The 58-year-old veteran nosed out Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., for the lead just before a caution flag flew on lap 26 and controlled the remainder of the distance for a $10,000 payday that backed up his five-grand score in the previous night's 40-lap A-Main.
A winner at Cedar Lake in five of the first six USA Nationals from 1988-1993 and a ’94 Summernationals event, Moyer snapped a six-year victory drought at the third-mile, high-banked oval on Friday night. Repeating on Saturday evening’s bigger stage made it clear the the Hall of Fame driver hasn’t lost his ability to negotiate the track just nine months after he announced his retirement from full-time Dirt Late Model competition.
“We’ve been coming up here for a long time and had a good handle on the place for a while but it kind of got away from us,” said Moyer, whose fourth career Hell Tour triumph at Cedar Lake pushed his all-time record win total on the series to 92. “We’ve been here and run good (since his domination of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s) but we just didn’t get the ‘w,’ so this weekend, to win two of ‘em in a row, is pretty neat.”
Moyer became the second driver to sweep the Masters doubleheader in the four years that both ends of the weekend were able to beat the weather since the event became part of the Summernationals in 2010. His son, Billy Moyer Jr., was the first back-to-back victor in 2012.
Though Moyer started from the pole position for the second consecutive night, he led only the race’s first lap before the 19-year-old Pierce took control and set the pace through lap 23. Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., stormed forward to slide past Moyer for second on lap 20 and then surge into the lead on lap 24, but Pierce went back on top on lap 25 before transponder scoring showed Moyer nipped Pierce by 0.037 of a second at the start-finish on lap 26 for the race's last lead change.
After the feature’s third and final caution flag flew on lap 26 with Moyer ruled as the leader, passing became especially difficult. Pierce got close to Moyer in lapped traffic late in the distance, but with the track locked down he couldn't make a move and settled for second place, 1.537 seconds behind Moyer.
Feger finished close to Pierce in third place. Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., who briefly overtook Feger for third early in the race, placed fourth and Jason Krohn of Slayton, Minn., backed up his runner-up finish on Friday night with a solid fifth-place run from the eighth starting spot.
Moyer wasn’t the class of the field from the initial green flag, but he was plenty quick at the most critical moment of the race.
“(Pierce) was real good off the get-go, but we were just biding our time and checking things out and trying different grooves on the racetrack,” Moyer said. “A lot of times here the top side is real dominant, but this weekend it didn’t seem to be. We stayed middle-to-bottom most of the time.
“I was chasing it around, and I kind of figured, set-up-wise, the first 10 laps we weren’t where we needed to be, but at the end we was and that’s what counts.”
The action heated up on lap 24 when Feger, who started fourth, vaulted past Pierce to assume command. Moments later, though, Pierce swung his car to the outside of Feger off turn two and nosed ahead down the backstretch before the two drivers brushed together in turn three, sending Pierce up the track and breaking Feger’s moments.
Moyer had a front-row seat for the scramble and charged into the opening Pierce and Feger left on the inside of the track. Pierce barely beat Moyer to the start-finish line to lead lap 25, but Moyer was scored the leader on lap 26 according to the transponder — though a video replay appeared to indicate that Pierce might have actually been ahead crossing the line — and a caution flag that same circuit put Moyer in front for the restart.
At almost precisely that same time the racing surface began to develop one prime lane that had taken rubber — and with that, Moyer found himself in the driver’s seat. He controlled the remainder of the distance as the top 10 cars effectively fell in line.
“I thought Jason was gonna go and win the race there,” Moyer said of Feger, who recently began driving a Billy Moyer Victory Race Car. “I don’t know if (Feger and Pierce) got to trying to block each other — he was trying to come up, he was trying to come down — but they got together and just opened it up for me where I could get back by the 25 (Feger), and then me and Bobby just raced side-by-side for a few laps.
“We was right there side-by-side (with Pierce for the lead) when the caution came out, but I was a little bit ahead of him I thought. Then it a little bit of rubber come … everything fell right for us.”
Moyer was so pleased with his win that he kissed the roof of his Victory Race Car after exiting it in victory lane. He was made even happier when he learned that his son had won the Sunoco American Late Model Series-sanctioned Barney Oldfield Memorial at Oakshade Raceway in Wauseon, Ohio, and several other campaigners of Moyer Victory car had enjoyed good nights.
“That’s cool. That makes me proud,” Moyer said of his son’s triumph. “Our cars are running good … Don Shaw won tonight at Alexandria, Minn., too, and Feger’s there running good with his new car.
“We’re sneaking up on ‘em. We’re just trying to make the cars better and better, and we’re getting some better drivers in them now. It makes me smile when we get a win and when all them guys in our stuff run good.”
Pierce, meanwhile, fell short of the first-ever Cedar Lake win he craved.
“I wanted to win one here really bad,” said Pierce, who started from the outside pole. “I think two years ago (Rick) Eckert beat me (for a Summernationals checkered flag) just barely with like two laps to go. It was kind of the same deal (as Saturday) — he passed me on the bottom on a sort of rubbered-up racetrack.”
Pierce simply came out on the wrong end of the mid-race scramble between himself, Feger and Moyer.
“Feger really caught me off guard there,” said Pierce, who padded his Summernationals points lead with his third top-five finish in as many races. “I thought it was gonna be Billy (challenging), but (Feger) got that run on the top and then I moved up. I barely snuck back around him (on lap 26) and then he charged back in the corner and we bumped wheels a little bit and Billy got under me … perfect timing for him because the caution came out right there (with the track rubbered).”
Feger wasn’t sure what to make of the flurry that dropped him from a potential win to an eventual third-place finish.
“Our car was actually really good until our right-front kind of got ran over and got bent,” Feger said of his run-in with Pierce. “It was hard to steer after that.
“I got up there (on the outside) and I was going for the lead, and had the lead, and then just … you know what I’m saying? Just hard racing. About that time it started rubbering up …. it got one-lane on the bottom and you just had to get down there and follow the leader."
Prior to the lap-26 caution flag, two other slowdowns came early in the race. Timothy Culp of Prattsville, Ark., brought out a lap-four caution after he tangled on the backstretch with Mike Spatola of Manhattan, Ill., and limped toward the pit area, and on lap 14 Mike Mullen of Suamico, Wis., stopped against the turn-three wall.
Preliminary results and notes:
The field for the 50-lap feature rolled onto the track at about 10:10 p.m. CT. ... Billy Moyer will start from the pole position for the second consecutive night after picking the best number in the redraw among heat winners. It is actually the third straight Summernationals feature at Cedar Lake that Moyer has led to the green flag; he was the polesitter for last year’s Masters finale, but his run up front was short-lived because he slowed with a flat tire while leading and handed the top spot to eventual winner Jason Feger. … Jimmy Mars starts third in the 50-lapper after using a lap-eight restart to his advantage in the third heat. He grabbed the lead from Chris Simpson, who slipped from first to fourth in the prelim’s final two circuits. … A.J. Diemel, who finished second to Feger in last year’s Masters finale, had to rely on a provisional to gain entry to the A-Main. … Timothy Culp’s bad luck continued when he slowed with a flat right-front tire with two laps remaining in the third heat while running second. He didn’t make the cut through the last-chance race but will start the feature thanks to a Summernationals provisional. … Jason Rauen used a Corn Belt Clash Series provisional to grab the 24th starting spot after tangling in his heat race with Lance Matthees and failing to transfer in the consolation after making hasty repairs.
C-Main finish (top 3 transfer): Mike Mullen, David Fieber, Lance Matthees, Brent Larson, A.J. Diemel, Gordy Gundaker, Paul Parker, Mike Spatola, Don Hammer, Mark Rose, Timothy Culp, Zachary Wohlers, Jason Rauen (DNS) Mike Fryer.
(10 laps; top 3 transfer to feature)
Row 1: Mike Mullen, David Fieber
Row 2: Zachary Wohlers, Brent Larson
Row 3: Lance Matthees, Paul Parker
Row 4: Gordy Gundaker, Don Hammer
Row 5: Mike Spatola, Mark Rose
Row 6: A.J. Diemel, Timothy Culp
Row 7: Mike Fryer, Jason Rauen
Heat race results
First heat finish (top 5 transfer): Billy Moyer, Jason Feger, Rodney Sanders, Nick Anvelink, Bob Gardner, Mike Mullen, Brent Larson, Gordy Gundaker, Mark Rose, Mike Fryer.
Second heat finish (top 5 transfer): Bobby Pierce, Ricky Thornton Jr., Jason Krohn, Jordan Yaggy, Allen Murray, David Fieber, Lance Matthees, Don Hammer, A.J. Diemel, Jason Rauen.
Third heat finish (top 5 transfer): Jimmy Mars, Mike Marlar, Rodney Melvin, Chris Simpson, Ryan Unzicker, Zachary Wohlers, Paul Parker, Mike Spatola, Timothy Culp.
A 29-car field is set to do battle for the second straight night. No new drivers have entered the action. … Summernationals points leader Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., will run this evening’s program without a backup car as insurance. The machine he parked Friday night after heat action due to a dropped valve in its new engine hasn’t had a backup powerplant installed; rather than make the swap this afternoon, Pierce and his father, Bob, decided to focus on the car he steered to a fourth-place finish from the 18th starting spot in Friday night’s 40-lap feature. Pierce said his team’s two Dickens engines are now down, leaving him with a pair of Pro Power motors in his current arsenal. … Timothy Culp of Prattsville, Ark., hasn’t had much luck so far in his second attempt to chase the full Summernationals schedule. After the fresh engine in his new Pierce Platinum car shut down with terminal problems Thursday night at Kankakee (Ill.) County Speedway, he pulled out his older Pierce mount Friday night and promptly damaged it significantly early in the feature when he hit the turn-three wall hard because he had unknowingly broke a brake line moments earlier while scraping the guardrail in turns one and two. “We have one car and motor left so we almost decided to go home this morning,” said Culp, “but we’re gonna try to stick it out.” Culp and his crew pulled the engine out of his crashed car and installed it in his new machine today; he hopes to get through the next two nights and then take his damaged car to Pierce’s shop on the Monday off day for possible repairs and expects to soon have a couple freshened engines back in his possession. … After struggling to get rolling on Friday night, Mike Spatola of Manhattan, Ill., pulled out his newer Warrior car and used a provisional to run it in the feature. He finished 20th but made some gains that he hopes will show up this evening when he enters the same machine. … Don Hammer of Clinton, Ill., was the last driver to arrive for Friday night’s program due to travel problems on his way north. His toter home was stricken with fuel-system issues about two hours from Cedar Lake; his son, Kyle, and a crewman were a short distance behind in a pickup truck, so that vehicle was attached to Hammer’s open trailer and the team continued on to the track with one crewman remaining behind to get the toter home fixed. The toter arrived at the track during the feature, which Hammer didn’t run after failing to qualify.
The UMP DIRTcar Summernationals remains at Cedar Lake Speedway for the second half of the Masters weekend, one of two occasions on the 2016 Hell Tour that one track hosts back-to-back races. The series concludes with a July 15-16 twin bill at Oakshade Raceway in Wauseon, Ohio.
Temperatures rose into the mid 80s and skies were partly sunny on Saturday night afternoon. There appears to be no threat of rain for the program, which is scheduled to begin with hot laps at 6:30 p.m. CT.
If the car count is 31 or lower, Saturday night’s card will once again consist of three qualifying groups to set the lineups for a trio of 10-lap heat races. A consolation event will also be contested to fill out the feature field.
Heat race lineups
(Heats aligned straight-up from qualifying results; 10 laps, top 5 transfer)
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 14.392
Rodney Sanders (20), Happy, Texas, 14.408
Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill., 14.471
Bob Gardner (4G), East Peoria, Ill., 14.606
Nick Anvelink (15), Bonduel, Wis., 14.72
Gordy Gundaker (11), St. Charles, Mo., 14.886
Mike Mullen (99), Suamico, Wis., 14.888
Brent Larson (B1), Lake Elmo, Minn., 14.955
Mike Fryer (54), Freeport, Ill., 15.577
Mark Rose (28R), Dorchester, Wis., 15.829
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 14.619
Jordan Yaggy (77), Rochester, Minn., 14.649
Jason Krohn (7K), Slayton, Minn., 14.662
Jason Rauen (98), Farley, Iowa, 14.732
Ricky Thornton Jr. (33x), Chandler, Ariz., 14.767
A.J. Diemel (58), Elk Mound, Wis., 15.07
Allen Murray (2), San Antonio, Texas, 15.083
Lance Matthees (90), Winona, Wis., 15.133
Don Hammer (45), Clinton, Ill., 15.322
David Fieber (1F), Neenah, Wis., 15.424
Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, 14.687
Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., 14.923
Timothy Culp (c8), Prattsville, Ark., 14.94
Ryan Unzicker (24), El Paso, Ill., 14.99
Mike Spatola (89), Manhattan, Ill., 15.061
Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis., 15.208
Rodney Melvin (27M), Benton, Ill., 15.462
Zachary Wohlers (71), Kelly Lake, Minn., 15.658
Paul Parker (10), Depere, Wis., 15.984