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Daily Dirt 02/23/2024 18:51:17

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May 12
Farmer City Raceway,
Farmer City, IL
Sanction: Sunoco American Late Model Series (Farmer City 74) - $20,000
Information provided by: Staff and series reports (last updated May 13, 5:18 pm)
Rich Farmer City 74 win leaves Pierce breathless
Farmer City 74
  1. Bobby Pierce
  2. Shannon Babb
  3. Mike Marlar
  4. Chase Junghans
  5. Frank Heckenast Jr.
  6. Don O'Neal
  7. Dennis Erb Jr.
  8. Billy Moyer
  9. Darrell Lanigan
  10. Kent Robinson
  11. Jason Feger
  12. Tanner English
  13. Brent Larson
  14. Jon Henry
  15. Caleb Ashby
  16. Mason Oberkramer
  17. Brian Shirley
  18. Timothy Culp
  19. Scott Schmitt
  20. Nick Hoffman
  21. Chris Ferguson
  22. Kevin Weaver
  23. Mason Zeigler
  24. Billy Moyer Jr.
  25. Austin Rettig
  26. Mike Spatola
  27. Jimmy Mars
  28. Tony Jackson Jr.
presented by
Jim DenHamer
Bobby Pierce celebrates his $20,000 victory at Farmer City.
What won the race: Piloting his backup car after a preliminary night crash, Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., blasted past Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., for the lead on lap 30 and mashed the gas for the remainder of the distance to register a $20,000 victory in the inaugural Farmer City 74 at Farmer City Raceway. The 20-year-old star sailed away from the pack during the race's second half, beating Babb to the finish line by 5.957 seconds.
Key notes: The Sunoco American Late Model Series event had co-sanctioning from the MARS DIRTcar Series East and West divisions. … Pierce continued the recent dominance of Illinois drivers in special events at Farmer City. His victory marked the 29th time in 44 races over the past 10 years that a racer from the Land of Lincoln has been triumphant.
On the move: Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., advanced from the 20th starting spot to finish seventh.
Winner's sponsors: The winning Bob Pierce Race Car is powered by a Pro Power Racing Engine and sponsored by Allgayer Inc., Champion, Hoker Trucking, AR Bodies, Carnaghi Towing & Repair and Premier Waste Services.
Car count: 58
Fast qualifier: Shannon Babb
Time: 12.560 seconds
Polesitter: Darrell Lanigan
Heat race winners: Shannon Babb, Billy Moyer Jr., Brian Shirley, Bobby Pierce, Darrell Lanigan, Mike Marlar
Consolation race winners: Chris Ferguson, Gregg Satterlee, Scott Schmitt
Next series race: May 13, Fairbury American Legion Speedway (Fairbury, IL) $10,000
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.
From staff reports

FARMER CITY, Ill. (May 12) — Bobby Pierce was left breathless after capturing Friday night’s inaugural Farmer City 74 at Farmer City Raceway.


While the hefty $20,000 top prize Pierce pocketed for capturing the Sunoco American Late Model Series-MARS DIRTcar Series event certainly blew him away, it was the frenetic 54-lap stretch of uninterrupted racing around the quarter-mile oval that closed the feature which physically drained the 20-year-old star from Oakwood, Ill.

“I was wore out in that car,” Pierce said, gasping for air as he spoke in victory lane moments after clinching his sixth overall triumph of the 2017 season. “I didn’t want a caution (late in the race) because I knew I had a good lead, but you know … I need to go to (fellow Illinois driver) Don Hammer’s gym (to get in better shape).”

While Pierce pulled away to a comfortable edge after grabbing the lead on lap 30 from Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., he never had a moment to relax over the remaining distance. He was hard on the gas virtually every he turned on the high-banked bullring, often running the ragged edge as he diced in heavy lapped traffic.

Pierce let out a sign of relief when the checkered flag finally flew on lap 74 with his father’s Pierce Platinum machine a commanding 5.957 seconds ahead of Babb, who bolted forward from the fifth starting spot to lead laps 23-29 but couldn’t keep his XR1 Rocket close to Pierce during the race’s second half.

Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn.., who led laps 1-22, finished third in his XR1 Rocket after outdueling Chase Junghans of Manhattan, Kan., for the position in a side-by-side battle that raged for most of the final 20 circuits. The seventh-starting Junghans, who was behind the wheel of a new XR1 Rocket one week after dropping off the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series, settled for a solid fourth-place finish and WoO regular Frank Heckenast Jr. of Frankfort, Ill., quietly moved forward from the 10th starting spot to complete the top five.

Pierce didn’t face any serious pressure as the A-main wore down, but he certainly found himself embroiled in tight action during the early stages. He started third but watched Babb sail by him at the initial start to take up the chase of Marlar, who jumped off the outside pole to assume command at the initial green flag.

Shortly after Pierce reached third place on lap 15, he began contesting the top spot with Marlar and Babb.

“That was a lot of fun,” Pierce said of the battle for the lead. “We were all racing each other really clean. Heck, we were all side-by-side right there.”

Ultimately the cream of the crop was Pierce, who passed Marlar for second on lap 26 and used a dive to the inside of turn three to overtake Babb for the lead on lap 30. Babb, 43, stayed with Pierce for a couple circuits and briefly drew within a few car lengths of the leader around lap 50 thanks to lapped traffic but couldn’t mount a bid to regain command.

“It looked to me like Babb had on (softer Hoosier LM) 20s because he wasn’t really warming them up (under caution),” Pierce said. “I think they really faded bad if you did, so a 74-lapper … I’m kind of surprised those guys went on a 20 if they did.”

Driving his backup car after his primary machine was sidelined with heavy damage it sustained when he vaulted off the track between turns one and two and hit the speedway’s outer guardrail during Thursday night’s preliminary feature, Pierce had a perfect setup for the evening’s conditions.

“The track was great tonight,” said Pierce, who recorded his sixth career MARS win and his 16th career ALMS triumph. “It had a bottom and a top. Normally whenever I’m good here on the top I can never run the bottom, but the car was really good tonight and I could really maneuver around. It got kind of hard there at the end though … I think my left-rear was really smoking off so I was holding on those last 20 laps.”

Pierce’s most anxious moment came during the final five laps when he had trouble lapping seventh-place Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill. The winner wasn’t happy that Erb raced him as hard as he did, forcing Pierce to push the issue more than he would have liked to finally put Erb down a lap.

“I don’t know what Erb was doing there,” Pierce said. “Like, I’m the leader, but oh well … he always does that. I don’t know what happened. But we got the win, so screw it.”

Indeed, Pierce had plenty of reasons to smile — 20,000 reasons — after rebounding from his rough Thursday-night outing to emerge victorious at his home-state track.

“It’s awesome,” Pierce said of his triumph. “I’ve got a lot of friends here, so many people that support us. Heck, as a racer, that’s all you can ask for — for people to support you. That’s what it’s all about."

Babb — a driver who certainly knows how to get around Farmer City — acknowledged that Pierce was simply faster when it counted in the 74-lapper.

“That bottom was like glue if you could hit it just right,” said Babb, who won for the first time this season in Thursday night’s 35-lap preliminary feature. “We hit it right a couple times and got out into the lead (by Marlar). It started getting a little thinner down there and I knew that the momentum line was probably better, but with this tire rule, you get out in the black with that left-rear too many times and you kill it and slow down.

“Little Bobby got by me and he looked really good. I tried to run him down the best I could, but he was able to stay out there and maybe run the center a little bit better than I could. I just wasn’t dialed in perfect, but we were real happy with the car tonight.”

Just two caution flags slowed the feature, both coming early in the distance. The first occurred on lap four when Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., who scored a $6,000 win last month during Farmer City’s WoO-sanctioned Illini 100 weekend, spun between turns one and two following contact with Babb as they battled for third place. The other caution flag flew on lap 20 when Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville, Ark., slowed while running in sixth.

Preliminary results and notes:

Pre-feature notes

After the 47-lap UMP modified feature was run first, the field for the Farmer City 74 formed up for the four-wide pace lap at exactly midnight CT. ... Polesitter Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., is looking for his first-ever win at Farmer City. His last start at the quarter-mile oval, in the 2015 World of Outlaws-sanctioned Illini 100 finale, resulted in a second-place finish. … Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., starts fifth — the same position from which he won Thursday night’s 35-lap preliminary feature. … Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., who starts third, feels confident about his chances after switching to his second car due to a hard crash during Thursday night’s feature that sidelined his primary machine. “We got a junked race car,” said Pierce, whose mount hurtled over the turn-one bank and contacted the outer guardrail hard. “It’s probably gotta go on the jib. Hopefully we can win some money tonight to help fix it up.” … Fourth-starter Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., will attempt to repeat his $6,000 victory in Farmer City’s April 2 WoO-sanctioned Illini 100 event. … Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., transferred to the feature with a third-place finish in the sixth heat after surviving an opening-lap incident that left the car of Manhattan, Ill.’s Mike Spatola sitting on Feger’s machine. … The feature’s eight provisional starters are Tony Jackson Jr., Caleb Ashby, Nick Hoffman, Austin Rettig, Jon Henry, Chris Ferguson, Mike Spatola and Mason Oberkramer. … Fairbury, Ill.’s McKay Wenger originally appeared on the feature lineup as the 27th starter thanks to a track provisional, but officials made a correction after rechecking last year's Farmer City points standings and gave the spot to Spatola. Earlier in the night Wenger ran into trouble during his heat; he started second in the first prelim but spun off turn two on the opening circuit. … Among the non-qualifiers was Ryan Unzicker of El Paso, Ill., who finished fifth in Thursday’s feature; Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., who couldn’t recover from a heat-race scrape that bent the left-rear corner of his Larry Moring-owned car; and Hudson O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., who started fourth in Heat 2 but slid high on the opening lap and never recovered. 

Feature lineup

Row 1: Darrell Lanigan, Mike Marlar
Row 2: Bobby Pierce, Brian Shirley
Row 3: Shannon Babb, Billy Moyer Jr.
Row 4: Chase Junghans, Don O’Neal
Row 5: Jimmy Mars, Frank Heckenast Jr.
Row 6: Billy Moyer, Timothy Culp
Row 7: Kevin Weaver, Brent Larson
Row 8: Mason Zeigler, Tanner English
Row 9: Kent Robinson, Jason Feger
Row 10: Scott Schmitt, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 11: Tony Jackson Jr., Caleb Ashby
Row 12: Nick Hoffman, Austin Rettig
Row 13: Jon Henry, Chris Ferguson
Row 14: Mike Spatola, Mason Oberkramer

Last chance race results

First C-main finish (10 laps/top 2 transfer to B-main): Chris Ferguson, Jon Henry, Mason Oberkramer, Joe Godsey, Daniel Flessner, Nick Hoffman, Jeff Roth, Taylor Scheffler, Russ Adams, Jeff Riddell, Paul Parker, McKay Wenger, Mike Mataragas, Hudson O’Neal.

Second C-main finish (10 laps/top 2 transfer to B-main): Gregg Satterlee, Mike Spatola, Earl Pearson Jr., Gordy Gundaker, Tony Jackson Jr., Matt Furman, Evan Hubert, Don Hammer, Nathan Vawter, Austin Rettig, Justin Asplin (DNS) Larry Greer, Scott Bull, Curtis Hobbs.

B-main finish (12 laps/top 2 transfer): Scott Schmitt, Dennis Erb Jr., Tim Manville, Billy Drake, Bob Gardner, Rusty Schlenk, Kolby Vandenbergh, Derek Chandler, Ryan Unzicker, Mike Spatola, Devin Gilpin, Gregg Satterlee, Chris Ferguson, Jon Henry, Caleb Ashby (DNS) Rich Bell.

Last chance race lineups

First C-main
(10 laps/top 2 advance to B-main)
Row 1: Mike Mataragas, Hudson O’Neal
Row 2: Chris Ferguson, Jon Henry
Row 3: Joe Godsey, Daniel Flessner
Row 4: Mason Oberkramer, Nick Hoffman
Row 5: Jeff Roth, Russ Adams
Row 6: Taylor Scheffler, Paul Parker
Row 7: McKay Wenger, Jeff Riddell
Second C-main
(10 laps/top 2 advance to B-main)
Row 1: Gregg Satterlee, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 2: Mike Spatola, Tony Jackson Jr.
Row 3: Gordy Gundaker, Don Hammer
Row 4: Justin Asplin, Austin Rettig
Row 5: Matt Furman, Evan Hubert
Row 6: Nathan Vawter, Scott Bull
Row 7: Larry Greer, Curtis Hobbs
(12 laps/top 2 transfer)
Row 1: Caleb Ashby, Scott Schmitt
Row 2: Bob Gardner, Billy Drake
Row 3: Dennis Erb Jr., Tim Manville
Row 4: Derek Chandler, Kolby Vandenbergh
Row 5: Devin Gilpin, Rich Bell
Row 6: Ryan Unzicker, Rusty Schlenk
Row 7: Chris Ferguson, Gregg Satterlee
Row 8: Jon Henry, Mike Spatola

Heat race results

First heat finish (10 laps/top 3 transfer): Shannon Babb, Chase Junghans, Kevin Weaver, Caleb Ashby, Derek Chandler, Mike Mataragas, Jon Henry, Mason Oberkramer, Russ Adams, McKay Wenger.

Second heat finish (10 laps/top 3 transfer): Billy Moyer Jr., Jimmy Mars, Mason Zeigler, Scott Schmitt, Kolby Vandenbergh, Hudson O’Neal, Joe Godsey, Nick Hoffman, Taylor Scheffler, Jeff Riddell.

Third heat finish (10 laps/top 3 transfer): Brian Shirley, Billy Moyer, Kent Robinson, Bob Gardner, Devin Gilpin, Chris Ferguson, Daniel Flessner, Jeff Roth, Paul Parker.

Fourth heat finish (10 laps/top 3 transfer): Bobby Pierce, Don O’Neal, Brent Larson, Billy Drake, Rich Bell, Gregg Satterlee, Tony Jackson Jr., Justin Asplin, Evan Hubert, Nathan Vawter.

Fifth heat finish (10 laps/top 3 transfer): Darrell Lanigan, Frank Heckenast Jr., Tanner English, Dennis Erb Jr., Ryan Unzicker, Earl Pearson Jr., Gordy Gundaker, Austin Rettig (DNS) Larry Greer, Curtis Hobbs.

Sixth heat finish (10 laps/top 3 transfer): Mike Marlar, Timothy Culp, Jason Feger, Tim Manville, Rusty Schlenk, Mike Spatola, Don Hammer, Matt Furman, Scott Bull.

Heat race lineups

(10 laps; top 3 transfer)
First heat
Row 1: Shannon Babb, McKay Wenger
Row 2: Chase Junghans, Kevin Weaver
Row 3: Caleb Ashby, Derek Chandler
Row 4: Jon Henry, Mike Mataragas
Row 5: Russ Adams, Mason Oberkramer
Second heat
Row 1: Billy Moyer Jr., Mason Zeigler
Row 2: Jimmy Mars, Hudson O’Neal
Row 3: Scott Schmitt, Kolby Vandenbergh
Row 4: Nick Hoffman, Joe Godsey
Row 5: Taylor Scheffler, Jeff Riddell
Third heat
Row 1: Billy Moyer, Brian Shirley
Row 2: Kent Robinson, Chris Ferguson
Row 3: Devin Gilpin, Bob Gardner
Row 4: Daniel Flessner, Paul Parker
Row 5: Jeff Roth
Fourth heat
Row 1: Bobby Pierce, Brent Larson
Row 2: Billy Drake, Don O’Neal
Row 3: Rich Bell, Gregg Satterlee
Row 4: Justin Asplin, Tony Jackson Jr.
Row 5: Evan Hubert, Nathan Vawter
Fifth heat
Row 1: Darrell Lanigan, Tanner English
Row 2: Frank Heckenast Jr., Ryan Unzicker
Row 3: Dennis Erb Jr., Gordy Gundaker
Row 4: Earl Pearson Jr., Larry Greer
Row 5: Austin Rettig, Curtis Hobbs
Sixth heat
Row 1: Mike Marlar, Timothy Culp
Row 2: Rusty Schlenk, Mike Spatola
Row 3: Tim Manville, Jason Feger
Row 4: Scott Bull, Don Hammer
Row 5: Matt Furman

Qualifying results

First group   
Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 12.560
Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark., 12.706
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 12.754
McKay Wenger (42), Fairbury, Ill., 12.760
Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa., 12.805
Brian Shirley (3s), Chatham, Ill., 12.823
Chase Junghans (18c), Manhattan, Kan., 12.835
Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis., 12.844
Kent Robinson (7R), Bloomington, Ind., 12.866
Kevin Weaver (12), Gibson City, Ill., 12.888
Hudson O'Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., 12.911
Chris Ferguson (22), Mount Holly, N.C., 12.919
Caleb Ashby (61), Cunningham, Tenn., 12.941
Scott Schmitt (10S), Tonica, Ill., 12.944
Devin Gilpin (1G), Columbus, Ind., 12.990
Derek Chandler (35), Pontiac, Ill., 12.998
Kolby Vandenbergh (15V), Ashland, Ill., 13.050
Bob Gardner (4G), East Peoria, Ill., 13.053
Jon Henry (15), Ada, Ohio, 13.115
Nick Hoffman (2), Mooresville, N.C., 13.152
Daniel Flessner (9D), Roberts, Ill., 13.164
Mike Mataragas (1M), Dekalb, Ill., 13.187
Joe Godsey (26R), Bedford, Ind., 13.189
Paul Parker (10), Kaukana, Wis., 13.363
Russ Adams (74), Princeville, Ill., 13.410
Taylor Scheffler (10s), Waukesha, Wis., 13.531
Jeff Roth (14R), Bentonville, Ark., 13.646
Mason Oberkramer (93), Broseley, Mo., 13.719
Jeff Riddell (09), Steward, Ill., 14.059
Second group   
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 12.861
Darrell Lanigan (14), Union, Ky., 12.925
Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., 12.946
Brent Larson (B1), Lake Elmo, Minn., 12.988
Tanner English (96), Benton, Ky., 13.005
Timothy Culp (c8), Prattsville, Ark., 13.010
Billy Drake (75), Bloomington, Ill., 13.017
Frank Heckenast Jr. (99Jr), Frankfort, Ill., 13.019
Rusty Schlenk (CJ1), McClure, Ohio, 13.020
Don O'Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind., 13.061
Ryan Unzicker (24), El Paso, Ill., 13.080
Mike Spatola (89), Manhattan, Ill., 13.094
Rich Bell (21B), Sheffield, Ill., 13.095
Dennis Erb Jr. (28e), Carpentersville, Ill., 13.101
Tim Manville (33), Highland, Ill., 13.101
Gregg Satterlee (22), Indiana, Pa., 13.147
Gordy Gundaker (11), St. Charles, Mo., 13.170
Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill., 13.189
Justin Asplin (77A), Birchtree, Mo., 13.251
Earl Pearson Jr. (1P), Jacksonville, Fla., 13.302
Scott Bull (83), Fairbury, Ill., 13.420
Tony Jackson Jr. (56), Lebanon, Mo., 13.448
Larry Greer (9G), Bowling Green, Ky., 13.481
Don Hammer (45), Clinton, Ill., 13.581
Evan Hubert (9), Cross Timbers, Mo., 13.602
Austin Rettig (94), Sikeston, Mo., 13.825
Matt Furman (51), Portland, Ore., 13.928
Nathan Vawter (17V), Columbus, Ind., 14.094
Curtis Hobbs (53), Farmer City, Ill., 14.640

Feature lineup

Row 1: Lanigan, Marlar
Row 2: Pierce, Shirley
Row 3: Babb, Moyer Jr.
Row 4: Junghans, D. O’Neal
Row 5: Mars, Heckenast
Row 6: Moyer, Culp
Row 7: Weaver, Larson
Row 8: Zeigler, English
Row 9: Robinson, Feger
Row 10: Schmitt, Erb
Row 11: Jackson, Ashby
Row 12: Hoffman, Rettig
Row 13: Henry, Ferguson
Row 14: Spatola, Oberkramer
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