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Daily Dirt 12/11/2023 13:53:43

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July 10
Tri-City Speedway,
Granite City, IL
Sanction: DIRTcar Summer Nationals - $10,000
Information provided by: Todd Turner (last updated July 13, 9:02 am)
Pierce grabs $10,000 DIRTcar tour win at Tri-City
  1. Bobby Pierce
  2. Ryan Unzicker
  3. Rick Eckert
  4. Chris Simpson
  5. Brian Shirley
  6. Billy Moyer
  7. Rodney Melvin
  8. Frank Heckenast Jr.
  9. Ryan Gustin
  10. Kolby Vandenbergh
  11. Allen Weisser
  12. Gordy Gundaker
  13. Rickey Frankel
  14. Billy Laycock
  15. Jason Feger
  16. Tim Lance
  17. Bob Gardner
  18. Shannon Babb
  19. Jeff Herzog
  20. Johnny Scott
  21. Trevor Gundaker
  22. Tyler Carpenter
presented by
Jimmy Dearing/stlracingphotos.com
Bobby Pierce emerges after his $10,000 Tri-City victory.
What won the race: Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., swept around Ryan Unzicker exiting turn two on the 22nd lap and led the rest of Friday's 40-lap DIRTcar Summer Nationals main event at Tri-City Speedway. Pierce stretched his lead in the final laps to win by 3.937 seconds over Unzicker with Rick Eckert third.
Key notes: Tri-City hosted its biggest Super Late Model race of the season so far. ... Tri-City hosted the series for the 21st time. ... Covid-19 restrictions forced a revamping of the tour schedule, which includes splitting the tour for the first time into July and August phases (no racing between July 26-Aug. 11). ... Tri-City is part of VP Racing Fuels Week, the first of five weeks carrying a $5,000 points fund. ... The series pays $25,000 to the champion and $2,000 to each week's top points earner. ... Series events are streamed live at DIRTvision.com.
On the move: Frank Heckenast Jr. of Frankfort, Ill., started 19th and finished eighth.
Winner's sponsors: Pierce’s Pierce Race Car has a Mullins or Durham engine with sponsorship from Hoker Trucking, Allgayer Inc., Premier Waste Services, Mesilla Valley Transportation, Carnaghi Towing, Viper Risk Management, Extreme Electric, First Spear, Quality Paint & Body, Leka Tree Service, Advanced Suspension and Allstar Performance.
Points chase: Bobby Pierce leads series points after two completed events.
Current weather: Clear, 77°F
Car count: 34
Fast qualifier: Brian Shirley
Time: 14.692 seconds
Polesitter: Johnny Scott
Heat race winners: Ryan Unzicker, Chris Simpson, Rick Eckert, Johnny Scott
Consolation race winners: Tim Lance, Jason Suhre
Provisional starters: Frank Heckenast Jr., Jason Feger, Gordy Gundaker, Tyler Carpenter
Next series race: July 14, Plymouth Speedway (Plymouth, IN) $5,000
Editor's note: Corrects winner’s engine builders.
By Todd Turner
DirtonDirt.com managing editor

GRANITE CITY, Ill. — Front-row starters Johnny Scott and Ryan Unzicker mixed it up in a tight showdown in the first half of Friday’s 40-lap DIRTcar Summer Nationals event at Tri-City Speedway, swapping the lead and swapping grooves.

But lurking just behind the lead duo was Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., who spoiled the Scott-Unzicker battle by catching the frontrunners and eventually sweeping around Unzicker exiting turn two on the 22nd lap and pulling away for a $10,000 victory.

“We got past that one lapped car and (Unzicker) got back down,” said the three-time series champ Pierce, the series leader after two points races. “I was like, ’Well, we need to get around him right now before he moves back up.’ Luckily we pulled it off.”

Pierce took the checkers 3.769 seconds ahead of Unzicker, the El Paso, Ill., driver who led laps 1-10 and 14-21 at the 3/8-mile oval near St. Louis, Mo. Rick Eckert of York, Pa., drove Texan Allen Murray’s car to a third-place finish while Chris Simpson of Oxford, Iowa, and Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., rounded out the top five.

Scott, of Las Cruces, N.M., retired on lap 23 with nosepiece damage after clipping a turn-three tire barrier while 14th-starting Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., rallied to fourth but retired on lap 35 with engine woes.

Pierce, who started fifth, was glad he didn’t run into much trouble on a tricky surface.

“The lapped cars were just so hard to pass. You didn’t know where they were going,” Pierce said. “Luckily we got by him without tearing anything up. After the checkers, actually, the left side kind of got bent in a little bit from a lapped car, but that’s partially my fault. I kind of pulled in a little late.”

Unzicker was pleased with his runner-up performance.

“My team’s tickled to death. Obviously we (are) a little disappointed, but you can’t bow your head to finish second to Bobby on the cushion,” Unzicker said. “I mean, he’s one of the best in the country on the cushion. When I seen him drive by me on the outside when I was flirted around the bottom and the middle, then I moved my line up there, it didn’t feel too bad, but he’s got just a lot more balls than I do, I guess.

“I was just having to drive that thing really aggressive. But we put on a heckuva good show for the whole 40 (laps). … I can’t be more proud of my crew.”

A single yellow slowed the action. The first start was scrapped when Gordy Gundaker and Frank Heckenast Jr., ended up facing the wrong direction between turns three and fourth.

Notes: The feature ended about 10 p.m. … Pierce’s 26th career series victory ties him with Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., for fifth on the all-time list. … Frank Heckenast Jr. pitted after the first-lap caution but he rallied to finish eighth and earn hard charger honors. … A dozen driver completed 40 laps. … Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., gained four spots to finish sixth after he lost a heat race for mistaking the white flag for the checkered.

Preliminary results and notes:

Pre-feature notes

With a new 11 p.m. curfew, the Late Model feature was ready to roll before 9:45 p.m. ... Johnny Scott is on the pole for the 40-lapper after his victory in the fourth heat. … Prelims were eventful, if nothing else, with Tyler Carpenter involved in a couple of scrapes and several drivers mistaking the white flag for the checkered in a heat race, causing some havoc. … Billy Moyer was leading the second heat after nine laps and abruptly slowed, believe he’d seen the checkers. But Chris Simpson blew by for the victory while Moyer recovered to finish third behind Rodney Melvin, who was fourth at the white. Frank Heckenast Jr. was running third and pulled to the infield to go to the scales where he found out he was scored sixth (“That ruined my night,” he said, taking a provisional in the feature). … Shannon Babb, who was fourth in the bizarre heat, said it’s always difficult to see the flagger at twilight and he made the same mistake himself in 2012. … Rodney Melvin admittedly ran Tyler Carpenter up into wall in turns three and four in the second heat after Melvin said Carpenter got into him early in the race. … In the B-main, Carpenter was in the middle of another mess while trying to overtake Tim Manville, triggered a turn-three pileup. … Also in prelims Gordy Gundaker broke a driveshaft running fifth in the third heat and was forced to take a provisional for the feature. … Derek Fetter got into the turn-three wall in his heat.

Consolation results

B-main (top two transfer; 12 laps): Tim Lance, Billy Laycock, Tim Manville, Paul Kuper, Rusty Griffaw, Jason Suhre, Reid Millard, Tim Lance Jr., Jimmy Miller, Tyler Carpenter, Frank Heckenast Jr., Jeb Simmons. Scratched: Jason Feger, Gordy Gundaker.

C-main (top two transfer; 10 laps): Jason Suhre, Reid Millard, Adam Tischhauser, Derek Fetter, Daryn Klein, Mark Voigt.

Heat race results

(10 laps; top four transfer)

First heat: Ryan Unzicker, Bobby Pierce, Brian Shirley, Ryan Gustin, Billy Laycock, Tim Manville, Tim Lance Jr., Daryn Klein, Mark Voigt.

Second heat: Chris Simpson, Rodney Melvin, Billy Moyer, Shannon Babb, Tim Lance, Frank Heckenast Jr., Tyler Carpenter, Jason Suhre.

Third heat: Rick Eckert, Kolby Vandenbergh, Rickey Frankel, Allen Weisser, Jason Feger, Gordy Gundaker, Jeb Simmons, Derek Fetter, Adam Tischhauser.

Fourth heat: Johnny Scott, Jeff Herzog, Bob Gardner, Trevor Gundaker, Rusty Griffaw, Paul Kuper, Jimmy Miller, Reid Milard.

Time trials (unofficial)

Group A
Driver (car no.), hometown

  1. Brian Shirley (3S), Chatham, Ill., 14.692
  2. Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, 14.721
  3. Ryan Unzicker (24), El Paso, Ill., 14.809
  4. Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 14.834
  5. Ryan Gustin (19), Marshalltown, Iowa, 14.884
  6. Rodney Melvin (33), Benton, Ill., 14.991
  7. Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 15.021
  8. Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., 15.022
  9. Daryn Klein (10), Fairview Heights, Ill., 15.026
  10. Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 15.033
  11. Tim Manville (33), Highland, Ill., 15.118
  12. Tyler Carpenter (28), Parkersburg, W.Va., 15.181
  13. Billy Laycock (82), Marine, Ill., 15.290
  14. Tim Lance (48), Brimfield, Ill., 15.463
  15. Mark Voigt (30), Marine, Ill., 15.614
  16. Jason Suhre (4), Highland, Ill., 15.674
  17. Tim Lance Jr. (48L), Brimfield, Ill., 17.705

Group B

  1. Rick Eckert (0), York, Pa., 15.095
  2. Johnny Scott (1st), Las Cruces, N.M., 15.102
  3. Kolby Vandenbergh (15), Ashland, Ill., 15.130
  4. Jeff Herzog (11H), Herculaneum, Mo., 15.270
  5. Allen Weisser (25w), Peoria, Ill., 15.381
  6. Bob Gardner (4G), East Peoria, Ill., 15.464
  7. Rickey Frankel (33), Quincy, Ill., 15.502
  8. Trevor Gundaker (11), St. Charles, Mo., 15.527
  9. Gordy Gundaker (11), St. Charles, Mo., 15.657
  10. Paul Kuper (14k), Breese, Ill., 15.699
  11. Rusty Griffaw (16), Festus, Mo., 15.833
  12. Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill., 15.833
  13. Derek Fetter (32F), Troy, Mo., 16.055
  14. Jimmy Miller (18), Highland, Ill., 16.705
  15. Jeb Simmons (86), Wentzville, Mo., 17.213
  16. Reid Millard (14R), Jefferson City, Mo., 17.286
  17. Adam Tischhauser (T4), Greenville, Ill., no time

Friday’s schedule

6 p.m. - Drivers’ meeting
6:30 p.m. - Hot laps
- Super Late Model hot laps
- Modified hot laps/time trials
- B-mod hot laps
- Super Late Model time trials
Opening ceremonies
- Modified heats (8 laps)
- Super Late Model heats (10 laps)
- B-mod heats (8 laps)
- Super Late Model C-main (10 laps)
- Modifed consolation (8 laps)
- Super Late Model B-main (12 laps)
- B-mod consolation (10 laps)
Intermission/track prep
- Super Late Model feature (40 laps)
- Modified feature (25 laps)
- B-mod feature (20 laps)

Feature lineup

Row 1: Scott, Unzicker
Row 2: Simpson, Eckert
Row 3: Pierce, Melvin
Row 4: Vandenbergh, Herzog
Row 5: Shirley, Moyer
Row 6: Frankel, Gardner
Row 7: Gustin, Babb
Row 8: Weisser, T. Gundaker
Row 9: Lance Sr., Laycock
Row 10: Heckenast, Feger
Row 11: G. Gundaker, Carpenter

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