DUBUQUE, Iowa — Three times Bobby Pierce dove under Devin Moran to take the lead in turn four at Dubuque Speedway, but three times Devin Moran's crossover move carried him back ahead.
The fourth time's a charm? It was in this case as Pierce's lap-48 move carried him into the lead for good Monday at Dubuque Speedway as the 26-year-old Oakwood, Ill., driver led the final three laps at the 3/8-mile oval for an XR Super Series event worth $20,000.
The eighth-starting Pierce's second career XRSS victory maintained his hot streak of five victories in his last nine starts, including a $50,000 payday 48 hours earlier in Deer Creek Speedway's NAPA Auto Parts Gopher 50 on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series in Spring Valley, Minn.
"It's 70-grand the past two races," Pierce said. "We can't complain at all."
At Dubuque, Pierce took the checkers 1.078 seconds ahead of Dresden, Ohio's Moran, who went from third-to-first during an early stretch that saw polesitter Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., and then Hudson O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind., knocked out of the lead by flat tires.
Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., who ran into trouble himself on the 18th lap when he spun after contact with Pierce in turn three, rallied back to finish third in Rumley Engineering's developmental Longhorn Chassis. Thornton and O'Neal came back to finish fourth in fifth in a race where half of 24 starters were running at the finish.
Pierce, who started in the fourth row but broke into the top five by the seventh lap, reached the second spot on lap 19 and began virtually constant pressure of Moran. Just past halfway Pierce got by briefly in turn four, but Moran hustled back by before the frontrunners hit the start-finish line, keeping Moran out front.
As the laps wound down, Pierce twice more made his move with about 10 laps remaining as Moran again repelled the attack with a crossover down the frontstretch. Finally, after the last of seven slowdowns, Pierce made his pass stick on lap 48 and edged away in the final laps.
"He was better than me, it felt like, the whole race," said the third-starting Moran, a winner of a Gopher 50 preliminary feature Thursday at Deer Creek. "I should've kept running that floater line into (turns) one and two. I don't know if he would have ever been able to (pass) me, because I could get that traction off the top of (turn) two. Just the way it goes. We're leaps and bounds better than what we were as a race team compared to what we were two months ago."
While Sheppard recovered from his early spin, he couldn't find a way past Moran or Pierce late in the 50-lap feature while driving his Kevin Rumley-prepared car.
"It was dang good again tonight," Sheppard said. "It sucks there what happened at the beginning of the race. My right-front tire was going down — I think it was going down a lap before me and Bobby got together — and (the car) pushed getting into (turn) one, I thought, 'Man. that don't feel right.' Then I seen Bobby coming down into (turn) three, but my right-front tire was flat. I tried to keep from hitting him, and like I said, the right-front just shoved off of it and I got into him there.
"Those guys gave me a really good race car. We were able to come up all the way through there. I think we had a car capable of winning the race. It was tough racing out there."
Notes: Pierce's first XRSS victory came Nov. 12, 2022, at the Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway Dirt Track (he also won an XR-promoted event at Las Vegas a year earlier). ... Dubuque runner-up Devin Moran led laps 19-47. ... Ricky Thornton Jr. led the first 15 laps before a flat tire forced him to pit. ... Hudson O'Neal led laps 16-18 before a flat tire during a caution period sent him to the infield for fresh rubber (he had another flat during the lap-42 caution). ... Besides the lap-16 yellow for leader Thornton's flat tire, the race had six other slowdowns. ... A lap-46 yellow flag appeared for seventh-running Mike Marlar's frontstretch spin. ... A lap-43 yellow fell, apparently for debris. ... Luke Merfield and Tyler Erb tangled in turn one on lap 19; neither driver was hurt but the wreck required a red-flag cleanup. ... Fifth-running Brandon Sheppard spun in turn three on the 12th lap after side-by-side contact with Pierce. ... Bumper tag in turn two on a lap-six restart ended with Chad Simpson spinning. ... Garrett Alberson retired with a lap-six flat tire.. ... Thornton's 16.191-second time trial lowered the track record. ... Among drivers failing to make the feature lineup: Heckenast, Shane Clanton, Spencer Diercks, Jeff Larson, Mitch McGrath and Jason Rauen