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Daily Dirt 12/10/2023 11:22:50

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September 2
Deer Creek Speedway,
Spring Valley, MN
Sanction: World of Outlaws Case Late Model Series (Labor Day Duel) - $20,000
Information provided by: Series and track reports (last updated September 3, 10:48 am)
Pierce fends off B-Shepp for Deer Creek's $20,000
Labor Day Duel
  1. Bobby Pierce
  2. Brandon Sheppard
  3. Dustin Sorensen
  4. Kyle Bronson
  5. Ryan Gustin
  6. Cade Dillard
  7. Brent Larson
  8. Chris Madden
  9. Dennis Erb Jr.
  10. Shane Clanton
  11. Stormy Scott
  12. Brian Shirley
  13. Jake Timm
  14. Tyler Bruening
  15. Nick Anvelink
  16. Nick Hoffman
  17. Gordy Gundaker
  18. Blair Nothdurft
  19. James Giossi
  20. Nick Panitzke
  21. Tanner English
  22. Lance Matthees
  23. Todd Cooney
  24. Dustin Walker
presented by
Buck Monson/buckmonsonphoto.com
Bobby Pierce climbs atop his car to celebrate at Deer Creek.
What won the race: Returning to his winning ways after a brief two-race respite, Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., led all but the first circuit and turned back a late challenge from Brandon Sheppard to secure a $20,000 victory in Saturday night’s 50-lap Labor Day Duel at Deer Creek Speedway. The 26-year-old star moved from the top groove to the bottom over the final 10 circuits to win the caution-free feature by 0.508 of a second over Sheppard, who fell short in his bid for a third straight World of Outlaws Case Late Model Series triumph.
Key notes: Pierce registered his series-leading 11th victory of the season and second win of 2023 at Deer Creek; he earned $50,000 for capturing the 3/8-mile track's Lucas Oil Series-sanctioned NAPA Gopher 50 on July 8. ... Sorensen’s third-place finish in the MB Customs house car was a career-best in WoO competition. He also led a WoO feature lap for the first time when he surged ahead of Pierce to pace the opening circuit. … Thirteen drivers finished on the lead lap in a race that was completed in just over 14 minutes.
On the move: Brent Larson of Lake Elmo, Minn., started 20th and finished seventh.
Winner's sponsors: Pierce’s Longhorn Chassis is sponsored by Hoker Trucking, Mesilla Valley Transportation, Cajun Pools & Spas, Bloomington Normal Truck Performance, Carnaghi Towing & Repair, Floyd’s Waste Systems, Vic Hill Race Engines, Swift Springs, Bilstein Shocks, Toyota of Danville, Ted Brown’s Quality Paint and Body Shop, Extreme Electric, Fast1 Speed Shop, Performance Bodies, A Plus Vacuum, Lekg Tree Service, Bert Transmission by Budda, Velocita-USA, Robert and Sons Aluminum, VP Racing Fuels and FK Rod Ends.
Points chase: After Deer Creek: 1. Bobby Pierce (4,746); T2. Brandon Sheppard (4,608); T2. Chris Madden (4,608); 4. Ryan Gustin (4,554); 5. Brian Shirley (4,500); 6. Kyle Bronson (4,488); 7. Tanner English (4,464); 8. Nick Hoffman (4,462); 9. Dennis Erb Jr. (4,450); 10. Shane Clanton (4,282); 11. Cade Dillard (4,222); 12. Brent Larson (4,104).
Current weather: Clear, 79°F
Car count: 28
Fast qualifier: Brandon Sheppard
Time: 14.545 seconds
Polesitter: Bobby Pierce
Heat race winners: Brandon Sheppard, Bobby Pierce, Cade Dillard
Consolation race winners: Gordy Gundaker
Provisional starters: Dustin Walker, Lance Matthees
Next series race: September 29, Atomic Speedway (Alma, OH) $10,000
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.
From series reports

SPRING VALLEY, Minn. (Sept. 2) — Bobby Pierce’s return to victory lane after a brief two-race respite was a bit more difficult than it might have looked.

That became clear when 26-year-old star from Oakwood, Ill., drifted his car to a stop in turn four on his cool-down lap after capturing Saturday night’s 50-lap Labor Day Duel at Deer Creek Speedway. He took off his helmet, slithered out of his seat to sit on the left-side window, and signaled to World of Outlaws Case Late Model Series officials that he needed a push to the scales in the pit area outside the first corner.

Pierce’s Longhorn Chassis was without brakes. It was a problem that he had to overcome to lead all but the caution-free race’s first lap and fend off a late-race challenge from Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., to claim the $20,000 top prize by 0.508 of a second over his fellow Land of Lincoln driver.

Dustin Sorensen of Rochester, Minn., who outgunned Pierce at the initial green flag to lead lap one, finished third in the MB Customs house car. Sixth-starter Kyle Bronson of Brandon, Fla., reached fourth on lap 21 and finished there in his second outing piloting a new Longhorn car and Ryan Gustin of Marshalltown, Iowa, improved two spots to complete the top five in his Rocket machine.

Pierce appeared to be in control for most of the distance en route to his series-leading 11th victory of 2023, but he spent the late stages dealing with brake trouble that threatened to cost him his second checkered flag this season at the 3/8-mile oval.

“There towards the very end, it was probably like 16, 15 laps to go, I lost brakes completely and I had no brakes at all,” said Pierce, who earned a $50,000 prize for winning July 8’s Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series-sanctioned NAPA Gopher 50 at Deer Creek. “It’s super tough to drive these cars with no brakes because you’re on ‘em constantly around the whole racetrack, especially when it’s like that.

“It was tough. I was throwing the car in there (the turns), trying to use the gas pedal, just anything I could do. I got really lucky that (the surface) took some rubber at the very end because I wouldn’t have been able to keep ‘er (running) on the top like that. I would’ve ended up out of the ballpark like (Shane) Clanton the last time (when the Georgia cleared the turn-three wall in a Gopher 50 preliminary feature).”

Before his car’s brakes stopped working, Pierce, who started from the pole position, was able to slice through lapped traffic and turn back a few brief bids from Sheppard.

“I wanted to keep a good distance on Brandon,” Pierce said. “He was pretty quick. And just like the last time we were here, he was quick in that (Kevin Rumley-owned) 5 car — the other 5 car, the black one — so I wanted to get the lead and get going.”

Pierce largely stuck to the extreme outside of the track for more than half the A-main, often throwing sparks up as he grazed the concrete off the corners. But when Sheppard nosed underneath the pacesetter exiting turn two on lap 42, Pierce made a sudden shift to the inside lane that would carry him to victory.

Sheppard, 30, stayed close to Pierce through the final circuits — and Pierce certainly knew he was there.

“Yeah, because my dad was going nuts on the backstretch,” Pierce said of his crew chief father Bob. “He was, like, throwing his arms up in the air, like, ‘What are you doing? Slow down.’ And I couldn’t … I had no brakes. So I did the best I could and somehow we held on.”

Sheppard, who overtook Sorensen for second on lap five and only relinquished the spot once over the remaining distance (lap 39 when Sorensen snuck ahead at the start-finish line), wasn’t able to beat Pierce to the rubber on the inside of the track.

“Bobby got the lead early like I kind of figured he would, and I was trying to keep pace with him and move around and figure out where the best line was,” said Sheppard, who was bidding for his third straight WoO victory after going back-to-back with a $30,000 score on Aug. 26 at Davenport (Iowa) Speedway and a $20,000 success on Friday at Mississippi Thunder Speedway in Fountain City, Wis. “We got to lapped traffic and he was sliding them guys and getting ahead of them pretty quick there so I was having to try and keep up, and then Dustin was showing me a nose on the bottom, the middle-bottom.

“At some point when we were in lapped traffic I started feeling it streaking up (with rubber) a little bit on the bottom, so I just kind of moved down … and Bobby turned down right at the right time there.”

Pierce’s triumph was his sixth in nine WoO starts since the beginning of August. It also pushed his overall 2023 win total to 26 and his earnings for the season to roughly $750,000.

“I gotta give a huge shout out to this team,” said Pierce, who leads the WoO standings by 138 points — over the tied Sheppard and Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C. — with nine races remaining on the schedule. “We’ve faced a lot of adversity through the year, especially a lot of these World of Outlaws nights, and somehow we manage to still finish up front a lot of nights. So thanks to them guys for their hard work.

“I’m still in shock how the year’s went so far,” he added. “It’s been my best year by far really. But we stay motivated, we treat every day like it’s a new day. I wanna win ‘em all, I get greedy sometimes, but it’s been an awesome year.”

The 22-year-old Sorensen enjoyed one of the best runs of his young career in Super Late Model competition, sticking with the pacesetters throughout the race to finish a WoO career-best third.

“It was a blast,” said Sorensen, who started second. “We changed a couple things here a couple weeks ago and this car’s been bad-fast since then. I can’t thank the Mars guys (MB Customs’s Jimmy and Chris Mars) enough and Bill Schlieper at Pro Power for giving me a great race car that’s competitive with these guys. Brandon and Bobby have been two of the best all year long so I was having a blast just racing there with ‘em.”

There was one moment when Sorensen thought he might be able to steal the race in dramatic fashion, but his hopes of an upset at his home track were dashed when he bobbled in turn one on lap 44 while running the outside with Pierce and Sheppard tucked low.

“With like six, seven to go they both moved down and I was still running the top, and I was like, ‘I might have a chance to win this,’” Sorensen said. “But then I hit a hole down here (in turn one) and lost a bunch of ground and then I just moved down with them.”

Notes: Pierce’s 15th career WoO victory served as a birthday present for his girlfriend Abby Foster, who turned 27 on Saturday. “I don’t think I’ve ever won a race on Abby’s birthday so I’m glad to get that win for her,” Pierce said of Foster, who didn’t make the trip to the race. … Pierce is planning to enter Sunday’s $10,000-to-win Wiener Nationals at Moberly (Mo.). Motorsports Park before returning home to prepare for the World 100 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. … Missing from the weekend’s WoO action was rookie contender Johnny Scott of Las Cruces, N.M., who remained sore in the wake of an Aug. 25 accident at Davenport Speedway that forced him to skip the next night’s finale of the Quad Cities 150. His twin brother, Stormy, competed in the WoO doubleheader, finishing 14th at Mississippi Thunder and 11th at Deer Creek. … The event marked the WoO tour’s first visit to Deer Creek since July 6, 2019, when Brandon Sheppard was victorious. The series ran at least one race at the track every from 2005-19.

Feature lineup

Row 1: Pierce, Sorensen
Row 2: D. Erb, Sheppard
Row 3: Dillard, Bronson
Row 4: Gustin, S. Scott
Row 5: Madden, Shirley
Row 6: Hoffman, Timm
Row 7: Bruening, Cooney
Row 8: English, Anvelink
Row 9: Panitzke, Clanton
Row 10: G. Gundaker, B. Larson
Row 11: Nothdurft, Giossi
Row 12: Walker, Matthees
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