From FloRacing Staff
Bobby Pierce Stays Sizzling Hot With FloRacing Night Win At Tyler County
With little racing experience at Tyler County Speedway, Bobby Pierce wasn't particularly confident about finding success at the high-banked quarter-mile bullring when penciling it onto his 2023 racing calendar.
"You know, this is one of them racetracks we were looking at on the schedule saying, 'Man if we, if we get a top-five or something like that, that's a win,' " Pierce said.
But the Pierce who was crafting his 2023 schedule and the Pierce who's on the winningest stretch of his racing career is two different drivers, so no one was too surprised Wednesday when he led all 50 laps for his second consecutive Castrol FloRacing Night in America victory.
To take the checkers at Tyler County "is just unbelievable," the 26-year-old Oakwood, Ill., driver, but he added it to a list of unbelievable performances going back to Aug. 1.
Pierce, who has 31 victories overall in 2023, has 15 victories in 19 starts going back to the beginning of August, and Tyler County marks his sixth victory in his last seven feature starts (losing on at Eldora Speedway's World 100).
Even taking a 16-day break after his Sept. 12 Castrol victory at Fairbury — earning $23,023 just like he did at Tyler County — didn't slow the momentum of a driver who's leading the points not only on the Castrol circuit but also the World of Outlaws Case Late Model Series and XR Super Series.
Pierce turned back a late-race challenge from Hudson O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind., taking the checkers 0.931 seconds ahead of the West Virginia-based Rocket Chassis house car while Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., finished third. Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., who overcame a heat race wreck, was fourth and Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., Castrol's 2021 winner at Tyler County, rounded out the top five.
Pierce deftly handled lapped traffic most of the way and adjusted his line to keep O'Neal at bay before a lap-45 caution that gave him some breathing room over the final five laps.
"I was a little nervous whole race because I don't have many laps here. The dirty air was really hard. When you get behind a (lapped car) it would just set your car over. It was tough, man. It was hard to see in a lapped traffic, the caution came out and had some clean air that kind of helped," Pierce said. "Hudson showed his nose and I was like, 'Man, I gotta keep blocking the slider, because it's possibly coming.' It was kind of hurting my lap times when I was doing that, but it's just kind of what I had to do there. I guess he eventually jumped the cushion a little bit and I got back away from him, but an awesome night."
O'Neal would've like to have had a shot at Pierce without the slowdown in the final stages.
"I didn't need the yellow. I felt like I had a better shot with him in lapped traffic. I felt like my car was really, really maneuverable everywhere and, yeah, once we had that caution, like (Pierce) said, just clean air and being able to predict your own line and keep your car loaded's everything," O'Neal said. "I thought I was gonna have a run at him, and then he moved down and took my line away from me just a little bit. And then that was it. ... This the best I've ever ran here, so I'll take it."
The most serious incident in Tyler County's 50-lapper drew a red flag when, following a lap-five restart, Shane Hitt barrel-rolled down the backstretch. Hitt's car ended up on its wheels and he wasn't injured. Hitt got out of shape exiting turn two, making contact with Mike Marlar and then sliding in front of Colten Burdette, who had nowhere to go in sending Hitt's car rolling.
Besides the red flag, three yellow flags slowed the action, including a lap-45 yellow when Burdette got into the turn-four fence.
The first start was called back, and another caution flew on lap five for debris that fell from Freddie Carpenter's car after hit got into the guardrail.
Castrol FloRacing Night In America At Tyler County Speedway Results:
1. Bobby Pierce
2. Hudson O'Neal
3. Tim McCreadie
4. Ricky Thornton Jr.
5. Jonathan Davenport
6. Garrett Alberson
7. Mike Marlar
8. Henry Hornsby III
9. Dennis Erb Jr.
10. Kyle Hardy
11. Ryan Montgomery
12. Mike Benedum
13. Daulton Wilson
14. Kris Southern
15. Derek Stefanick
16. Tyler Carpenter
17. Colten Burdette
18. Brian Baumberger
19. Drake Troutman
20. Shane Hitt
21. Freddie Carpenter
22. Jacob Hawkins
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Photo's: Bobby Pierce | Tyler Count Speedway | Josh James