From Jeremy Shields | Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
PIERCE WINS SECOND CAREER SUNOCO NORTH/SOUTH 100 AT FLORENCE
UNION, Ky. (August 12, 2023) – Bobby Pierce led the final ten laps of a thriller at Florence Speedway - pulling away from Ricky Thornton Jr. to win his second career Sunoco North/South 100 - Presented by Lucas Oil. Pierce’s fifth Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win of the season was worth $75,000.
Pierce, who started 13th on the grid was the fifth different leader of the race as he withstood a battle with Thornton, who had started 23rd. Thornton led laps 88 and 89 after taking the lead from Pierce who was out in front on laps 81-87.
Hudson O’Neal who led a race high 59 circuits finished in third followed by Jonathan Davenport and Daulton Wilson.
Spencer Hughes led the opening lap before yielding the point to three-time North/South 100 winner Jimmy Owens. Owens led 21 laps until O’Neal got by him on lap 23 to become the third different leader in the first quarter of the race. O’Neal would hold down the race lead until lap 81 when Pierce took over the top spot for the first time.
A poor restart with 13 laps to go nearly cost Pierce the victory, but he recovered from a side-by-side duel with Thornton and went on to win by just over 2 seconds at the finish.
“Oh man I stepped on it good there on that restart. I thought the top would be great on exit, but I spun the wheels. I would have never had to dirty Ricky up if I hadn’t done that. I’ve got to apologize to him. I wasn’t quite clear, but I didn’t really complete the slider we just got side-by-side there and drag raced down the frontstretch and I had to work for that one. It was tough,” said the 26-year-old Oakwood, Illinois driver who collectively earned $85,000 for his North/South 100 weekend success.
“Once he [Thornton] got by me I thought that was it. I didn’t know if the top was still left in turn one, that’s what let me get that bite. The tires were perfect my crew said and to go 100 laps as hard as I was racing it. It is just an awesome car that I get to drive. We knew heading into it about the heat race invert. I think what they did earlier with the heat races made for a great racetrack for the feature. The racetrack was perfect for the feature. It made for a heck of a show. I didn’t think the top was going to be like that. I thought it was going to be on the bottom,” Pierce added.
Thornton’s stirring run nearly earned him his first North/South 100 victory. “We will move on and put that one in the memory bank. Congrats to him [Pierce]. He ran a good race. You could tell he was riding in second behind Hud and once I showed my nose, he made sure to get by him [O’Neal]. Once I got by Hud I tried to run him [Pierce] as hard as I could without knocking the fence down. Seems like in a lot of races here lately it gets a big curb against the wall. I think without that we might have had a really good car.”
O’Neal, whose father Don won the crown jewel twice in his career, rounded out the Big River Steel Podium in third. “I just got a little too tight right there at the end. Really, in the middle of the the race I was tight against the cushion as well. All-in-all we had a good run. We made progress during the weekend. I am looking forward to going to Batesville next week. I am looking forward to going back to the race shop and re-grouping after a long couple of months on the road.”
The winner’s Bobby Pierce Racing LLC, Longhorn Chassis is powered by a Vic Hill Racing Engine and sponsored by Hoker Trucking, Fast 1 Speed Shop, Mesilla Valley Transportation, Rio Grande Waste Services, Bloomington-Normal Truck Performance, PureMax Racing Oil, A-Plus Vacuum, Toyota of Danville, Leka Tree Service, Carnaghi Towing and Repair, Bilstein Shocks, VP Fuels, ted Brown’s Quality Paint and Body, Extreme Electric and Cajun Pools.
Completing the top ten were Chris Ferguson, Earl Pearson Jr., Devin Moran, Max Blair, and Kyle Bronson.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
41st Annual Sunoco North/South 100 Presented by Lucas Oil
Saturday, August 12, 2023
Florence Speedway – Union, KY
41st Annual Sunoco North/South 100 – Presented by Lucas Oil Feature Finish (100 Laps):
The Big River Steel Chase for the Championship Presented by ARP Point Standings:
See the latest from the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series:
Photo's: Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series | Ryan Roberts