Stuart, IA (May 2, 2019) - Racing in front of a near capacity crowd at the Stuart International Speedway for the first time ever, the drivers of the Lucas Oil MLRA thrilled fans on Thursday night in an event that saw Bobby Pierce rebounding from a disappointing heat race to capture his second series win of 2019.
Pierce finished his heat race in the fifth position putting himself thirteenth on the starting grid for the 40 lap A-Main event. After picking up Sunoco Race Fuels Heat # 3, Payton Looney rolled from the DirtonDirt.com Pole alongside of Decorah Iowa's Tyler Bruening. Both front row starters were in search of their first career MLRA win. From the start it was Looney seizing control with Bruening close being, as both drivers survived multiple cautions in the early going.
As the drivers completed lap five heartbreak hit for the race leader, as a quick but devastating puff of smoke out of the 15 of Looney would send drivers scrambling to avoid the slowing Atnip Motorsports machine exiting turn two. Looney would pull to the inside and exit the track, ending his quest for a first career MLRA win.
On the restart Tyler Bruening would dart to the lead with Midwest Sheet Metal point leader Will Vaught and Chris Simpson in tow. Additional cautions on laps 8 and 10 would continue to bunch the filed allowing Pierce to continue his march forward. As the race hit a long green flag stretch, Pierce would find himself working the top side of the speedway and grabbing the race lead on lap 16.
Pierce was able to work his way through lapped traffic without issue until a final caution waved with just 11 laps remaining. On the restart Pierce was able to again get the jump over Bruening and Vaught but this time it was Chris Simpson taking full advantage and marching into the runner up spot. Pierce would go on to capture the win, his second in a row with the MLRA after winning the Slocum 50 two short weeks ago. Chris Simpson had a solid night and finished in second, while Bruening, Vaught, and Jordan Yaggy completed the top five.
Following the win Pierce commented by saying, "I got a little concerned when he went back out there and prepped it before the feature, but with forty laps and all these late models out here it slicks it off pretty quick. It (Stuart Speedway) turned out to be a really nice place and I'm really glad that we drove six hours to get here. This MLRA Series has been treating me well so far."
Pierce who utilized the top side to navigate his route to the front concluded, "I was really glad that they stayed down in three & four just enough for me to get around. It was a pretty tricky track with the different corners. There are not a whole lot of places that get like that, but when they do I like it because I'm always trying to watch the race track and adjust to what it's doing."
Simpson's runner-up finish was his third consecutive top five with the MLRA and highest series finish of the season. "I just messed around too much on that bottom in three and four and didn't realize you had to be on the top like that, and once I seen Bobby it was too late. Once he gets in front of you and there is a cushion you ain't gonna catch him. All-in-all it was a fun little place and I look forward to coming back," concluded Simpson.
For Bruening he matched a career best finish with the MLRA and was excited to finish his night on the podium. After leading a handful of laps in the early going Bruening said, "The car was really good right away. Early I was just kind of pacing myself behind the leader. Your kind of a sitting duck when you're out front there and I thought I heard Bobby coming on the outside, but I didn't want to move up until somebody got by me--and sure enough he did."
Friday's night's MLRA action schedule for the ¼ mile Davenport Speedway has been cancelled due to persistent rains that have plagued the Eastern Iowa Facility this week. MLRA teams will now have a day off to regroup before getting back to action on Saturday night May 4th at the West Liberty Raceway in West Liberty, IA. Following Saturdays battle on the ½ mile, the series will head south and switch gears, as for the first time the Lucas Oil MLRA will take on the ¼ mile Quincy Raceways in Quincy, IL.
Stuart International Speedway Contingencies 5/2/19
Allgaier Motorsports Racing Shocks Award - Chris Simpson
Casey's General Store's "Hard Charger of the Race" -Bobby Pierce
Cedar Creek Beef Jerky "Most Laps Led" -Bobby Pierce
DirtonDirt.com "Pole Award" - Payton Looney
Hooker Harness "11th Place Finisher" - Jake Neal
Midwest Sheet Metal "Points Leader Spoiler Challenge" - Will Vaught
Mittler Brothers Machine and Tool "Crew Chief of the Race" -Bob Pierce
Performance Bodies "Performer of the Race" -Bobby Pierce
RacingJunk.com "Hard Luck Award" - Joe Gorby
Sunoco "Rookie of the Race" - Jake Neal
Lucas Oil Racing TV A Feature (40 Laps): 1.Bobby Pierce 2.Chris Simpson 3.Tyler Bruening 4.Will Vaught 5.Jordan Yaggy 6.Billy Moyer 7.Chad Simpson 8.Mitch McGrath 9.Richie Gustin 10.Logan Martin 11.Jake Neal 12.Jeremy Grady 13.J.C. Wyman 14.Allen Murray 15.Brian Kosiski 16.Dave Eckrich 17.Jay Johnson 18.Chad Holladay 19.Jesse Stovall 20.Andrew Kosiski 21.Terry Phillips 22.Payton Looney 23.Joseph Gorby 24.Spencer Diercks(DNS)
Cedar Creek Beef Jerky Heat 1 (10 Laps): 1.Will Vaught 2.Chris Simpson 3.Andrew Kosiski 4.Billy Moyer 5.Brian Kosiski 6.Jesse Stovall 7.Chad Simpson 8.Logan Martin
Casey's General Stores Heat 2 (10 Laps): 1.Tyler Bruening 2.Jordan Yaggy 3.Jake Neal 4.Dave Eckrich 5.Richie Gustin 6.J.C. Wyman 7.Joseph Gorby(DNS) 8.Spencer Diercks(DNS)
Sunoco Race Fuels Heat 3 (10 Laps): 1.Payton Looney 2.Jeremy Grady 3.Chad Holladay 4.Allen Murray 5.Bobby Pierce 6.Jay Johnson 7.Mitch McGrath 8.Terry Phillips
For all of the latest news and information fans are encouraged to visit the series website at www.MLRARacing.com.
Lucas Oil MLRA Series Director
Mobile: (417) 309-3509