KNOXVILLE, IA (September 16, 2022) – Bobby Pierce powered from his fifth starting position to take the lead from Brandon Overton on lap 15 - holding off Ricky Thornton Jr. in the closing laps to win Friday night’s preliminary feature of the Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals.
Thornton, who started alongside Pierce in row three, passed Overton for second with five laps to go and chased down Pierce. Thornton closed to within one car length of the Illinois driver before falling just .0479 seconds behind the winner, who scored his first career win at Knoxville.
Iowa native Chris Simpson was in the hunt the entire distance, passing Overton on the last lap to round out the podium. Overton was fourth with another Iowa driver, Tyler Bruening completing the top five.
On a racy surface that saw two and three-wide racing all night, Overton jumped to the lead at the start of the main event. Overton led until Pierce passed him for the top spot on the ninth lap. Pierce then started to pull away from Overton after a couple of laps until the first and only caution of the race flew on lap 13 for Tyler Erb.
On the restart Overton was able to regain the lead, but his time out front was short-lived as Pierce retook the point on lap 15. Pierce then appeared to have a comfortable advantage until Thornton started showing momentum on the top side. Thornton dived to the inside of Pierce in turn four, but Pierce was able to gain enough of a distance on the final lap to seal the deal.
Pierce, in Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the first time since 2020, became the 19th different winner this season, talked about his move to take the lead the first time in the race from Overton. “The first pass I made on him [Overton] I kind of caught him off guard a little bit. I think that was his first run on the bottom and he kind of missed it. I passed him on the top and then I thought I had it in the bag and then that caution came out, and I thought I had it under control, but the carburetor kind of stumbled off four and I thought something bad happened, but luckily it got going again.”
Thornton, who currently sits third in the Lucas Oil championship standings, was pleased with his car in the final laps. “I knew I was pretty good when I got around those guys and then I got stuck behind Bruening and it slowed my pace down. We had a good restart Chris [Simpson] didn’t quite get a good enough restart, so I turned to the bottom and got to third there. Then [Brandon] Overton and Bobby [Pierce] were racing so hard it kind of let me get around Overton. Then Bobby moved up and I could still run up to him. I felt like I was a little better there in one and two.”
Chris Simpson, who posted his first top five with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series since 2018, rounded out the podium spot in third. “The car was good. Brandon [Overton] got by me there and I just wasn’t patient to stay on the bottom. I got up top and Bobby [Pierce] got by both of us. Then I started working the bottom again and got by Overton and got up to second. On the restart Bobby and I just messed up a little bit and I about gave it away.”
The winner’s Pierce Race Cars Chassis is powered by a Vic Hill Racing Engine and sponsored by Hoker Trucking, Allgayer Inc., Base Racing Fuels, Mesilla Valley Transportation, Senior Life Insurance Company, First Spear, Rio Grande Waste Services, Extreme Electric, Vermilion County Bobcats, Leka Tree Service, and Toyota of Danville.
Completing the top ten were Ricky Weiss, Hudson O’Neal, Jonathan Davenport, Tim McCreadie, and Jimmy Owens.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals – Night 2
Friday, September 16th, 2022
Knoxville Raceway – Knoxville, IA
Allstar Performance Time Trials
Fast Time Group A: Tyler Bruening / 17.778 seconds
Fast Time Group B: Tad Pospisil / 17.717 seconds (overall)
Penske Race Shocks Heat Race #1 Finish (12 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 71-Hudson O'Neal; 2. 16-Tyler Bruening; 3. 32S-Chris Simpson; 4. 3S-Brian Shirley; 5. 25C-Shane Clanton; 6. 18J-Chase Junghans; 7. 58-Garrett Alberson; 8. 18S-Jesse Sobbing; 9. 7-Ross Robinson; 10. 18D-Daulton Wilson; 11. 6H-Al Humphrey
Summit Racing Equipment Heat Race #2 Finish (12 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 32-Bobby Pierce; 2. 20-Jimmy Owens; 3. 46-Earl Pearson Jr; 4. 11-Spencer Hughes; 5. 1T-Tyler Erb; 6. 44-Chris Madden; 7. 22-Charlie McKenna; 8. 157-Mike Marlar; 9. 14M-Reid Millard; 10. 42-Johnathan Huston; 11. 56-Chris Spieker
Simpson Race Products Heat Race #3 Finish (12 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 49-Jonathan Davenport; 2. 8-Kyle Strickler; 3. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr; 4. 29D-Spencer Diercks; 5. 04-Tad Pospisil; 6. 1X-Aaron Marrant; 7. 93-Chad Simpson; 8. 15-Justin Duty; 9. 33-Nick Marolf; 10. 40B-Kyle Bronson; 11. 19R-Ryan Gustin
Ohlins Shocks Heat Race #4 Finish (12 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 22H-Daniel Hilsabeck; 2. 76-Brandon Overton; 3. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr; 4. 39-Tim McCreadie; 5. 1-Brandon Sheppard; 6. 7W-Ricky Weiss; 7. 2S-Stormy Scott; 8. 51-Matt Furman; 9. 14W-Dustin Walker; 10. 10-Junior Coover
Fast Shafts B-Main #1 Finish (15 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 44-Chris Madden; 2. 58-Garrett Alberson; 3. 18J-Chase Junghans; 4. 1T-Tyler Erb; 5. 18D-Daulton Wilson; 6. 22-Charlie McKenna; 7. 14M-Reid Millard; 8. 18S-Jesse Sobbing; 9. 42-Johnathan Huston; 10. 6H-Al Humphrey; 11. 7-Ross Robinson; 12. 157-Mike Marlar; 13. (DNS) 25C-Shane Clanton; 14. (DNS) 56-Chris Spieker
UNOH B-Main #2 Finish (15 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 7W-Ricky Weiss; 2. 1-Brandon Sheppard; 3. 04-Tad Pospisil; 4. 1X-Aaron Marrant; 5. 15-Justin Duty; 6. 33-Nick Marolf; 7. 51-Matt Furman; 8. 14W-Dustin Walker; 9. 10-Junior Coover; 10. 93-Chad Simpson; 11. 2S-Stormy Scott; 12. (DNS) 40B-Kyle Bronson; 13. (DNS) 19R-Ryan Gustin
Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals - Night 2 Feature Finish (25 Laps):