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Maquoketa, IA (June 13, 2020) - Saturday nights MLRA main event at the Maquoketa Speedway, provided fans with an epic 40 lap battle between Chris Simpson and Bobby Pierce in front of a near capacity crowd. The two drivers pushed one another to the limits for the entire distance, but in the end it was Chris Simpson prevailing for his fourteenth career Lucas Oil MLRA victory.
Simpson rolled from the DirtonDirt.com pole position alongside defending series champion Will Vaught and was able to take control at the drop of the green flag. Forth starting Pierce quickly jumped into the runner-up position, while Chad Simpson joined the mix inside the top three in the early stages.
Chris Simpson used a fine line along the top side of the speedway to stretch out the advantage, but Pierce quickly found the same line to his liking and was able to chase down the Longhorn Chassis of Chris Simpson. The duo went nose to tail lap after lap into lapped traffic with Pierce applying heavy pressure to the race leader. With under five laps to go both drivers were forced to maneuver the lapped traffic which appeared to be the break Pierce needed.
As Pierce finally looked to seize control in turns one and two, the pair raced back to the line with Pierce the new leader. However, before the lap cold be officially scored the events lone caution waved for the stalled car of Garrrett Alberson at the bottom of turn four. That break proved to be the difference, putting Simpson back at the point with just three laps remaining. At the drop of the green, Simpson again shot to the top and was able to drive away from Pierce, collecting his fourteenth career Lucas Oil MLRA win and the $5,000 winners pay day.
Pierce would race home in second, ahead of seventh starting Dennis Erb Jr. who finished third. Chad Simpson collected his second consecutive top five, finishing in fourth while Ryan Unzicker moved up eight positions to round out the top five.
Chris Simpson commented of the battle with Piece by saying, "I knew he was there, I could hear him bouncing off the cushion in one. He threw me a couple of sliders and I had to give one back. I lifted for him and he got into the back of me once, but it was good hard clean racing racing around the top like that."
As the duo prepared for the restart with three to go it was unclear who was being scored as the leader due to the timing of the caution on the race track. "When they said 32 (Simpson) ahead I just figured, hell you know all I've got to do is barrel it into turn one two or three more times and hope it sticks, and it did," concluded Simpson.
The runner-up finish for Pierce was bitter sweet, but a great rebound from Friday nights action which saw the team breaking a motor in qualifying action, leaving them to question if they should continue onto Maquoketa or not. Pierce said of the battle for the win, "I was starting to catch him there again before we caught the last set of traffic. I saw (Payton) Looney running the top and I knew that was my only hope. With him running that line out in front with no one ahead of him I just wouldn't have had enough speed to go for a slider or I probably would have wrecked both of us," he noted.
Erb, rallied late in the race to finish on the podium saying, "We just got up on the top and started reeling them in and got a little speed. The longer the race was the better my car was getting. It was a fun little place, for our first time and to come home third we're happy with that."
Action with the Lucas Oil MLRA continues on Sunday as the series makes its lone trip of the season to the West Liberty Raceway in West Liberty, IA for a $5,000 to win feature event. Grandstands open at 3:00pm, with hot laps scheduled for 4:30 pm and racing to follow.
Maquoketa Speedway Contingencies 6/13/20
MAV TV Motorsports B Feature 2 (12 Laps): 1.Jeremy Grady 2.Jason Papich 3.Dave Eckrich 4.Payton Looney 5.Luke
Casey's General Stores Heat 2 (10 Laps): 1.Billy Moyer Sr. 2.Dennis Erb Jr. 3.Brian Birkhofer 4. 5.Paul Parker 6.Ryan Gustin 7.Mike McKinney 8.Jeremy Conaway 9.Tony Toste
Sunoco Race Fuels Heat 3 (10 Laps): 1.Will Vaught 2.Shannon Babb 3.Justin Duty 4.Mike Spatola 5.Jeremy Grady 6.Jason Papich 7.Daniel Hilsabeck 8.Joseph Gorby
Midwest Sheet Metal Heat 4 (10 Laps): 1.Bobby Pierce 2.Jeremiah Hurst 3.Aaron Marrant 4.Mitch McGrath 5.Dave Eckrich 6.Brennon Willard 7.Luke Goedert 8.Cliff Morrow 9.Jordan Yaggy (DNS)
For all of the latest news and information fans are encouraged to visit the series website at www.MLRARacing.com.