BARBERVILLE, Fla. — Bobby Pierce led all 30 laps on Tuesday night at Volusia Speedway Park, earning the first gator trophy of his career by checking off a DIRTcar late model victory during the 50th DIRTcar Nationals.
“I was pretty nervous there,” Pierce admitted. “Devin [Moran] and I are good buddies and that was probably one of the funnest races we’ve had together. At the end, I saw he was in second on the board and Cody [Mallory’s] sticks were getting closer and closer. I kept thinking if I’m cut out for this stuff, surely I can handle ten more laps, and thankfully we held on.”
Earning the pole over a 51-car field, Pierce claimed the hole shot in his No. 32 and held on to lead all 30 laps of the half-mile oval. It wasn’t without a firm challenge from his good buddy, Devin Moran, though.
The slightest bobble off turn four on the 16th circuit opened the door for Moran and he came through with a massive slide job into turn one. He slid his No. 9 Longhorn Chassis in front of Pierce’s nose, but Pierce countered the move with a perfect crossover.
“I really don’t know how I pulled off that crossover in the slick,” Pierce thought. “I timed it just right, but I think about took his left front off making that move work. I don’t know if he had to lift or what. I heard him going under me down the front stretch and figured something was probably coming into turn one. I tried to set it up to counter and it worked perfectly.”
Pierce crossed the finish line with a 0.828-second advantage over Moran to claim his first gator trophy from Volusia’s DIRTcar Nationals.
Moran continued his excellent week with his second-straight podium. He finished third in Monday’s opener and bettered that with a runner-up bid on Tuesday.
“I had it free enough to where I could get that high, but tight enough to where I could turn down off of it,” Moran said. “I messed up off turn four there and I just couldn’t get Bobby. Hopefully we can hit the pill draw just a little bit better tomorrow.”
Rounding out the podium behind Pierce and Moran was fellow young gun, Hudson O’Neal.
“Overall, it was a really good night,” O’Neal said. “I think we were better than what we showed there. We just didn’t take full advantage of it. It was a good first night, but we’ve still got a long week here. Hopefully the speed carries over.”
Brandon Sheppard and Darrell Lanigan rounded out the top five.
Feature (30 Laps): 1. 32-Bobby Pierce ; 2. 9-Devin Moran ; 3. 71-Hudson O’Neal ; 4. 1-Brandon Sheppard ; 5. 29V-Darrell Lanigan ; 6. 76-Brandon Overton ; 7. 7-Ricky Weiss ; 8. 20RT-Ricky Thornton ; 9. 39-Tim McCreadie ; 10. OE-Rick Eckert ; 11. O-Scott Bloomquist ; 12. 8-Kyle Strickler ; 13. 44-Chris Madden ; 14. 40B-Kyle Bronson ; 15. 28-Dennis Erb ; 16. 58-Ross Bailes ; 17. 14B-John Baker ; 18. 3S-Brian Shirley ; 19. B1-Brent Larson ; 20. 5-Mark Whitener ; 21. 76N-Blair Nothdurft ; 22. 17M-Dale McDowell ; 23. 25-Shane Clanton ; 24. 14-Josh Richards ; 25. 56-Tony Jackson ; 26. 16-Tyler Bruening . Lap Leader(s): Bobby Pierce 1-30. Hard Charger Award: 39-Tim McCreadie[+14]