Bobby Pierce and Ross Bailesg o flag-to-flag to earn $4,000 paydays on Friday night at Ultimate. (Emily Schwanke Photo)

Pierce, Bailes Claim WoO Late Model Ultimate Prelim Feature Wins

ELKIN, N.C. — The World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models ended a nine-year wait on Friday with a return to North Carolina’s Ultimate Motorsports & RV Park. 

Two 25-lap features, featuring 40 of the best late model drivers in the country combined, set the heat race lineups for Saturday night’s 60-lap, $35,000-to-win/$3,000-to-start finale. 

Ending the night as Prelim winners were reigning series champion Bobby Pierce and Carolina standout Ross Bailes. 


Beginning the night with a Simpson Quick Time Award and a new track record of 14.867 seconds, Bobby Pierce led the field to the Gorsuch Performance Green Flag with Gray Parton to his outside. 

Pierce launched to the lead through turns one and two on the inside, then scooted his No. 32 up to the high side of the track to create a gap away from the field. 

When he got caught behind lapped cars racing in his groove, it opened the door for four-time Series champion Brandon Sheppard to close the distance. 

Before Sheppard sniffed a chance to battle for the lead, a flurry of caution flags waved in the waning stages of the 25-lap sprint. One of those saw series points leader Nick Hoffman and MD3 Rookie of the Year contenders Cody Overton and Dustin Sorensen caught up in a wreck in turn one. 

With five laps to go, Pierce got back into the rhythm of increasing his lead. As he did, Cade Dillard slipped by Sheppard for second place. 

Crossing the line to finish the Feature, Pierce claimed the prelim feature win and clinched the pole for heat one of Saturday night’s finale. 

“I was a little bit more up on the wheel,” Pierce said. “I really liked the track. It got really dusty, but I loved the shape of the track and everything. Getting that quick time was really key to the success tonight, so it was nice to start on the pole. I had never seen the place before, but I felt good heading into it because a lot of people told me that it would fit my style and it definitely did. 

“You’re always a little nervous with these new places, but we got a lot of new on the schedule that I haven’t been to before this year. You gotta try your best to adapt and hit the setup the first time. It was a first time for a lot of us, so it was even playing field at (Ultimate).” 

Dillard went on to finish in second. While satisfied with the result, “The Thriller” said he hopes to capitalize from the pole of heat two to give himself a chance at winning $35,000 on Saturday night. 

Sheppard hung on to finish third, giving him a front-row position alongside Pierce for heat racing. 

Feature 1 (25 Laps): 1. 32-Bobby Pierce[1]; 2. 97-Cade Dillard[5]; 3. B5-Brandon Sheppard[3]; 4. 40B-Kyle Bronson[8]; 5. 76-Brandon Overton[11]; 6. 18P-Gray Parton[2]; 7. 16-Tyler Bruening[9]; 8. 22-Daniel Hilsabeck[14]; 9. 20TC-Tristan Chamberlain[16]; 10. 1-Willie Milliken[13]; 11. 44-Chris Madden[7]; 12. 7J-Dalton Jacobs[15]; 13. 97C-Cody Overton[4]; 14. 19-Dustin Sorensen[12]; 15. 9-Nick Hoffman[6]; 16. 00JR-Rich Kuiken[19]; 17. L87-Richard Lynch[20]; 18. 31-Tommy Jones[18]; 19. 06-Christian Thomas[10]; 20. 4N-Matthew Nance[17] 


Ross Bailes began his night by going fastest in Group B of Sea Foam Qualifying, putting him on the pole for the second prelim feature of the night. 

He used that to his advantage in the first half of the race, driving away in clean air. But eventually, lapped cars caused havoc for him. 

Taking away his line and visibility, the challenging conditions allowed Ryan Gustin to close on Bailes.

Gustin used every lane of the track in his pursuit of the lead, getting up to half a car length behind Bailes. 

However, there was no stopping Bailes, who took the checkered flag in to close out the Friday night racing. 

“My car was real good,” Bailes said. “I wasn’t really running that hard, I didn’t know where exactly I needed to be because the visibility was tough. I felt good at the top and on the bottom. I just couldn’t really tell what lane was faster. I wasn’t sure how far in front I was. I was just trying to run a line to where they had no chance to get by me. We’ll see what tomorrow night brings us.” 

Gustin finished second, rewarding him with the pole position in Heat 4 for Saturday night. 

Ben Watkins closed out the podium after a night that saw him pick up the Dirt King Simulator Hottest Hot Lap of the Night. 

Feature 2 (25 Laps): 1. 87-Ross Bailes[1]; 2. 19R-Ryan Gustin[2]; 3. 16W-Ben Watkins[3]; 4. 55-Benji Hicks[4]; 5. 3S-Brian Shirley[10]; 6. 187-David McCoy[12]; 7. 3-Brent Robinson[5]; 8. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[13]; 9. B1-Brent Larson[7]; 10. 09-Michael Leach[8]; 11. 22*-Max McLaughlin[20]; 12. D8-Dustin Mitchell[9]; 13. 6JR-Parker Martin[11]; 14. P1-Jeff Parsons[16]; 15. 49-Luke Morey [15]; 16. 14W-Dustin Walker[19]; 17. L114-Evan Koehler[17]; 18. 4-Caleb Fulp[18]; 19. 114-Jordan Koehler[6]; 20. F1-Payton Freeman[14]