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Saturday, February 15, 2014
17 year-old Wins First in Florida
By Tyler Beichner: East Bay Raceway Park 2/15/14
It’s hard to remember a time when the name Pierce wasn’t
relevant in dirt track racing. Over the last few years we’ve seen a teenage kid
turn into a top-class driver right before our very eyes. Bobby Pierce, also
known by the term ‘Smooth Operator’, has become a threat at any dirt oval that
he makes an appearance at. Today the young star made his presence known to the
34 other drivers in the pit area and nice crowd in the stands as he went on to
claim his first victory in the Sunshine State that came in the form of a $7,000
triumph with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.
As previously stated, 35 drivers took to the track to
compete in yesterday afternoon’s daytime Lucas Oil Late Model non-points affair. The
race was originally scheduled for Wednesday night but a severe storm forced the
four-day delay. Racing action kicked off promptly at 12 noon.
Dennis Erb, Jr. set fast time over the first group of
qualifiers but it was Billy Moyer, Jr. that shocked the clock with the fastest
lap of 15.196 seconds to place himself atop time trial Group B.
Four 10-lap heat races were ran flawlessly without a
caution. Bobby Pierce, Gregg Satterlee, Billy Moyer, Jr., and fan-favorite Ray
Cook picked up the heat race victories. It was Satterlee’s run in heat 2 the
proved to be the most impressive in preliminary action as he was the only
driver to win a heat coming from the second row or deeper. The 3rd
starting Satterlee stuck it on the bottom of 1 & 2 on the start and
launched himself into the lead ahead of Jimmy Owens and Booper Bare. He then
went on to lead the remaining 9 laps of the race.
Only one B-main was ran for the non-qualifying cars that
would see the top 4 finishers transfer on to the day’s 35-lap feature. After
the first yellow of the day on the opening lap, the drivers finished the rest
of the race without error. Kenny Pettyjohn went on to pick up the win and
transfer spot along with Booper Bare, Chad Hollenbeck, and Jason Hughes.
Fifth-place finisher Devin Moran was also moved into the A for being the top
qualifier to not transfer into the race.
Next up was the 35-lap, $7,000 to
win finale that would see 26 cars take the green with Pierce and Moyer, Jr.
leading the field to the line. Devin Moran would spin in turn 4 to bring out
the 2nd caution of the night just after the leaders crossed the
stripe to complete lap one. The ensuing restart would see Bobby Pierce lead
Greg Satterlee, Steve Francis, Billy Moyer, Jr., and Dennis Erb back to green.
With the preferred line being the bottom-groove, very little passing took place
within the top 10 for most of the race. Bobby Pierce kept a safe distance
between him and Satterlee for the majority of the race, but the gap would
tighten up as the leaders approached lapped traffic with just a few laps
remaining. As the field took the white flag Pierce found himself stuck behind a
slowing car allowing Satterlee to gain enough ground to make one last run at
the teenager when the pair entered turn 3. His last-lap effort came up just
short and when the field crossed underneath the checkers it was Bobby
Pierce with the hand out the window in
salute to the crowd as he collected his first career win during Florida
Lucas Oil Late Model feature finish (35 laps): 1. Bobby
Pierce ($7,000) 2. Gregg Satterlee 3. Steve Francis 4. Billy Moyer, Jr 5.
Dennis Erb, Jr 6. Jimmy Owens 7. Eric Jacobsen 8. Ray Cook 9. Brian Shirley 10.
John Blankenship 11. Jason Papich 12. Booper Bare 13. Kenny Pettyjohn 14. Justin
Rattliff 15. Devin Moran 16. Jason Riggs 17. Mike Benedum 18. Eddie Carrier, Jr
19. Chad Hollenbeck 20. Jason Hughes 21. Davey Johnson 22. Kevin Weaver 23. Dan
Stone 24. Jared Landers 25. Randy Weaver 26. Don O’Neal