Tim Lance leads first laps, posts third-place finish after challenging Pierce new halfway mark
By now, the fans of the DIRTcar Summer Nationals would typically expect three-time DIRTcar Summer Nationals champion Bobby Pierce to have ice in his veins while leading halfway through the race, deep in traffic with a hungry pack of his competitors behind him. But on Tuesday night at Brownstown Speedway, the Smooth Operator was getting worried.
After leading the first 15 circuits of the 2021 season opener, Pierce, of Oakwood, IL, began taking on relentless pressure from someone behind him. That someone was a driver who’d yet to lead a single lap with the Summer Nationals since his return to full-time racing last year – Brimfield, IL’s own Tim Lance.
Lance, a regular on the tour in 2020, whipped his newer MB Customs Race Car around the bottom of the quarter-mile like the veteran racer he is and had Pierce completely reeled-in by Lap 18. That’s when he made his move.
“I was kind of a sitting duck, I felt like. Every lap I was watching my dad on the backstretch,” Pierce told DIRTVision Pit Reporter Georgia Henneberry.
With superb car control and speed at the very bottom of the track, Lance zoomed by Pierce, who was ripping the slicker top lane, into the lead and led Laps 19-21.
Pierce was forced to battle back on the outside to take the spot back, which he did on Lap 22, but Lance didn’t go away easy. The two battled inside-and-outside for another pair of circuits before Pierce cracked the whip and began to pull away as he reached lapped traffic. But he wasn’t completely out of the woods yet.
Devin Moran, the former World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year from Dresden, OH, found something on the top side of the speedway and reeled-in the lead duo as they dove head-first into lapped traffic in the final 10 laps. He mixed it up with Lance for several laps while simultaneously weaving through the slower cars, and finally got by Lance with just seven-to-go.
Back out front, Pierce had pulled away to a more comfortable advantage and crossed the stripe for his 28th career tour victory – tying him for fifth on the all-time Feature wins list with three-time Hell Tour champion Scott Bloomquist. In Victory Lane, Pierce was visibly relieved to get the win after all the challenge he faced to get it.
“That was a race,” Pierce said. “I was pretty nervous. I didn’t think we were going to hold onto it. About Lap 10 I kinda felt like I was struggling, so I knew with 30 laps to go it was going to be a long race.”
Moran crossed the stripe in second while Lance was able to hold off Tanner English for third. Three-time DIRTcar UMP Modified national champion Devin Gilpin completed the top-five.
The Summer Nationals Late Models are back in action Wednesday night at Peoria Speedway for Round #2 of the 2021 campaign. Catch all the action live on DIRTVision presented by Drydene.
Feature (40 Laps) 1. 32-Bobby Pierce; 2. 9-Devin Moran; 3. 48-Tim Lance; 4. 81E-Tanner English; 5. 1G-Devin Gilpin; 6. 14G- Joe Godsey; 7. 3S-Brian Shirley; 8. 12-Ashton Winger; 9. 74-Mitch McGrath; 10. 42-Chad Finley; 11. 21JR- Billy Moyer Jr; 12. 51-Dean Carpenter; 13. 4G-Bob Gardner; 14. 15-Richard Frost; 15. 25-Jason Feger; 16. 51B-Brandon Carpenter; 17. 14R-Jeff Roth; 18. 24-Jared Bailey; 19. 14B-Britan Godsey; 20. 248- Brandon Lance; 21. 148-Tim Lance Jr; 22. 38-Thomas Hunziker; 23. 13-Brayton Laster