For Austin Pierce, the upcoming offseason will have plenty of anticipation.
That’s because Pierce ended the 2021 racing season at River Cities Speedway on a major roll as he won his seventh-straight sprint feature at The Bullring on Friday night to cap the most successful season of his career.
Pierce now is one win short of the RCS record for consecutive sprint wins. And that record is held by Mark Dobmeier, the winningest driver in track history.
But Pierce will have to wait until the 2022 season for a chance to tie Dobmeier’s record.
His seventh straight win came in dramatic fashion. Pierce passed Jade Hastings out of Turn 4 as the white flag was waving. He then held for the final lap, edging Hastings by 0.791 seconds.
Dobmeier, who was one of seven drivers who accepted the Buffalo Wild Wings Back Row Challenge, drove from 19th place and finished third.
“This is awesome,” said Pierce in Victory Lane. “It’s surreal; it really hasn’t hit me to be honest. I wish we had some more races. But hopefully the streak can continue into next year.
“And this was a fun race. There was a top and bottom groove and the middle was good in some spots.”
Pierce and Hastings traded the lead a couple of times. Hastings grabbed the lead from Pierce with eight laps to go, taking the top spot as the drivers exited Turn 4.
The yellow flag came out with three laps left, resulting in a three-lap shootout.
“I just had to keep Jade in my sights on the restart and we were able to get by him,” Pierce said.
Hastings had the fastest lap time of 11.028 seconds (81.610 mph), that coming on Lap 3.
Bob Martin finished fourth while Brendan Mullen rounded out the top five.
For Pierce, it was the 10th win overall this season. He also wrapped up the RCS season points title with the win.
Also, the win was the 45th of Pierce’s career.
A number of IMCA classes also raced at the season finale, along with lightning sprints and wingless sprints.
And the ever-popular buses raced, entertaining a solid crowd with two heat races and a 10-lap feature. A number of track officials and workers raced the old, painted school buses. It was estimated the big, lumbering buses topped out at around 45-50 mph on the track.
Jay Loughman won the IMCA hobby stock feature; Justin Jones won the IMCA Northern Sports Mod main event; Tyler McDougall captured the IMCA stock feature; Dexter Dvergsten won the lightning sprint main event and the wingless sprint feature win went to Ken Hron of Grand Rapids, Minn.