Starting strong, finishing strong
The key to winning sprint features at River Cities Speedway is the ability to handle lapped traffic. And that gets harder when few caution flags are waved. Only one caution was waved Friday night at The Bullring, meaning Austin Pierce had more th...
The key to winning sprint features at River Cities Speedway is the ability to handle lapped traffic.
And that gets harder when few caution flags are waved.
Only one caution was waved Friday night at The Bullring, meaning Austin Pierce had more than the usual amount of lapped traffic to handle.
But the Grand Forks driver successfully handled the lapped traffic and picked up the 25-lap win, his first of the season and the third different driver to win a feature in four nights of racing this season at RCS.
Pierce started on the pole but found himself in lapped traffic on Lap 3. The race stayed green until Lap 16 when the only caution flag of the race was waved. On the restart, Bob Martin made a strong charge at Pierce. But Pierce was able to hang on.
"I thought the restart was going to cost me the race," said Pierce. "I got too close to the inside berm and covered my wheels with some slime. It took about a half-lap to get rid of it.
"Luckily, Bob slipped up a little in Turn 2 and I was fortunate enough to catch some moisture to get by him."
Pierce posted the fastest time-11.590 seconds-on Lap 2. He beat Wade Nygaard to the flagstand by 2.485 seconds. Martin, in his strongest run of the season, finished third, followed by Casey Mack and Chris Ranten.
Pierce said the race was easier considering Mark Dobmeier and Thomas Kennedy-who combined to win the first three features of the season-weren't at The Bullring.
"Still, it's pretty tough to win here," said Pierce.
In the late model feature, Dustin Strand started on the front row and led all 20 laps to take the win. It was the fourth different driver to win a late model feature at RCS in four nights.
Strand was challenged midway through the race by Bill Mooney and later by Mike Balcaen, who finished second-2.313 seconds off the pace.
Strand also had the fastest lap time of 12.322 seconds while Mooney posted a 12.344 before pulling off the track on Lap 12.
"We've been having some tough luck this season; hopefully this points us in the right direction," said Strand.
Track conditions were a little challenging, said Strand.
"It was wide open out there," added Strand. "It's the fastest track we've had this season."
Zach Naastad finished third, followed by Ryan Corbett and Brad Seng.
In a caution-plagued Midwest modified feature, Jason Halverson took the checkered flag as the race was cut short by six laps.
Todd Johnson finished second. Nate Reynolds, Rick Hamel and Ryan Schroeder rounded out the top five.
Aaron Blacklance won the streets feature, holding off Kyle Dykhoff by 0.316 seconds.