West Burlington, IA (April 20, 2019) - On a picture perfect night for racing at the 34 Raceway, Bobby Pierce used lapped traffic to his advantage to walk away with his 3rd career win in the ever popular "Slocum 50". The packed grandstand witnessed a race that came down to the end that included three different leaders in the 50 lapper.
Defending Lucas Oil MLRA Champion Chad Simpson rolled off from the DirtonDirt.com pole position alongside of last year's event winner Shannon Babb. Both drivers captured quick time in their respective qualifying sessions and also picked up heat race wins. While Simpson got a great start off of turn four it was Babb that used the top side to take the race lead off the exit of turn two on the races opening lap.
After a lap one caution for a spinning Kyle Bronson, Babb would again jump to the front with Simpson and 2016 Slocum 50 Winner Ryan Unzicker holding down the top three positions. The events second caution would fly on lap 11 when Brandon Sheppard and Jay Johnson, fighting to stay on the lead lap, got together exiting turn four and spun.
Bobby Pierce had moved into the top three and on the ensuing restart went after Chad Simpson for the runner up spot. As Babb jumped out front again Pierce would get past Simpson for second, but only for a handful of laps.
Simpson took advantage of a lap 18 restart to move back around Pierce, and now set his sights on Babb. All night long the 34 Raceway challenged the series drives and on lap 28 Babb slightly jumped the cushion in turn three as Simpson drove away with the race lead, and appeared to be on his way to his first Slocum 50 win.
As Simpson took the lower line he would encounter heavy lapped traffic which played into the hands of Pierce who continued to pound the top side cushion. As the leaders maneuvered turns 3-4 Simpson would stall behind the lapped car of Hudson O'Neal as Pierce took his Hoker Trucking #32 to the front of the field. The race would remain green with the "Smooth Operator" taking the popular victory ahead of Simpson and Babb. Chris Simpson captured the Casey's General Stores Hard Charger for advancing 10 sport to finish fourth while Unzicker rounded out the top five.
An excited and exhausted Pierce commented from victory lane, "Man that was a tough race, but probably one of the funnest I have ran." With the MLRA series utilizing a harder tire package it took until the middle of the event for Pierce to find his way to the front. "It might have taken about 30 laps for my front tires to get warmed up. Running on this hard tire rule is a little different. All night it felt a little slimy until the track really got black like these tires like, and it let us put on a good show for the fans."
Simpson's runner up finish marked his third consecutive podium finish in the event and one he felt he let slip away late in the going. "I just got to racing the lapped cars too much and had my focus on going as fast as I could and racing with them guys. Hats off to Bobby, he did what he had to do and he was in the right place when I got to racing with the lapped cars," commented the two time MLRA Series Champion.
While Babb remained on the podium for another year in the Slocum 50, he was still satisfied with his team's third place efforts. "It wasn't a bad night at all, we will take this. There was some really good completion and I thought it was a hell of a race. It's great all these fans come out to support this deal because we are racing for some really good money," concluded Babb.
The Lucas Oil MLRA Series will not pack up and head south for a weekend double in Oklahoma and Kansas. On Friday night April 27th they will return to the historic ½ mile of Thunderbird Speedway in Muskogee, OK before wrapping up the weekend with a first time visit to the Caney Valley Speedway in Caney, KS. Both events are schedule to pay $3,000 to the winner.
"Slocum 50" Contingencies 4/20/19
Allgaier Motorsports Racing Shocks Award - Chad Simpson
Casey's General Store's "Hard Charger of the Race" - Chris Simpson
Cedar Creek Beef Jerky "Most Laps Led" - Shannon Babb
DirtonDirt.com "Pole Award" - Chad Simpson
Hooker Harness "11th Place Finisher" - Jordan Yaggy
Midwest Sheet Metal "Points Leader Spoiler Challenge" -
Mittler Brothers Machine and Tool "Crew Chief of the Race" - Bob Pierce
Performance Bodies "Performer of the Race" - Bobby Pierce
RacingJunk.com "Hard Luck Award" - Payton Looney
Sunoco "Rookie of the Race" - Jake Neal
Lucas Oil Racing TV A Feature (50 Laps): 1.Bobby Pierce 2.Chad Simpson 3.Shannon Babb 4.Chris Simpson 5.Ryan Unzicker 6.Garrett Alberson 7.Dennis Erb 8.Will Vaught 9.Chase Junghans 10.Jesse Stovall 11.Jordan Yaggy 12.Hudson O'Neal 13.Mitch McGrath 14.JC Wyman 15.Logan Martin 16.Jay Johnson 17.Brian Shirley 18.Dave Eckrich 19.Tyler Erb 20.Brandon Sheppard 21.Kyle Bronson 22.Jeremy Grady 23.Rickey Frankel 24.Payton Looney
Allgaier Motorsports Racing Shocks B Feature 1 (12 Laps): 1.Kyle Bronson 2.Chase Junghans 3.Logan Martin 4.Jonathan Brauns 5.Jake Neal 6.Justin Reed 7.Jason Feger 8.Myles Moos 9.Matthew Mickelson 10.Mark Burgtorf
Hooker Harness B Feature 2 (12 Laps): 1.Jesse Stovall 2.Brandon Sheppard 3.Dave Eckrich 4.Rich Bell 5.Jeremy Grady 6.Jason Rauen 7.Kolby Vandenbergh 8.Skip Frey 9.Matthew Mickelson 10.Joseph Gorby
Cedar Creek Beef Jerky Heat 1 (10 Laps): 1.Chad Simpson 2.Payton Looney 3.Dennis Erb 4.Will Vaught 5.Kyle Bronson 6.Myles Moos 7.Jake Neal 8.Logan Martin 9.Justin Reed 10.Mark Burgtorf
Sunoco Race Fuels Heat 2 (10 Laps): 1.Ryan Unzicker 2.Jordan Yaggy 3.Hudson O'Neal 4.Jay Johnson 5.Jonathan Brauns 6.Chase Junghans 7.Jason Feger 8.JC Wyman 9.
Casey's General Stores Heat 3 (10 Laps): 1.Shannon Babb 2.Rickey Frankel 3.Tyler Erb 4.Chris Simpson 5.Jesse Stovall 6.Rich Bell 7.Jeremy Grady 8.Kolby Vandenbergh
Midwest Sheet Metal Heat 4 (10 Laps): 1.Bobby Pierce 2.Brian Shirley 3.Garrett Alberson 4.Mitch McGrath 5.Jason Rauen 6.Brandon Sheppard 7.Dave Eckrich 8.Matthew Mickelson 9.Skip Frey
For all of the latest news and information fans are encouraged to visit the series website at www.MLRARacing.com.
Lucas Oil MLRA Series Director
Mobile: (417) 309-3509