QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. — Bonus-hunting Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., dove under polesitter Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., on the fifth lap Friday at Arizona Speedway to capture the fourth round of the Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout.
Pierce’s $5,000 triumph moves him to within one victory of a $50,000 bonus from title sponsor Keyser Manufacturing for winning four of six miniseries races. While the Keyser Quarter-Million Challenge’s grand prize of $250,000 for six victories is unattainable, Pierce also has a shot at a $100,000 bonus for five victories if he wins the final two features.
“We’re still eligible for the $100,000, so we’re going try really hard to get it,” Pierce said. “It’s really hard. This field is very tough, especially the more nights we run, the more they figure it out.
“We just gotta try to stay one step ahead if we can, but a lot of it goes into how the track is during the night, you know. Simpson’s been really fast on the bottom, and so has Moyer … and we’ve been really good up top. If we get a track that’s almost equally good top and bottom, that’d be a heckuva race.”
Using the high groove virtually all the way, Pierce took the checkers 1.822 seconds ahead of Chris Simpson of Oxford, Iowa, who finished second for the third straight time in the miniseries.
Moyer settled for third while Garrett Alberson of Las Cruces, N.M., was fourth. Terry Phillips of Springfield, Mo., rallied from his 18th starting spot to rounded out the top five.
Once Pierce got out front, he was only slowed by a few early cautions as he continually pulled away from the field. He had nearly a three-second lead on Simpson at halfway, and while that margin was cut in half when Pierce entered lapped traffic, he stretched it back out again, at one point getting a cushion of four slower cars between his No. 32 and Simpson.
“The bottom (groove) being crumby at the start I think really hurt me,” Simpson said. “It got me by some of those guys … but once that top cleaned up, Bobby could just roll. We’ve seen him do it at Eldora (Speedway), we’ve seen him do it his whole life. So I’m kind of the opposite — I’ve been around that bottom. All in all it’s a good night.
The cautions came first when R.C. Whitwell slowed on the backstretch on the sixth lap and again on the ninth lap for debris in turn two.
Drivers return Saturday afternoon for the fifth round of the miniseries and another $5,000-to-win event with hot laps scheduled for 2:30 p.m. and racing at 4 p.m. (that’s an hour ahead of the original schedule as promoters are hoping to avoid Saturday evening rain). Sunday’s finale pays $12,000-to-win with hot laps at 3:30 p.m. and racing at 5 p.m.
Preliminary results and notes:
First consolation: Tyler Erb, Kyle Beard, Jake O'Neil, Justin Kay, A.J. Diemel, Justin Duty, Rob Sanders, Kye Frick, Thomas Hunziker, David Breazeale, Collen Winebarger.
Second consolation: Rodney Sanders, Andrew Kosiski, Scott Lewis, Steve Stultz, Terry Carter, John Duty, Carlos Ahumada Jr., Dan Diebel, Rick Ortega, Paul Guglielmoni, Larry Childress, John Brinkley.
(10 laps; two transfer)
Row 1: Tyler Erb, Kyle Beard
Row 2: Jake O’Neil, David Breazeale
Row 3: A.J. Diemel, Justin Kay
Row 4: Jason Krohn, Justin Duty
Row 5: Rob Sanders, Collen Winebarger
Row 6: Kyle Strickler, Kye Frick
Row 7: Thomas Hunziker
Row 1: Scott Lewis, Andrew Kosiski
Row 2: Larry Childress, Terry Carter
Row 3: Steve Stultz, Rick Ortega
Row 4: Dan Diebel, Carlos Ahumada Jr.
Row 5: John Brinkley, John Duty
Row 6: Rodney Sanders, Clay Daly
Row 7: Paul Guglielmoni
Heat race results
(Top five transfer)
First heat: Bobby Pierce, Jason Rauen, Dustin Strand, Jimmy Mars, Brandon Overton, Tyler Erb, Jake O'Neil, A.J. Diemel, Jason Krohn, Jake O'Neil, Rob Sanders, Kyle Strickler, Thomas Hunziker.
Second heat: Chris Simpson, Joey Moriarty, Tony Toste, Earl Pearson Jr., Terry Phillips, Kyle Beard, David Breazeale, Justin Kay, Justin Duty, Collen Winebarger, Kye Frick, Paul Guglielmoni.
Third heat: Billy Moyer, Garrett Alberson, Chandler Petty, Chad Mahder, Billy Franklin, Scott Lewis, Larry Childress, Steve Stultz, Dan Diebel, John Brinkley, Rodney Sanders.
Fourth heat: Scott Ward, Steve Drake, R.C. Whitwell, Cole Schill, Nick Bartels, Andrew Kosiski, Terry Carter, Rick Ortega, Carlos Ahumada Jr., John Duty, Clay Daly.
The fourth round of the Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout rolls Friday at Arizona Speedway with miniseries king Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., going for his second straight victory.
Moyer won Wednesday’s 30-lap main event to end Bobby Pierce’s chances for Keyser Quarter-Million Challenge after Pierce captured the first two races at the third-mile oval southeast of Phoenix. Pierce, however, still has the opportunity at $100,000 (for five victories) or $50,000 (for four victories) as part of the title sponsor’s bonus program. Moyer also has a shot at the four-victory bonus.
Friday’s program is expected to split Late Models into four groups for time trials with officials employing combination hot-lap/time trials to set the lineups for four heat races. Drivers start heats straightup by time.
The top five finishers in each of four heat races transfer to the 30-lap main event with the winners redrawing for the first two rows of the feature lineup. Two consolation races transfer two drivers apiece to complete the 24-car field for the feature, which pays $5,000-to-win.
Friday’s event is the fourth of six races over nine days at the third-mile oval southeast of Phoenix.
R.C. Whitwell of Tucson, Ariz., didn't get a qualifying time after his battery went dead in staging. ... Fellow Tucson driver Jake O'Neil, who missed Wednesday's program while waiting on parts to repair a motor, had transmission problems in Friday's time trials and also didn't get a time; his team swapped transmissions before the heat race. ... It appeared Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., might be done for a week after engine problems with his Don Shaw-owned Billy Moyer Victory Race Car, but chassis builder Karl Performance arranged for Shaw’s team to borrow a powerplant from Moyer. … Fifty-two Late Model drivers have competed so far in the miniseries with three more expected this weekend: former MLRA Rookie of the Year Scott Lewis of Henderson, Colo., modified ace Kyle Strickler of Mooresville, N.C., and Chandler Petty of Cabot, Ark., who is competing in 2017 as a teammate to Garrett Alberson for Haughton, La.-based Childress Racing. … Strickler is driving the No. 46 previously driven by Darren Coffell of Bend, Ore., for his second career Late Model start (he ran two regional touring events in North Carolina in 2012). ... Among drivers done for the week are last year's Knoxville Nationals winner Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., who had mechanical issues two of the three nights he competed. ... Entering Friday, the three modified features have been won by drivers who have also competed in the Late Model division, Dustin Strand of Grand Forks, N.D., and Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., who has two modified victories but is out of the Late Model division after crashing his J.R. Haley-owned No. 33x. ... With rain in the forecast for Saturday evening, promoters decided to move racing up one hour to 4 p.m. with hot laps at 2:30 p.m.; racing was originally scheduled for 5 p.m.
(Heat race lineups straightup by time)
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 15.003
Jason Rauen (98), Farley, Iowa, 15.037
A.J. Diemel (58), Elk Mound, Wis., 15.128
Dustin Strand (71), Grand Forks, N.D., 15.207
Brandon Overton (42s), Evans, Ga., 15.215
Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis., 15.286
Tyler Erb (91), New Waverly, Texas, 15.289
Rob Sanders (10N), Bakersfield, Calif., 15.501
Jason Krohn (7k), Slayton, Minn., 15.510
Kyle Strickler (46), Mooresville, N.C., 15.641
Thomas Hunziker (38), Bend, Ore., 16.235
Jake O’Neil (0), Tucson, Ariz., no time
Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, 15.013
Joey Moriarty (51), Phoenix, Ariz., 15.165
Tony Toste (91T), Pismo Beach, Calif., 15.332
Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla., 15.355
Kyle Beard (86), Trumann, Ark., 15.387
Terry Phillips (75), Springfield, Mo., 15.407
David Breazeale (54), Four Corners, Miss., 15.534
Justin Kay (15K), Wheatland, Iowa, 15.696
Justin Duty (15D), Mulino, Ore., 15.865
Collen Winebarger (74w), Corbett, Ore., 16.287
Kye Frick (08), Sweet Home, Ore., 16.363
Paul Guglielmoni (22), Vacaville, Calif., no time
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 15.193
Garrett Alberson (F5), Las Cruces, N.M., 15.213
Rodney Sanders (20), Happy, Texas, 15.218
Chandler Petty (R5), Cabot, Ark., 15.344
Billy Franklin (17), Calera, Ala., 15.651
Chad Mahder (33C), Eau Claire, Wis., 15.655
Dan Diebel (74), Lebanon, Ore., 16.190
Steve Stultz (78), Peoria, Ariz., 16.227
Scott Lewis (99), Henderson, Colo., 16.268
Larry Childress (17), Bakersfield, Calif., 16.433
John Brinkley (26), Prescott, Ariz., 17.101
Steve Drake (11x), San Luis Obispo, Calif., 15.602
John Duty (5), Mulino, Ore., 15.651
Clay Daly (32B), Watsonville, Calif., 15.802
Nick Bartels (12), El Segundo, Calif., 15.861
Scott Ward (37), Watertown S.D., 15.972
Andrew Kosiski (53), Omaha, Neb., 16.021
Cole Schill (44), West Fargo, N.D., 16.315
Carlos Ahumada Jr. (54), El Paso, Texas, 16.408
Terry Carter (6T), Edmonton, Alberta, 16.447
Rick Ortega (24), Las Cruces, N.M., 16.774
R.C. Whitwell (96), Tucson, Ariz., no time
5:30 p.m - Hot laps (by heat lineups)
Late Models (combo hot laps/time trials)
6:50 p.m. - National anthem
6:55 p.m. - Heat races
X-mods (8 laps)
Modifieds (8 laps)
Late Models (8 laps)
X-mods (10 laps)
Modifieds (12 laps)
Late Models (12 laps)
X-mods (20 laps)
Modifieds (25 laps)
Late Models (30 laps)