Kentuckian wins second career tour Feature, first since July 2018
When Tanner English and the Riggs Motorsports team set out on the trail of chasing their first DIRTcar Late Model national points title this year, they knew following the DIRTcar Summer Nationals would be the perfect way to get as many good points finishes as possible.
Friday night at Tri-City Speedway, they got the best finish they could have hoped for in the most exciting way seen so far – denying Bobby Pierce’s last-lap, last-corner attempt for the win in front of several of their friends and family.
English, of Benton, KY, started outside pole of the 40-lap Feature and led every lap to collect the first $10,000 check handed out this season. But after the caution was thrown with three laps remaining, it was almost taken away from him.
Tour champions Brian Shirley and Pierce lined up on his bumper for the restart and both got great jumps as the green was thrown. Pierce took to the high side, got around Shirley for second and gunned it for leader English out of Turn 4 as they came to the white flag.
Pierce appeared to have a good run off of Turn 2 but nearly hit the wall on exit and was forced to lift as English led the charge into Turn 3 with the lead. English rolled it through the middle while Pierce went back up high, riding the cushion for the top-side speed.
Pierce tried to wedge his car between English and the outside Turn 4 wall but was unsuccessful. The two made contact just before the flag stand, slowing English only slightly as he crossed the line ahead of Pierce for his second career Summer Nationals Feature win.
“I knew Bobby was coming, I knew Shirley was there. I had to make my car real wide on the last lap. I didn’t want to, but it’s ten grand, and I led the whole thing. I wanted that one pretty bad,” English said.
In Victory Lane, English was relieved to get the win but would have rather done without the late restart.
“That always kills me – that late caution. I saved my tires, and they weren’t real hot, so they don’t take off on restarts,” he said.
Having been on the other side of last-lap passing situations before, English was happy to see it fall his way for some big money.
“It seems like I gotta do that all the time – I tend to lose them pretty late. Seems like I’ve done that my whole career. I get them wrapped up and lose them at the end. It’s pretty cool to win this one,” English said.
The Summer Nationals action continues Saturday night with Round #5 at the Fairbury Speedway. Catch all the action live on DIRTVision.
Feature (40 Laps) 1. 81E-Tanner English; 2. 32-Bobby Pierce; 3. 3S-Brian Shirley; 4. 25-Jason Feger; 5. 18-Shannon Babb; 6. 21JR-Billy Moyer Jr; 7. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr; 8. 9-Devin Moran; 9. 32S-Chris Simpson; 10. 15-Kolby Vandenbergh; 11. 48-Tim Lance; 12. 14G-Joe Godsey; 13. 82-Billy Laycock; 14. 4G-Bob Gardner; 15. 0-Dewayne Kiefer; 16. 12-Ashton Winger; 17. 248-Brandon Lance; 18. 2-Allen Murray; 19. 24-Ryan Unzicker; 20. 74-Mitch McGrath; 21. 26M-Brent McKinnon; 22. 14-Paul Kuper; 23. 11-Gordy Gundaker