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HELLO, OPERATOR! Pierce Leads Flag-to-Flag for $10K MARS Victory at FALS

Josh James Artwork

FAIRBURY, IL – Leading the FALS Super Nationals Feature with less than 10 laps remaining, Bobby Pierce had a brief flashback to the final lap of the 2019 Prairie Dirt Classic as he sped around the high-banked quarter mile.

“I was just hoping that no one got a hell of a run like Brandon [Sheppard] did at the Prairie Dirt Classic,” Pierce recalled. “That’s what I was thinking of at the end, something like that happening. Going down the backstretch on the last lap, I was thinking, ‘well, do I cut down just to prevent something?’”

Pierce was maintaining a several-second advantage over second-running Frank Heckenast Jr. in the closing laps of Saturday’s MARS Super Late Model DIRTcar Series Feature at Fairbury Speedway when the memory of him getting passed in the final corner of the track’s biggest race all season popped into his head. Worried that it might happen again, having no idea who was behind him or how close they were, the young Illinoisan put the pedal down and refocused on the task at hand.

Josh James Artwork

Back in reality, the Smooth Operator had little to worry about. He was over 2.5 seconds ahead with no problematic traffic in front of him. Pierce kept it glued to the high side and cruised to his 11th career MARS Late Model Feature win – one worth a cool $10,000.

Just like Thursday night at Farmer City, Pierce’s win on Saturday was just plain dominant. Coming from the pole and leading all 50 laps, Pierce jetted out to a commanding lead in the opening circuits; one he was never challenged for seriously until the race’s only restart on lap 37.

This stacked the field up behind him and put current MARS points leader Frank Heckenast Jr. right on his bumper. Heckenast was reeling Pierce in slightly before the yellow came out but didn’t seem to have the same charge after the restart.

“Frankie [Heckenast] was catching me for a minute, and I had to find another groove, another rhythm to hit there,” Pierce said. “Finally, I did, right before that caution came out. I was pretty nervous with 12 laps to go because I knew my tires were burning up.”

Josh James Artwork

But in the end, things all went smoothly for the operator. His tires held up, his composure stayed with him and it all worked out. And what an incredible weekend it’s been for the Oakwood, IL-driver, winning two of the three MARS Late Model races with a runner-up finish in the other.


A Feature (50 Laps) 1. 32-Bobby Pierce[1]; 2. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr[3]; 3. 3S-Brian Shirley[5]; 4. 33-Tim Manville[10]; 5. 25-Jason Feger[4]; 6. 10S-Taylor Scheffler[9]; 7. 24-Ryan Unzicker[18]; 8. 25W-Allen Weisser[13]; 9. 21-Billy Moyer Sr[2]; 10. 21B-Rich Bell[16]; 11. 74-Mitch McGrath[20]; 12. 42-Mckay Wenger[21]; 13. 89-Mike Spatola[11]; 14. 9-Eric Smith[19]; 15. (DNF) B12-Kevin Weaver[12]; 16. (DNF) 83-Scott James[7]; 17. (DNF) 35-Derek Chandler[15]; 18. (DNF) 18B-Shannon Babb[8]; 19. (DNF) 19R-Ryan Gustin[6]; 20. (DNF) 2-Mike Chasteen Jr[22]; 21. (DNF) M27-Mike Provenzano[17]; 22. (DNF) 7R-Kent Robinson[14]

B Feature 1 (12 Laps) 1. M27-Mike Provenzano[1]; 2. 9-Eric Smith[4]; 3. 10-Scott Schmitt[5]; 4. 3-Dale Markham[3]; 5. 1W-Donny Walden[7]; 6. 18-Jeffrey Ledford[6]; 7. 56-Brandon Pralle[8]; 8. 28M-Jake Miller[9]; 9. (DNF) 30-Mark Voigt[2]

B Feature 2 (12 Laps) 1. 24-Ryan Unzicker[1]; 2. 74-Mitch McGrath[5]; 3. 42-Mckay Wenger[2]; 4. 2-Mike Chasteen Jr[7]; 5. 15V-Kolby Vandenbergh[4]; 6. 77M-Jay Morris[3]; 7. 111-Steven Roberts[9]; 8. 76-Titus Sneed[8]; 9. (DNF) 12-Jeff Curl[6]

Heat 1 (10 Laps) 1. 32-Bobby Pierce[2]; 2. 3S-Brian Shirley[3]; 3. 10S-Taylor Scheffler[1]; 4. 25W-Allen Weisser[5]; 5. M27-Mike Provenzano[4]; 6. 3-Dale Markham[7]; 7. 10-Scott Schmitt[8]; 8. 1W-Donny Walden[6]; 9. (DNF) 28M-Jake Miller[9]

Heat 2 (10 Laps) 1. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr[2]; 2. 83-Scott James[4]; 3. 89-Mike Spatola[6]; 4. 35-Derek Chandler[1]; 5. 30-Mark Voigt[5]; 6. 9-Eric Smith[3]; 7. 18-Jeffrey Ledford[7]; 8. 56-Brandon Pralle[8]

Heat 3 (10 Laps) 1. 25-Jason Feger[1]; 2. 19R-Ryan Gustin[3]; 3. 33-Tim Manville[4]; 4. 7R-Kent Robinson[2]; 5. 24-Ryan Unzicker[7]; 6. 77M-Jay Morris[5]; 7. 74-Mitch McGrath[6]; 8. 2-Mike Chasteen Jr[8]; 9. 111-Steven Roberts[9]

Heat 4 (10 Laps) 1. 21-Billy Moyer Sr[1]; 2. 18B-Shannon Babb[2]; 3. B12-Kevin Weaver[3]; 4. 21B-Rich Bell[7]; 5. 42-Mckay Wenger[5]; 6. 15V-Kolby Vandenbergh[4]; 7. 12-Jeff Curl[8]; 8. 76-Titus Sneed[6]

Qualifying Group 1 (2 Laps) 1. 10S-Taylor Scheffler, 00:12.936[10]; 2. 35-Derek Chandler, 00:13.076[2]; 3. 32-Bobby Pierce, 00:13.101[1]; 4. 99JR- Frank Heckenast Jr, 00:13.140[5]; 5. 3S-Brian Shirley, 00:13.141[11]; 6. 9-Eric Smith, 00:13.162[15]; 7. M27-Mike Provenzano, 00:13.178[13]; 8. 83-Scott James, 00:13.277[14]; 9. 25W-Allen Weisser, 00:13.368[6]; 10. 30-Mark Voigt, 00:13.391[16]; 11. 1W-Donny Walden, 00:13.477[9]; 12. 89-Mike Spatola, 00:13.526[4]; 13. 3-Dale Markham, 00:13.553[12]; 14. 18-Jeffrey Ledford, 00:13.724[17]; 15. 10-Scott Schmitt, 00:13.874[7]; 16. 56-Brandon Pralle, 00:14.002[8]; 17. 28M-Jake Miller, 00:14.212[3]

Qualifying Group 2 (2 Laps) 1. 25-Jason Feger, 00:13.162[4]; 2. 21-Billy Moyer Sr, 00:13.186[1]; 3. 7R-Kent Robinson, 00:13.244[10]; 4. 18B-Shannon Babb, 00:13.263[11]; 5. 19R-Ryan Gustin, 00:13.273[7]; 6. B12-Kevin Weaver, 00:13.282[13]; 7. 33-Tim Manville, 00:13.373[2]; 8. 15V-Kolby Vandenbergh, 00:13.374[14]; 9. 77M-Jay Morris, 00:13.401[6]; 10. 42-Mckay Wenger, 00:13.427[15]; 11. 74-Mitch McGrath, 00:13.500[17]; 12. 76-Titus Sneed, 00:13.508[3]; 13. 24-Ryan Unzicker, 00:13.508[9]; 14. 21B-Rich Bell, 00:13.528[8]; 15. 2-Mike Chasteen Jr, 00:13.607[5]; 16. 12-Jeff Curl, 00:13.747[12]; 17. (DNS) 111-Steven Roberts

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