GRAND FORKS, ND (June 1) – Throughout the first month of racing in the 2016 season, Austin Pierce and the Grand Forks Abstract & Title team have shown some good speed but they haven’t been able to get the finishes they deserve. Fortunately, Friday night at River Cities Speedway the crew took a step in the right direction as they all but had the feature race won in the closing stages.
Austin was quick out of the gate to start the night as he charged from sixth to second in his 10-lap heat race. That put him in the seventh starting position on the 26-car field for the main event.
Luckily Austin was able to maneuver around an opening lap melee that collected five other competitors to start the race.
“We were lucky enough to avoid that wreck right away,” said Austin. “Trent Stengl got sideways and it looked like he did a back flip and we were able to sneak right underneath him, but we were fortunate to come out in our same spot.”
By getting around Casey Mack and Jordan Adams, Austin cracked the top three on lap five. It only took him one more trip around the 3/10th mile oval to make a pass on Mitch Mack to move in to the second spot and set his sight on leader, Cory Mack.
On lap 10 Austin drove to the inside of Cory for the lead, but just as he did the yellow flag was displayed which put the Lithia Ford #2A back in the second spot.
“I knew if I had patience there I could maybe try to get him a couple laps later,” continued Pierce. “I knew our car was a little tight early, but it was coming in better as the race went on so I kind of just took my time and it all worked out.”
On the ensuing restart, Austin was tucked behind the #25 of Mack but dove to the inside of turns one and two and completed a beautiful slide job to take the lead.
“Pretty much the only way I could pass was with slide jobs. As soon as we got out in the lead I could lay the gas down a little harder in the clean air.”
In the late stages of the race, Austin was on cruise control as he had built up a comfortable lead over Mark Dobmeier but with a lap and a half to go, Pierce got tangled up with a lapped car. The contact broke Austin’s momentum and that is all Dobmeier needed to steal the lead away and take the win in heartbreaking fashion. Austin held on to finish second, marking his best finish of the season to date.
“I think we would have won the race if we wouldn’t have made contact with that lapped car. It was still a really fun race and I can’t thank my crew and sponsors enough for letting me come do this.”
Top 5’s: 2
Top 10’s: 4
Heat Wins: 2
Race Recap and photo by Mike Spieker
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