GRAND FORKS, N.D. (September 7, 2017) – After a near season-long top five streak was snapped the week prior, Austin Pierce and the Opp Construction / Lithia Ford crew bounced back in a big way last Friday night at River Cities Speedway. The 2014 NOSA champion began a new streak of top fives with his solid second place finish on a fast and tacky three-tenths mile racing surface.
“It was a good rebound after last week,” said Austin after the race. “It was a snapped drive shaft that ended our night last week. Luckily it wasn’t the rear end. We were just able to put in a new drive shaft and keep going.”
Friday morning rains played a factor in the track conditions, but the River Cities Speedway track crew did a good job to ensure the surface remained smooth all night long. Still, the abundance of moisture led to a narrow groove, which made passing extremely difficult.
“We were lucky enough to get a front row starting spot. Maybe if we could have started on the outside of the front row, maybe we could have won, but who knows,” said Austin of the starting lineup for the feature. “It was kind of just follow-the-leader in open track, but once we got to lapped traffic I was able to catch up to Chris [Ranten], but then the yellow came out.”
Pierce seemingly had a car that was equally as fast as the leader, Ranten’s, but on each double file restart Ranten’s preference on the outside groove prevailed for him. Austin would close in on Ranten when they approached lapped traffic, but Ranten was able to slice his way through the slower cars to hold the lead.
Austin took the checkers in second place to record his 22nd top five finish of the 2017 season.
There will be a lot on the line this weekend at River Cities Speedway with the third running of the Buffalo Wild Wings Blazin’ Challenge. Since Austin leads the NOSA point standings, he is already locked into the the Blazin’ Challenge. If he can finish first or second in the eight car dash on Saturday, he will start in the 12th row for a potential $8,200 payday if he can drive through the field and win it.
“It’s a relief knowing you’re already locked in. Hopefully we can finish somewhere in the top three or maybe get the $8,200,” said Austin. “We’ve had a lot of practice coming from the back already this year.
The NOSA Sprints will be racing both Friday and Saturday in Grand Forks. Austin enters the weekend with a solid 113 point lead over Casey Mack atop the NOSA point standings and a 70 point lead over Mack in the River Cities Speedway track points.
The entire APR crew would like to thank their sponsors for their continued support!
Lithia Ford Lincoln of Grand Forks
Dahlstrom Motors Inc.
AJ’s Sandblasting & Painting
Grand Forks Abstract & Title (GFabstract.com)
Adams Marketing Promotions
Ostrich Racing Engines
EMi – Eagle Motorsports, Schnee, Henchcraft, Stallard
Sept. 7-8th: River Cities Speedway – John Seitz Memorial
Sept. 15th: River Cities Speedway
Sept. 16th: Devils Lake Speedway – Season Championship
Top Fives: 22
Top Tens: 23
Heat Wins: 11