GRAND FORKS, N.D. (September 2, 2020) – Before this season, 2014 was arguably the best year of Austin Pierce’s career with six feature wins and the River Cities and NOSA season titles.
Despite an abbreviated season due to COVID-19, Pierce has already tied his season-best win total of six in just 14 events and has a shot at another River Cities Speedway track championship.
Pierce returned to victory lane on Friday night at the Bullring to collect his 33rd career feature win, which puts him in sole possession of fourth place on the all-time NOSA wins list.
Pierce was mired in the seventh starting position for the 25-lap feature, but at the halfway point he had worked his way into a podium position. From there, he caught NOSA point leader, Jade Hastings for second.
The two traded slide jobs at both ends of the speedway for four consecutive laps before Pierce cleared for the position. That battle allowed Ranten to check out by over a full straightaway with 10 laps to go. However, Pierce and Hastings were able to quickly reel in Ranten who was mired in heavy lapped traffic.
With five to go, Pierce was on the rear bumper of Ranten and drove through the middle of the track to take the lead from Ranten off turn four. Ranten countered with a crossover to take the lead as Pierce then had his hands full with Hastings and Wade Nygaard.
Pierce regrouped and made another charge at Ranten in turn one with two laps to go. Pierce threw a slidejob and Ranten hit the brakes to get back underneath him but got loose allowing Nygaard and Hastings to sneak by.
Pierce went on to score the win.
“Once I caught up to Chris (Ranten), I probably could have just rode behind him and we probably would have finished second. But I started diving through the middle and found some moisture. I think we bumped wheels one time on the back straightaway, but we were both able to maintain our positions,” said Pierce post-race. “Then Jade (Hastings) showed his nose there at the end. I didn’t know how it was going to play out, to be honest. I’m just glad we were able to come out on top.”
On Friday, Pierce’s quest for the 2020 track championship will continue at River Cities Speedway. Hot laps are at 6:30pm with racing at 7:00pm.
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Photo by Emily Wicklund.