Fast and furious Shadybowl Speedway produces near win for Aaron Pierce and the Sam Pierce Chevrolet Racing Team; team runs out of fuel while leading race after 70 laps under caution. <pre> Event: Season Opener Sanction: ...
Fast and furious Shadybowl Speedway produces near win for Aaron Pierce and the Sam Pierce Chevrolet Racing Team; team runs out of fuel while leading race after 70 laps under caution. <pre> Event: Season Opener
Sanction: North American Midget Auto Racing Series, Inc. (NAMARS)
Division: Championship Midget Car Series (race #1)
Track: Shadybowl Speedway, Degraff, OH - 3/10 paved
Date: Saturday, April 28, 2001
Last NAMARS Race: Won season-ending NAMARS race at Shadybowl Speedway, on September 20, 2000
RACE DETAILS - Sam Pierce Chevrolet Racing Team
Driver: Aaron Pierce Car: #26 / Sam Pierce Chevrolet / Snyder Enterprise / Long's Excavating / Cooper Tire / Snyder Chevy / Beast Team Members: Dave Hurley, Ron Bunner, Bill Meyers, Allen Sneed
Qualified: 5th, 12.771 seconds Heat: 2nd (started 7th) Starting position on Feature grid: 2nd (invert top-6 qualifiers) Finish position in Feature: 7th
FEATURE RESULTS: </pre> 1) Dave Baumgartner, 2) A.J. Felker, 3) Jimmy McCune, 4) Ron Gregory, 5) Chris Gabehart, 6) Bobby East, 7) Aaron Pierce, 8) Jim Sawyer, 9) Thomas Briggs, 10) Sondi Eden, 11) Phil Rutledge, 12) Adam Nuetzel, 13) Brice Kenyon, 14) A.J. Fike, 15) James Baxter II, 16) Travis Minea, 17) Gary Harrell, 18) Jeff Parga, 19) Brad Kuhn, 20) Matt Westfall, 21) Kevin Myers 22) A.J. Davis
* 41 Midgets entered Shadybowl Speedway race - 22 started the Feature.
AARON PIERCE / SHADYBOWL SPEEDWAY RACE NOTES:
Aaron Pierce showed why Shadybowl Speedway is his favorite track after a strong performance at the Degraff, Ohio oval. Starting second on the grid next to eventual winner Dave Baumgartner, Pierce stayed in that position through the first half of the 30-lap feature, and made his move to the leading spot about 15 laps into the race. With about five laps to the checkered, and as Pierce was fighting for the lead spot, his #26 Sam Pierce Chevrolet/Snyder Enterprise/Long's Excavating/Cooper Tire/Snyder Chevy/Beast started sputtering out of fuel and Pierce had to limp around for those final agonizing laps, eventually falling to the seventh position at the finish. Even winner Baumgartner had to admit that Pierce was "lightning quick" and would have been the guy to beat at the end of the race.
The configuration of this western Ohio facility is odd, to say the least - drivers either love it or hate it, depending on whether they have figured out the most efficient way to travel around the 3/10-mile paved track (it has been described as an upside down Pringles potato chip). Pierce is undoubtedly one of the few who has figured it out, winning several times at that facility in both Legends cars and Midgets, the most recent victory coming in the final race of the NAMARS 2000 season. This win allowed Pierce to solidify his "Rookie Of The Year" performance in that series and planted him firmly in second in the final season points tally.
AARON PIERCE QUOTES:
On his race at Shadybowl Speedway - finished seventh:
"We had a good race. I think we would have won, no problem. I didn't have the pedal to the floor down the straights at all. I was running my own line, and the car never broke loose - I never messed up the handling. It was hard for him (eventual race winner Dave Baumgartner) to get by me. I was running 12.90's easy and the car would go faster. I wanted to save the tires for the last 10 laps, and then I was going to take off. I wasn't pushing it at all early in the race. I was running a little lower on the track to try to guard the bottom, and if anyone got up outside of me, I had more. It's just a shame that I ran out of fuel at the end there, because it would have been a good show for the fans."
About the extensive amount of yellow flag laps - about 70, added to 30 green
"How can you plan for 100 laps of racing when it's supposed to be a 30-lap race? It would have been a better race had they let us stop and refuel. I had 17 gallons of fuel in my tank - plenty enough to run 65 hard laps. They should have given us an opportunity to refuel. I ran out of fuel about five laps from the end and had to just hope that I could limp around to finish on the lead lap. That cost us about six or seven positions. If we could have refueled, or if there was about five less yellow flag laps, I feel I probably would have won that race."
About Shadybowl Speedway:
"I really like Shadybowl. I've run Legends cars there a lot, and I won there in a Midget the last time we raced at the end of the season last year. I have a bit of an advantage because about half the people that go there don't like the track, but I love it. It's really fun. It's shaped like a cowboy hat. When you get down to the bottom in the corners, if you keep your momentum up, there's a lot of downforce, and you can use that to your advantage."
After a quick but somewhat frustrating day at Shadybowl Speedway on Saturday, the Sam Pierce Chevrolet Racing Team headed directly to the 1/5-mile Indianapolis Speedrome on Indy's southeast side. Normally driver Aaron Pierce is behind the wheel of a Midget when they travel to this tight oval (winning a race there in 2000), but on Sunday, it was the other team members who got to shine. Sam Pierce Chevrolet Racing Team mechanic Tony Hay is promoting a series of karting events called the Indiana Speedway Pavement Series, and the first stop was this past Sunday at the Speedrome. Supporting his series was the Sam Pierce Chevrolet Racing Team, out in full force. Chief Mechanic Dave Hurley finished a strong third in his feature race in the Heavy Stock class, and mechanic Allen Sneed finished fourth in his Super Heavy Stock class. Driver Aaron Pierce took on the role of mechanic for his friends who got the fun of racing this past weekend, although he did get an opportunity to take about 20 solo laps in a kart he had been working on all afternoon after the features finished - familiar territory for this racing champion who owned a kart prior to moving into Legends, then Midget race cars.
"It was just fun to get back on a 2-cycle kart again. That is what I had when I was younger, although I've never driven on an oval with that type of kart, as all of my experience was on road courses," Pierce says of his Sunday fun ride. Asked whether running Sunday in a kart may encourage him to go back to running in that division again in his spare time, he responded, "No, I don't want to get hurt. I ran two kart races last year and flipped at Mt. Lawn. I didn't get hurt, but my dad (Midget car owner) didn't like that at all. I really don't have any business being in one anymore."
Hurley, who has been karting for about four years, hopes his experience in the Indiana Speedway Pavement Series might allow him to move into other forms of racing. With a little help from friends like Aaron and sponsors LSR Excavating, Press-A-Dent and Sam Pierce Chevrolet, the familiar #26 kart will continue this year running in as many kart events as possible.
Although his third-place finish might have satisfied any other driver, Hurley, driving a Briggs/Magnum, was not all that happy with how the day went after having a quick test at the track a few weeks prior to the race. "The day was terrible," Hurley explained. "We were fast in our test, but then the track changed and we ended up going backward. We tried to go back to our original setup but we really didn't have time to work with it. The kart wasn't pulling down the straight at all. But we'll go to the other Indiana Speedway Pavement Series races and support Tony (Hay) when we can when Aaron's not racing. It was a fun day, though, and I really appreciate all of the help I got from my crew and sponsors who have helped me out this year."
BIG WEEK OF RACING PLANNED FOR THE SAM PIERCE CHEVROLET RACING TEAM
Having only a day or two to turn around the car from the Shadybowl race, the team will head to Winchester (IN) Speedway, another one of Aaron Pierce's favorite tracks, on Wednesday for a private test in preparation for this weekend's $5,000-to-win Winchester Shootout on Saturday, and the big 50-lap $10,000-to-win Pepsi Rich Vogler Classic/Oldtimers Weekend on Sunday, both invitational races. Thursday kicks off the first of 17 weeks of NAMARS Regional Midget Car Series action at the Indianapolis Speedrome, and the Sam Pierce Chevrolet Racing Team will be there that day, and will run as many of those Regional races as possible in preparation for the huge NAMARS 500 (lap) race on May 22-24, with the $10,000-to-win payday held on Carb Day night (for the Indy 500). With about 80 entries already (entries are anticipated to peak at more than 100) and only 33 starters, this will be one of the hardest races to make the feature in all year, but the team is not worried as Pierce has plenty of laps - and one win - on the Speedrome's tight quarters. In their "spare" time, the team may take advantage of an open test at Winchester Speedway on Friday, getting in a few more practice laps before the big weekend of racing.
RACE WEEK QUOTES - AARON PIERCE :
About the upcoming Indianapolis Speedrome NAMARS Regional Midget Car race Thursday:
"I feel very confident about my chances this Thursday, especially with the car I'll be driving. The competition is always good, and depending on which car Michael Lang brings - he'll be a factor regardless of what he's driving - the race should be between myself, Lang, Ricky Treadway and (2000 Speedrome Champ) Daryl Campbell."
Regarding upcoming $15,000 weekend at Winchester Speedway:
"The big money doesn't exactly affect how I drive. I need to just keep my equipment together and do the best I can. The money is nice, and it's an incentive, but I wouldn't get myself into a situation to crash a car over it. I like the track, but I'm not really comfortable there yet. But then again I don't have my car handling right for that place yet, either. This is a new year and I've picked up a whole lot more experience. We'll find out Wednesday when we test just how much that will apply to going back to Winchester - I think we'll do pretty well this weekend. I really like the high banks - it's like a BIG Anderson Speedway, my favorite track."
Visit www.aaronpierce.com for more news and information about Aaron Pierce and the Sam Pierce Chevrolet Racing Team.
The Sam Pierce Chevrolet Racing Team would like to thank their sponsors for the 2001 season: Sam Pierce Chevrolet, Snyder Enterprise, Long's Excavating and Cooper Tire and friend Gale Tschuor. Without their support, the team could not race.