namars: Aaron Pierce IRP 'Night Before the 500' preview

Event: "Night Before The 500" Midget Car Race ($5,000-to-win) Sanction: United States Auto Club (USAC) Division: National Midget Car Series Track: Indianapolis (IN) Raceway Park...

Event: "Night Before The 500" Midget Car Race ($5,000-to-win)

Sanction: United States Auto Club (USAC)

Division: National Midget Car Series

Track: Indianapolis (IN) Raceway Park (1/2-mile paved oval)

Date: Saturday, May 26, 2001

Schedule: Practice - 3:45 pm; Qualifications - 5:15 pm; First Race - 8:00 pm

Directions to Track: 4 miles west of I-465 on US 136 (west side of Indianapolis) Track Phone: (317) 291-4090

Fast Facts On Driver: Aaron Pierce

Car: Owner - Sam Pierce Chevrolet Number - 26 Chassis - Beast Engine - Snyder Chevrolet Sponsors - Sam Pierce Chevrolet, Snyder Enterprise, Cooper Tire, Long's Excavating, Hanna Auto Body

Age: 27 (birthdate: 3/28/74) Residence: Muncie, Indiana Family: Wife, Brooke - Daughter, Paige (born 6/30/00)

Crew: Dave Hurley, Tony Hay, Ron Bunner Driver Coach: Tom Bigelow (current manager of Winchester Speedway), USAC's all-time winningest Sprint car driver

Driver Duties: Everything - driving the truck, working on the cars, parts runner, racing the car

Full-Time Job: Racing career. Aaron also continues to work in his father's car dealership

2001 Racing Schedule: Will follow both NAMARS Championship/Regional Midgets and USAC National Midget tour

Racing Honors: 2000 NAMARS "Rookie Of The Year;" 2nd In NAMARS National Points; Won "Rookie Of The Race" for 2001 "Thunder In The Dome" 100-lap invitational; 1998 Kenyon Car Champion, won 3 Midget races in 2000; Already has a victory in 2001 (Speedrome, 5/3)

Racing Background: Midgets, Kenyon Cars, Legends, Karts Started Racing: Age 20 Racing Aspirations: Professional Race Car Driver Shop Location: At Sam Pierce Chevrolet, in Middletown, Indiana Favorite Track: Shadybowl Speedway, Degraff, OH Home Track: Anderson Speedway - won many Legends races there Racing Heroes: Tom Bigelow, Dale Earnhardt, Mel Kenyon Family Ties: Father Sam Pierce is owner of Sam Pierce Chevrolet, sponsor of the #26 Sam Pierce Chevrolet Racing Team/Snyder/Beast

DRIVER QUOTES: AARON PIERCE </pre> Regarding his strategy for the upcoming NAMARS 500 (lap) race at the Indianapolis Speedrome on Thursday, May 24th):

"I have had an opinion about it, and my strategy, ever since they announced the race. It's a good one, but I'm not really going to talk about it. Let's just say that I have as much of a chance to win that race as anyone out there. It should be a good week."

Regarding the level of fatigue expected after running 500 laps at the 1/5-mile Speedrome:

"There will be a fatigue factor with everyone. The driver who has enough stamina left at the end of the day, and enough car left, and the person who has tried to save their car for the end of the race will be the one in the winner's circle at the end of the day. Patience will play a big factor in things - you can't win a race like this on the first lap, or the 100th. Careful strategy will play a big part in the race for everyone."

Regarding having to work in a mandatory pit stop (with driver out of the car) during the 500-lap NAMARS 500:

"Everyone will have to stop. I've got a couple of ideas on how we'll handle things. We'll run radios, which will help. It will be different, that's for sure."

Regarding the importance of this NAMARS 500 race:

"I consider it to be the most important race I've run so far anywhere, and to win it would really mean a lot to me and my team. It would be a great honor to be the first "NAMARS 500" champion. It would be the culmination of a lot of hard work for me and my team. And, of course, the $10,000 payday wouldn't hurt, either. I really appreciate everyone at NAMARS and the Indianapolis Speedrome for putting on such a great event for the teams and fans. It's going to be a great race, and one that I'm sure will be an exciting one for anyone involved."

Regarding his USAC race at Hawkeye Downs Speedway in Cedar Rapids, IA on Friday, May 18th - qualified 5th out of 29 cars, finished:

"I really liked that track in Cedar Rapids a lot. I've never seen it before. We unloaded the car and were pretty fast right off of the bat. We qualified well and held the 2nd or 3rd spot for a long time, but got bumped to 5th. I transferred to the feature on the last lap of my heat. We started on the outside, which wasn't the place I wanted to be. I stayed up there for a little bit and finally got a chance to move down into about the 5th spot. The car tightened up a bit at the end, and we slid back to 9th. I ran with James Baxter for a bit, and then tried a move on him that Tracy Hines had just used on me, and it worked. It was a good schooling for me - I raced with Tracy Hines all night and learned a lot."

Regarding winning the inaugural running of the NAMARS "Thursday Night Lightning" Series race at the Indianapolis Speedrome on Thursday, May 3rd, 2001:

"The car was perfect all night long - we didn't really change anything at all from the time we unloaded it off of the trailer. It's great to get a win so early in the year. I knew we were the team to beat after practicing at the Speedrome the night before the race. The track was pretty greasy during the test because it was so hot, and it was the same way on race night, so I had a pretty good handle on things when we got to the track. The Snyder engine I had in my Sam Pierce Chevrolet car was awesome - it ran flawlessly all night long and gave me the power I needed to stay out in front. I really want to thank my dad, Sam Pierce, for all of his support, as well as Tony Hay, who was the mechanic on the car. I'm hoping that was a warmup for this weekend's two big shows at Winchester Speedway."

Regarding expectations for the upcoming 2001 season:

"We'll be racing a lot this year, and will be primarily concentrating on the USAC National Midget Series. I would like to finish in the top-10 in points in the USAC Midgets. I feel that would be a pretty successful season."

Regarding expanding 2001 schedule to race with USAC full time and also race 3 Silver Bullet races:

"We have a lot to learn in USAC. After a full schedule in NAMARS last year, we felt it was the next step we could take on the ladder to move up in racing. It will be tough - the USAC National Midget Series is one of the most competitive around, and we'll need a lot of track time, but I feel that we are prepared to handle the workload. I have a great team, and we are all committed to this year's schedule. Aside from our Midget racing, I will also be running in three Silver Bullet races in the Snyder Enterprise champ car - they are one of my sponsors and take care of my motor program. I am really looking forward to running the champ car, and hope that by next year I'll be able to put together a full program in that series as well."

Visit 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.


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Series Midget
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Aaron Pierce