DUAL GATORS: Bobby Pierce Wins Second Consecutive Wednesday DIRTcar Nationals Feature

Pierce outclasses the DIRTcar Late Models to win his fifth career gator trophy


In the span of 24 hours, Bobby Pierce went from the heartache of losing a Feature due to a broken fuel line to the enjoyment of scoring two consecutive Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals wins.

The Oakwood, IL driver ended the day’s program by winning the 25-lap, $7,000-to-win Monday Feature with the DIRTcar Late Models – which was postponed from Monday – about 30 minutes after winning one of the split 20-lap Features.

Martinsville, IN’s Ricky Thornton Jr., and Winfield, TN’s Mike Marlar led the field to the green flag. Thornton quickly gained the lead from Marlar off Turn 2 by using both the bottom and high line, respectively.

Thornton quickly flew away from the pack, ripping the high line and having to navigate the hornet’s nest of lapped cars in front of him.

While Thornton dominated the early-going, Pierce – who started the Feature in fourth place – got by Marlar and Robeline, LA’s Cade Dillard to chase down Thornton.

Then, on Lap 12, Tyler Bruening made contact with Thornton on the backstretch – damaging the #20RT and giving Pierce and Marlar a chance to attack for the lead.

Pierce used the bottom lane while Thornton and Marlar used the edge of the high line. Thornton’s previous damage continued to hurt him, dropping out of contention while Marlar suffered a flat tire.

From there, the “Smooth Operator” made his #32 workaround “The World’s Fastest Half Mile,” navigating lap traffic with ease and keeping Watertown, NY’s Tim McCreadie and Dillard behind him to win his second consecutive golden gator trophy.

“That was an exciting race,” Pierce said. “Lots of stuff going on there. I feel like everything happened pretty quick. Like, I caught Marlar and Ricky wasn’t too far ahead at that time but then he started to pull away and next thing I know, Ricky got all crossed up. I went under him and then I jumped the cushion and then here comes Marlar and we went three-wide.

“I saw how they were going into the corner and I thought, ‘This isn’t good,’ so I backed off, used the bottom, and next thing I know, they washed up the track. Luckily, I got the lead and tried not to make any mistakes because it was slick as ice out there. It was super hard to drive, especially on a half-mile track. Even when I had the lead comfortably, I still had to make sure to not make a mistake in the corners.”

McCreadie – the defending Big Gator champion – took home the second-place finish after taking a chance to pass Pierce, which never solidified for the driver of the Paylor Motorsports #39.

“The restarts shook things up a bit,” McCreadie said. “The cushion was pretty fast and sometimes that’s how it goes. I would’ve liked to kept going when it got really wild out there between the three guys because it looked like they all jumbled up at the same time in the cushion and when the caution flew, we never got a chance. It’s OK, we’re happy that we’re competitive and took a shot. I just didn’t steer good enough through the center to not hit (Bobby), so I tried not to hit him, and he cleared me so I did all I could to stay behind. We’ll take to them tomorrow.”

Dillard finished the podium with his third-place finish. With the result, Dillard continues a streak of finishing inside the top five in each DIRTcar Nationals Feature in 2024.

“Yeah, it was wild,” Dillard said. “The one caution came out, I looked up and saw that I was behind Pierce and Marlar. I didn’t even see us catching them so it’s hard to look at everything else you’re doing because you’re trying to keep yourself off the cushion and the wall. I felt like we were good on that long run there. Me and (McCreadie) drove up a pretty good ways back too. After that, I had to manage and put myself in the right spot to get back to the top.”

Tuesday night’s Feature winner Devin Moran finished fourth after a hard-charging performance of gaining 17 spots to earn a spot in the top five. Joining Moran to close the night’s top five finishers was Martinsville, IN’s Hudson O’Neal.

UP NEXT: The World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models invade Volusia Speedway Park for the final three nights of the 53rd Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals, Feb. 15-17. The Super DIRTcar Series will share the racing action with the “Most Powerful Late Models on the Planet.” For more information and tickets, visit DIRTcarNationals.com.

If you can’t make it to the track, watch every lap live on DIRTVision – available either online or through the DIRTVision App.

Feature (25 laps):

  1. 32-Bobby Pierce[4]; 2. 39-Tim McCreadie[6]; 3. 97-Cade Dillard[3]; 4. 99-Devin Moran[21]; 5. 1-Hudson O’Neal[5]; 6. 18-Chase Junghans[7]; 7. 18D-Daulton Wilson[9]; 8. B5-Brandon Sheppard[14]; 9. 111-Max Blair[23]; 10. 44-Chris Madden[10]; 11. 99T-Dylan Thompson[16]; 12. 9-Nick Hoffman[15]; 13. 16-Tyler Bruening[18]; 14. 5-Mark Whitener[11]; 15. 97C-Cody Overton[20]; 16. 30-Todd Cooney[12]; 17. 22*-Max McLaughlin[22]; 18. 40B-Kyle Bronson[8]; 19. 114-Jordan Koehler[17]; 20. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[1]; 21. 157-Mike Marlar[2]; 22. 7T-Drake Troutman[19]; 23. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[13]; 24. 12-Ashton Winger[24]