It was a night of speed and aggressive racing at River Cities Speedway
The drivers probably knew the track would be fast. And it did, with speeds increasing as the 25-lap NOSA sprint function progressed.
Austin Pierce won Friday night’s sprint with another impressive performance – taking the lead early and standing off the field to win for the third time this season at RCS.
Pierce, who started third, stood up to Nick Omdahl and Jade Hastings for his 38th career victory. Pierce recorded the fastest lap time of 11.337 seconds on lap 13. But the other three finishers – Omdahl, Hastings and Jordan Graham – all recorded their best times on laps 14, 24 and 23, respectively, an indication that the running surface was quick. All night long.
Pierce edged Omdahl by 0.816 seconds and Hastings by 1.715 seconds.
“The track was fast and had a lot of curves,” said Pierce. “We set the car up a lot more freely than usual in functionality and it worked. I know if we had walked out here with our heater on I would have bounced all over the place.
Pierce never lost his speed and was strong on restarts, especially the last one with three laps to go. The reboot didn’t open the door for Omdahl and Hastings to catch up with Pierce.
“The only thing I want to do when I’m in the lead is look for the right place,” Pierce said. “I tend to find the right places, but not always.”
The weather conditions have not been the same from week to week at RCS this season. A 23 mph westerly wind on Friday evening made conditions somewhat difficult for the sprint riders.
“I knew if I could keep the track open and keep the wind on my wing, I could make the car run better,” said Pierce. “In turns 1 and 2, it got a little tricky because the wind blew under the wing and wanted to get the car out of the corners. But the wind was worse in the qualifying races.
The late 20-lap model also saw speed, as well as aggressive racing.
Brody Troftgruben won the final, overtaking Nick Minske with three laps to go to take his first checkered flag at RCS.
Eight riders recorded times of less than 13 seconds in the function, with Troftgruben’s best time of 12,644 on the third lap. Lance Schill, who finished 0.655 seconds off the pace, set his fastest time on lap 19.
But there were aggressive races all over the field.
For Troftgruben, it was his second career victory – and the first at RCS.
“It’s absolutely amazing to get this first victory in your hometown,” said Troftgruben.
Track conditions may have played a role in aggressive racing.
“For the car to hold, you had to go really hard in the corners,” said Troftgruben. “And the harder you drive it, sometimes the bumps get a lot worse.”
Dustin Strand, who spun into Turn 1 at the start of the race, came from the back of the field to finish third. Shane Edginton and Brandon Fuller round out the top five.
Matt Schow won the closest race to the evening, winning the modified 18-lap Midwest feature by 0.130 seconds over Randy Thompson.
Schow passed Thompson for the win in the final two corners on the White Flag lap.
“Randy shifted to the side a bit and I tried to keep the car straight,” said Schow. “As I entered (turn) 4, I saw an opening that I had to take and put my nose in. I don’t think we took it too badly.
Lance Schill was third, followed by Ryan Schow and Jamie Dietzler.
John Halvorson had a dominant performance on the streets. He won the 15-lap final with a whopping 7.510 seconds over James Meagher. Stoney Kruk was third.