Brandon Pierce proved victorious after making a crucial last lap pass in the 150-lap Late Model Stock Car feature at Southern National Motorsports Park for the CARS Tour season-opener.
In the closing laps, Pierce began to apply pressure on Josh Berry for the lead. After taking the white flag, Pierce made the race-winning move on Berry for the win.
“That was a pretty intense race,” Pierce told Speed51. “We were playing the tire-saving game like everyone else, so we just fell in line there after the first couple of laps. I definitely didn’t want to see that last caution because I felt like I could have got to Josh under green. So I knew there that my only chance was to move into second on the last restart and get him that way and that’s what we did.
“I knew Josh was getting tight, so I knew he was going to drive it in as deep as he could and trying to use that," Pierce added. "I was super free getting in, but I knew the only way I was going to get him was to get into him past the center and move him up a little bit. I tried it three or four times and finally got it done coming out of two on the last lap."
Pierce claimed the pole for the feature, but it was the outside pole sitter, Josh Berry, who led the majority of the race before falling short with two laps to go.
“We just started getting too free at the end and Pierce was better getting in the corner than us,” Berry said. “He gave us a shot and pulled the bump-and-run. I was just trying to do all I could to hang on to it.
“It’s disappointing, but we ran really well. We just needed it to be the 148 instead of 150 (laps),” Berry joked. "You’ll have these days in racing. I’ve been on the other side of that. Congrats to them."
For Pierce, the victory marks his first career win with the CARS Tour, as well as his first at Southern National Motorsports Park.
“It’s pretty surreal,” Pierce said. “I’ve been close to doing this twice last year and to be able to get it done the first race with Lee Pulliam Performance is special. I owe it to my guys, family and my sponsors. It’s a hell of a win and hopefully a first of many.”
The CARS Tour returns to action at Hickory Motor Speedway on March 23. Both the Late Model Stocks and Super Late Models will compete in 150-lap features that day at the “Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars.”
Race fans who missed out on Saturday’s action can click here to visit our Trackside Now updates from the race.
Unofficial Results - CARS Late Model Stock Tour
Southern National Motorsports Park - Lucama, N.C.
March 9, 2019
|11||27||Tommy Lemons, Jr.|
|16||25||Zack St. Onge|
|22||23||Terry Brooks, Jr.|
-Story by: Madison Mabry, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent - Twitter: @MadisonMabry23
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / Casey LaJoie