Billy Moyer Sr. charged to the front late to grab his 44th career Lucas Oil MLRA victory in a classic battle with Bobby Pierce, while Jeremiah Hurst overcame adversity surviving the forty lap main event to capture both the 2020 MLRA Championship and Sunoco Race Fuels Rookie of the Year Title.
In a back and forth points battle all race long, Hurst scored the title by a single position (5-points) over two-time series champion Chad Simpson. The drama started early for as both title contenders had to use series provisions, and started side-by-side in row number twelve with an uphill battle to overtake four-time series winner Payton Looney.
Jason Papich led the field to the green from the DirtOnDirt.com Pole for the first time this season alongside Pierce. Pierce took the lead at the drop of the green and set sail in “Smooth Operator” fashion along the top side of the speedway. The race would go green for the first twenty-five circuits, with Pierce deep into lapped traffic leading the way over Shannon Babb and Ryan Gustin.
A lap twenty-five caution for Friday night’s winner Mason Oberkramer slowed the pace and nearly ended the night for Pierce as he made contact with the Oberkramer machine as it sat idle at the top of turn one. Another quick caution would mix up the order on lap 27 as the pressure began to mount on Pierce, with Moyer racing into contention from his sixth starting position.
As the field raced off turn four to complete lap 29, Moyer drove to the bottom and found just enough grip to seize the top spot, just seconds before the caution waved for Rick Eckert who spun off the exit of turn four. On the restart, Tim Manville made contact with the front stretch wall, and rolled onto his top at the end of the front stretch bringing out the red flag. Manville would walk away from the incident.
Billy Moyer captured the MLRA finale at Tri-City Speedway. Lloyd Collins–FastTrack Photos.
With the battle up front in Moyer’s control, the championship was up for grabs as title leader Payton Looney found himself diving to the hot pit for repairs to the right front of his Capital Chassis. The multiple cautions allowed Tony Jackson Jr. to race inside the top five while Chad Simpson worked towards the top ten in pursuit of the title, all the while Hurst was quietly doing what he had to do to take back the top spot and the Midwest Sheet Metal Spoiler Challenge.
Moyer would take control on the final restart and stretched out the lead only to see Pierce come charging back in the closing laps. Pierce tapped the wall exciting turn two on the final lap, which allowed Moyer to pull away for the win with Pierce and Gustin completing the podium. Jackson Jr, and Chad Simpson would complete the top five.
Moyer collected the $7,000 pay day and commented in victory lane, “We made some changes to the car and hit it pretty good. Early in the race I was a little bit concerned, but I guess it kind of come to us the longer we went. The bottom was kind of wore out more but I could make better time down there.”
“Down both strait-a-ways even the back there it felt like way low there I could get a little bit of grip to get ahold of. That’s where I worked hard to try to adjust the car where I could kind of hit that little strip there and it worked out for us. It was a fun race and the track the last two nights has been really good race wise with a good top and bottom on it,” concluded Moyer.
As Moyer collect the MLRA check in victory lane, MLRA staff was busy tabulating the final stands which found the series top four drivers separated by just 20 points at the finish. Hurst catured the $15,000 MLRA series title by five points over Simpson, ten over Looney, and twenty over Jackson Jr. in one of the deepest MLRA title bouts in series history.