–by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
BRADFORD – Adam Pierson showed he was still the king of Bear Ridge Speedway on Saturday night.
The East Corinth driver used a lap 23 restart to get by leader Allan Hammond and then held off Josh Sunn in the closing stages of the 35-lap F.M.S. NAPA Auto Parts season opening event to claim the win.
“It feels great,” Pierson said. “The track was really rough and it was one of those deals where you had to hit the line exactly perfect or otherwise you’d mess up.
“I was surprised. I figured that starting midfield that I’d be lucky to get up through because it was rough.”
The reigning track champion had to maneuver his way from a 13th place starting spot into the lead twice on a lap 20 restart. Pierson quickly moved past leader Hammond on the outside, but the result was erased as a caution flag flew before the lap was completed.
On the next restart, Hammond made it a bit more difficult for Pierson, but the multi-time track champion stepped up and moved his way past Hammond to take the lead on lap 23.
“I was kind of disappointed as I thought we completed the lap (on the first restart), but it is what it is,” Pierson said. “That second time, (Hammond) was waiting for it and he went up higher. I couldn’t get that extra run. He pushed up and I hit him a little bit and did it again and I eventually got (to his outside).”
Pierson was then forced to hold off his close friend and Midget car teammate Sunn as Sunn looked to Pierson’s inside in the final laps of the event.
“To be honest, Josh is probably one of the few people I trust on the race track,” Pierson said. “I know he’ll give me room no matter what and he knows that I’ll do the same, even though tonight was one of those last lap deals.
“I respect him a lot and he’s almost like a brother to me.”
Sunn finished second after he won the USAC Dirt Midget Association event earlier in the night. The White River Junction driver moved his way from a tenth place starting spot to be in the second spot by lap seven and pressured Hammond for most of his time in the lead. After Pierson moved into the lead from the third spot on the lap 21 “Delaware-style” restart, Sunn followed suit and kept himself planted on Pierson’s bumper.
Tom Forward of Lyme, N.H. used a fourth place starting spot to stay inside the top-five to complete the podium finishers. A pair of Bradford drivers, Wayne Stearns and Jordan Fornwalt, completed the top-five finishers, respectively.
Kevin Chaffee bounced back from a mid-race tire problem to finish sixth while Arnie Styles finished seventh. Louie Cadwell, Todd Buckwold, and Ryan Christian finished eighth, ninth, and tenth, respectively.
VtMotorMag.com will have more from Bear Ridge’s F.M.S. NAPA Auto Parts season opener soon.
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS – F.M.S. NAPA Auto Parts 35
Sabil & Sons DIRTcar Sportsman Modifieds – Bear Ridge Speedway, Bradford, Vt.
Saturday, May 7, 2016
1. (13) Adam Pierson, East Corinth
2. (10) Josh Sunn, White River Junction
3. (4) Tom Forward, Lyme, N.H.
4. (14) Wayne Stearns, Bradford
5. (11) Jordan Fornwalt, Bradford
6. (12) Kevin Chaffee, Fairlee
7. (17) Arnie Stygles, Bradford
8. (19) Louie Cadwell, Thetford
9. (23) Todd Buckwold, Canaan, N.H.
10. (8) Ryan Christian, Canaan, N.H.
11. (20) Ryan Ovitt, Canaan, N.H.
12. (15) Terry Williams, Wells River
13. (7) Tim Tucker, Northfield
14. (22) D.J. Robinson, Canaan, N.H.
15. (18) Matt Lashua, Canaan, N.H.
16. (25) Lenny Pillsbury, Cornish, N.H.
17. (9) Josh Currier, Newport
18. (6) T.C. Forward, Lyme, N.H.
19. (1) Allan Hammond, Canaan, N.H.
20. (2) Thomas Kimball, Lebanon, N.H.
21. (5) Steven Flint, East Orange
22. (16) James Fadden, Plainfield, N.H.
23. (24) Mike Dunn, North Haverhill, N.H.
24. (3) Stephen Bell, St. Johnsbury
25. (21) Tim Williams, Lebanon, N.H.
PHOTO: Adam Pierson celebrates his Bear Ridge Speedway season opening win with representatives from F.M.S. NAPA Auto Parts. (T.J. Ingerson/VMM photo)