Race Weekend Central

This Day in Dirt: Bobby Pierce, Mat Williamson Score Last-Lap Wins at Volusia

Dirt Racing’s Winning Moment: Bobby Pierce pounced on Brandon Overton’s one mistake of Thursday night (Feb. 16), making a last-lap pass to win the World of Outlaws late model feature at Volusia Speedway Park.

Overton, who led 29 of 30 laps on the night, kept his description of the night simple, saying he made a “shitty move” on that last lap.

Dirt Racing’s Dramatic Moment: Yes, Volusia fans got spoiled rotten this Thursday night. Just as with the late models, the Super DIRTcar Series also was decided with a last-lap pass, this time with Mat Williamson getting underneath Demetrios Drellos in turn 2 and driving off to his first win of 2023. 

What Dirt Racing Fans’ll Be Group Chatting About This Morning

Presented without commentary. Volusia Speedway Park had more last-lap passes than Daytona did in its two features Thursday night, all without tapered spacers.

It’s been a few years since I wrote about this, but given that it came up in our Frontstretch staff group chat this week it’s worth revisiting. What goes on at the short tracks that make up the real meat of Georgia/Florida Speedweeks goes on completely independent of what NASCAR is doing at the big track, sans the 500 itself. If there was any doubt about that, the grandstands at Volusia this Thursday night, where races were going on simultaneous with the Cup Series Duel races, spoke volumes.

We’ll get to Brady Bacon’s performance behind the wheel at Bubba Raceway Park later, but seeing USAC great Jack Hewitt in victory lane to congratulate him on passing him on the all-time series win list was definitely a cool moment.

Jonathan Davenport had no issues qualifying for his first DIRTcar Nationals feature Thursday after sitting out the earlier weekday races and finished seventh, but was never in contention for the race win at Volusia. For as uncomfortable as the driver said he always is racing around Volusia, I wonder if the No. 49 team is regretting not getting at least one “practice” race in.

On a night that saw Volusia in top form and USAC’s points season opening, the opening night of the 360 Winternationals at East Bay kind of got lost in the shuffle. The same thing can be said for Kaylee Bryson’s winged sprint car debut at East Bay, where she came nowhere close to transferring out of either her heat or B-main. Bryson did seem to be getting more comfortable in her B-main and has two more races on the docket this weekend, but this was hardly comparable to her Silver Crown Series debut fireworks of a year ago.

Dirt Racing’s Hero of the Day

Bacon’s 47th career USAC national sprint car win came under surprising circumstances, as Bacon spun his car out early in the feature, necessitating a run back through traffic from the rear of the field to score the win at Bubba Raceway Park Thursday.

That was accomplishment enough in a 30-lap race. But as Walkapedia was astute to remind us, this wasn’t the first time even in recent memory that Bacon has won in such a recovery.

Dirt Racing’s Victim of the Night

Daison Pursley was involved in more incidents during the USAC program at Bubba and Sam Hafertepe Jr.’s wreck at East Bay arguably had a greater impact on the 360 Winternationals, where is considered among the favorites. But the hardest wreck of the night was endured early on during USAC qualifying when Eddie Vancil clipped the berm in turn 3 and went for a violent tumble.

Vancil was fortunately uninjured.

Numbers Game


Dirt tracks that ran oval track racing programs Thursday night in the U.S.


Nation’s largest car count Thursday night, the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia.


The nation’s largest purse awarded Thursday night, to the winner of the World of Outlaws run at Volusia.

Up Next: Frontstretch will be back Saturday morning (Feb. 18) with continued coverage of the DIRTcar Nationals from Volusia Speedway Park, the 360 Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park and the Winter Dirt Games at Bubba Raceway Park. Streaming coverage can be found on DirtVision and Flo Racing, respectively.

About the author

Richmond, Virginia native. Wake Forest University class of 2008. Affiliated with Frontstretch since 2008, as of today the site's first dirt racing commentator. Emphasis on commentary. Big race fan, bigger First Amendment advocate.

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Mike Kalasnik

Its Mat, not Max.

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