With just seven points-paying races remaining on the 2023 World of Outlaws CASE Construction Late Model Series schedule, Bobby Pierce holds a 146 point lead over second-running Chris Madden and a 168 point advantage ahead of four-time series champion Brandon Sheppard. For those trailing the leader, the now-or-never time has just about arrived if there is to be any hope of making a run at the championship.
The winner of a WoO Late Models feature earns 150 points with second-place being awarded 146 markers. From there, a two-point drop-off per position takes place throughout the field. For the sake of an example, there is a 10-point difference from 1st to 5th place, 20 points from 1st to 10th and 40 points from 1st to 20th.
Given that, the pursuers are almost to the stage of the season in which they will have to hope for a bit of misfortune to go Pierce’s way if they are to catch up. Simply gaining 10 points per race, or even 20, won’t be enough. And of course, a rainout or some other type of postponement only serves to help the front runner.
All that said, the next two races on the schedule appear to serve the two Midwestern drivers well. On Friday night, the series will head to Indiana’s Brownstown Speedway then a trip to Fairbury(IL) Speedway will wrap up this weekend.
Pierce, who hails from Oakwood, Illinois, won a Northern All-Stars feature earlier this year at Brownstown and claimed the Jackson 100 back in 2018. He has also bagged DIRTcar Sumer Nationals victories at the quarter-mile track. The No. 32 Longhorn Chassis crossed the finish line second behind Ricky Thornton Jr. in this year’s Prairie Dirt Classic along with a win in the Castrol FloRacing Night in America feature and the Hell Tour main event held at FALS earlier this season.
Needless to say, this coming weekend provides an opportunity for Pierce to put some distance between himself and those hoping to reel him in.
Sheppard’s past success at the two upcoming tracks, however, offers evidence that he could challenge Pierce. The New Berlin, Illinois pilot has won the Indiana Icebreaker at Brownstown on two occasions and he is a three-time PDC victor at Fairbury.
Sheppard needs very much to finish in front of Pierce in these events if he is to have a chance at a fifth series title.
The upcoming Southern swing at Georgia’s Senoia Raceway and Rome Speedway on October 14th and 15th provide an opportunity for Gray Court, South Carolina native Chris Madden to make a move. The veteran driver recently switched from Rocket Chassis to Longhorn Chassis in hopes of finding more speed for the stretch run. Provided he can gain ground or at least hold his own with his two rivals at Brownstown and Fairbury, the driver of the No. 44 machine will return to his home region with hopes of closing the gap on Pierce.
It must be noted, however, that Sheppard won the WoO Late Models race held at Senoia in 2022.
Madden triumphed in the first ever $50,000+ race held at Senoia in the 2021 Peach State Classic along with other wins on that piece of Georgia clay. ‘Smokey’ has achieved multiple victories at Rome as well.
If the championship fight is still alive on the final three-race weekend at ‘The Dirt Track at Charlotte’ in early November, Sheppard and Madden have each won multiple times there while Pierce has never taken a World Finals trophy home from that track.
The key question, of course, is whether or not the two most serious contenders can get to that final weekend as contenders. Good showings at Brownstown and Fairbury could essentially put the trophy in the hands of the ‘Smooth Operator’.
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