Earl Pearson Jr drove from the B Main to victory lane for $202,939 to win
Earl Pearson Jr started off the final night of the Dirt Million at Mansfield Motor Speedway with a 2nd place finish in his heat race. However, only the winner of that race transferred into the main event. He was outside looking in and no Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series provisionals would be presented for the $202,939 to win main event.
Pearson went on to take the win his B Main. That put him at the back of the 100 lap starting grid.
Early in the race, Pearson was involved in a parking lot style crash with the point leader of Jonathan Davenport. Pearson came down pit road and the crew went to work.
But, that wasn’t the only time Pearson was on pit road. It appeared that every time I turned around, that #1 car was being worked on.
The crew got it fixed. Pearson drove through the field and took the lead and the win in the closing laps after a pass on Bobby Pierce.
I’m guessing that there were four or five times throughout the night where you thought your night was done?
“I was sitting in Larry Moring’s hauler this morning visiting with Jared Landers. The payout for this race was laying there, the percentages. I haven’t even looked at the percentages for this race,” team owner Ronnie Stuckey told RacingNews.co after the huge win.
“I’m glancing through there. I noticed it dropped about a percent to two percent from 5th to 15th. That pretty much told you, you need to be in that top 5.”
“When he finally got going there, just left him on the race track and quit coming in for adjustments. When we got up to 12th and then 10th. I knew then there would be a few more DNF cars in front of us.”
“A few flat tires. A couple bodies cutting tires off. Once he got them, then he’s up to 8th. Then you start thinking more money. Honestly, you don’t really got a shot at that point. You’re 40 laps to go and you’re in 8th place or so.”
“He just kept putting it together. They’d had a restart and he’d get one or two. I was just telling that Shannon Babb. When he had his flat tire, it put Earl on the outside on the restart.”
“We had just enough laps around that cushion for him to feel comfortable. He made a couple laps around there [the outside]. The bottom was such a safer place to be. The cushion was so rough.”
“He stayed up there and got into 2nd. That gave us a chance at it. If we restarted in 4th, it was going to be tough to win.”
How many times did you guys come down pit road?
“I heard five times.”
“They sent him to the back of the field for the wreck that Davenport had. We had to stop for that wreck. So we had to go to the tail. We just came in a straightened our body and made a couple chassis adjustments.”
“We went back out and the right rear tire went flat. Came in and got a fresh set of rear tires. Then, started working on our right front shock and spring combination.”
“We came back in and worked on the right rear shock and spring combination. Then, we left him out there.”
How do you determine what changes to make on the car without radios?
“I would say it’s the other 40 races we’ve run this year. Were you went out there and ran your 50 lap Lucas Oil A-Main. Then you come into the pit area and you’re dissecting it.”
“Your train of thought gets on the same thought that he had [after other races]. So, if he was not good in the rough, which is what I could tell tonight then he knows what needed to be done to be better in that rough [after other races]. We’ve already learned it.”
“One thing about these ten races at the end of the year… you better be fast when you get here. You can’t make your speed at these races. There’s too many good teams here.”
“Fortunately, we’ve been running good. We were running good at Florence and had that flat. But, he’s won four other features this year. We knew we had a shot at these big ones. But, this one right here gives you a little bit more momentum for the next big one.”
So, you’re making chassis adjustments without speaking to the driver? It’s just a visual call on your end?
“Yeah, you’re going to make them visual. If that steering wheel goes to the right then they’re a little hung. So, we’re going to work on traction.”
“If they fuel up and that steering wheel goes to the left then he’s a little tight. We were on the tight side tonight. We just couldn’t complete the corner all the way around the radius.”
“We kept working on that car to make it steer better.”
Now, that’s over a $200,000 payout. What does that change for your racing program? Or does it even change?
“I just got off the phone with my wife Terri. We talked about that for five or ten minutes.”
“Florence was $50,000 a couple weeks ago. We discussed a few things we wanted to buy for this team.”
“We need some more sidewalks poured outside the shop. We need a lift put out there for them to wash the race car on. So, we want a few of those items.”
Earl Pearson Jr was leading at Florence Speedway a couple weeks ago. However, while leading, Pearson had a flat tire. He came in and changed the tire. As he went back out, he was caught up in a crash with Jimmy Mars in the first lap on the restart. Pearson went from leading in a $50,000 to win event to having the entire right side of the car torn off.
“When we didn’t win that race, we’ve been discussing how we were going to buy them without winning a big race.”
“This right here just makes it easy. Hell, we get to get home, call the contractor and just get the job done. Instead of us going out there and doing it our damn selves.”
Related: Dirt Million Race Results