Career Victory No. 35 ties Pierce with Shirley for fourth-most all-time
As a three-time DIRTcar Summer Nationals champion, Bobby Pierce knows a lot of the tracks on the schedule like the back of his hand. And while no driver in the pit area had any major abundance of laps around the Circle City Raceway, Pierce showed he knew it better than anyone else in the field Wednesday night, earning his eighth win of the season in his second-ever appearance at the quarter-mile bullring.
Pierce was on the roster for the only other Super Dirt Late Model race contested at the newly constructed Circle City facility back in early June, where he finished 12th against the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series stars. It was a solid first go at the all-new facility, but Pierce knew when he came back for the Hell Tour stop, he’d have the advantage over any driver getting their first look at the track.
“Just knowing the shape of the racetrack is huge,” Pierce, of Oakwood, IL, said in Victory Lane. “Where the wall comes in, where it comes out, and where the infield is – just the entire shape of the track. You get the feel of the banking, where it might dip and where it doesn’t, and really use that to your advantage.”
Pierce powered to the lead from the pole at the drop of the green and immediately took off, opening up a small gap over Spencer Hughes in the early going. The race’s lone caution flag flew 15 laps in and restacked the field, but Pierce was feeling the racey track conditions and his car setup and galloped away from the pack once again.
“[The track] really impressed me a lot tonight. The top came in, and I think if I started a little farther back, I could’ve maneuvered around and got to the front. So, big thanks to everyone with the racetrack – they did a hell of a job,” Pierce said.
At the drop of the checkered, Pierce’s lead stretched over seven full seconds in traffic. In Victory Lane, Pierce credited his crew for a heads-up tire decision in the eleventh hour, swapping out the softer Hoosier LM20 they had on earlier for the harder LM40 just before go-time.
“We were all scrambling around back there in the pit area, deciding on which tire to run, and I think we chose right,” Pierce said.
Behind him, an intense battle for the two remaining podium spots was boiling over between Hughes, Tanner English and Joe Godsey. Hughes maintained the runner-up spot for most of the race until English caught him in traffic and began trading passes back-and-forth for the spot. While those two were at war, Godsey came creeping up on the bottom and took the spot away from them both on Lap 34.
Hughes regained the position to Godsey’s outside and held it again until the final lap, where Godsey snuck by him on the bottom once again and beat him to the line to notch his best career Summer Nationals finish of second. Hughes settled for third while English and three-time DIRTcar Late Model national points champion Rusty Schlenk, making his first Hell Tour appearance of the season, rounded out the top-five.
More Summer Nationals action is on deck for Thursday night, July 15, when the DIRTcar Late Model drivers hit Thunderbird Raceway in Muskegon, MI, for another $5,000-to-win showdown in the first of six races in the state of Michigan this season. Catch all the action live on DIRTVision presented by Drydene.
ABBREVIATED RESULTS (view full results)
Feature (40 Laps) 1. 32-Bobby Pierce; 2. 14G-Joe Godsey; 3. 11H-Spencer Hughes; 4. 81E-Tanner English; 5. 91-Rusty Schlenk; 6. 12-Ashton Winger; 7. 1G-Devin Gilpin; 8. 74-Mitch McGrath; 9. 25-Jason Feger; 10. P3S-Steve Peeden; 11. 20C-Duane Chamberlain; 12. 38-Thomas Hunziker; 13. 48-Tim Lance; 14. 16-Rusty Griffaw; 15. 15G-Jamie Grochowski; 16. 14R-Jeff Roth; 17. 20-Jim Plotts; 18. 248-Brandon Lance; 19. 14B-Britan Godsey; 20. 37-Rob Mayea; 21. C9-Steve Casebolt; 22. (DNS) 148-Tim Lance Jr