Bobby Pierce takes the checkered flag at Peoria Speedway. (Photo by Jim DenHamer)
PEORIA, Illinois – Nine minutes, forty-seven seconds. That was all it took for Bobby Pierce to dismember the quarter-mile bullring at Peoria Speedway and claim his first Hell Tour win of the season.
“It was a fun race,” Pierce said. “This place has truly become one of the most fun tracks on the Hell Tour.”
Pierce and the rest of the leaders carelessly ducked and dodged through lapped traffic for 40 laps, throwing slide jobs and making edge passes to position themselves in the second DIRTcar Summer Nationals event of the season.
Pierce set a blistering pace on the early laps, finishing second and chasing outside polesitter Jason Feger around until he caught him with a big slide job on turns one and two.
Both had been driving on the upper side and were diving into the first wave of lapped traffic when Pierce threw them to the ground with a lapped car directly in front of them both and then slipped in front of Feger to take the place away.
The race pace was hot and Pierce turned it up a few degrees by not wasting time lapping traffic. He gobbled up the slower cars one by one, almost passing them as soon as he caught them and extending his lead to over two seconds with 10 points to go.
“When I went into the lead, I was just trying to put a good margin into second place,” Pierce said. “With all the cars being lapped, I didn’t want to waste time on them because if Jason or Brian had caught up with me, it probably would have been easy for them to stick their nose in and throw a slider.”
As Pierce began to slow the pace slightly, about half a second per lap compared to the first few laps, Feger began reeling him in with seven laps to ride.
Pierce encountered another accumulation of traffic and had cut his lead in half as he began to work his way through the slower cars. However, once he vacated them, he was homeless.
“Luckily I found it [the bottom lane] when I pulled down to pass a lapped car,” Pierce said upon learning the field was closing in behind him. “I felt that my black car had really good traction. After that I went down for the last few laps just to protect her.
“I definitely felt some heat there. Whenever you get stuck behind a lapped car, it feels like an eternity, even for just one lap.”
Feger crossed the strip in second and achieved back-to-back top-five finishes in the first two races.
Feature (40 rounds): 1. 32-Bobby Pierce; 2. 25-Jason Feger; 3. 3S Brian Shirley; 4. 24-Ryan Unzicker; 5. 21-Billy Moyer Jr; 6. 28- Dennis Erb Jr; 7. 7-Drake Troutman; 8. 14G-Joe Godsey; 9. 10Y Jordan Bauer; 10. F1 Payton Freeman; 11. T2-Todd Bennett; 12. T6 – Tommy Sheppard Jr; 13. 4G Bob Gardner; 14. 77-Preston Luckman; 15. 21B-rich bell; 16. 30 marks Voigt; 17. 36-Logan Martin; 18. 26M – Brent McKinnon; 19. 10-Paul Parker; 20. M27 – Mike Provenzano; 21. 9R-Curtis Roberts; 22. 248-Brandon Lance
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