Without a doubt, Bobby Pierce has been one of the most successful Dirt Late Model racers of the past decade. The five-time DIRTcar Summer Nationals champion has won the World 100, the North-South 100, the Silver Dollar Nationals, and the Show-me 100 all since 2016. Further, the ‘Smooth Operator’ collected $100,000 for his win in last year’s ‘Duel in the Desert’ event held in Las Vegas.
But this season has been like no other in the history of the sport. Many of the events that have long been a part of the Dirt Late Model racing schedule have seen changes. Many of those traditional races have offered greater payouts for the winner, throughout the field, and additional bonus opportunities. But at the same time, a number of new contests have been added to the calendar with highly lucrative payouts being posted.
Pierce has been one of the drivers to take advantage of those high paying events.
“There’s been a lot of big money racing and still more to go,” Pierce pointed out in an interview with InsideDirtRacing.com. “It’s great for Late Models. It’s the sport I’m doing that we’re able to go and race for all that money. It’s been pretty good for me this year because I think I’m on like 17 or 18 wins now(actually 19) and I’ve had some pretty big ones here and there. It’s been a good year and we’re just trying to cap it off and end it on a good note with a few more wins so we’ll see how it goes.”
Following up on a $100,000 victory in the XR Super Series-sanctioned ‘Duel in the Desert’ held at the end of the 2021 campaign, Pierce has scored multiple wins that have paid well. A $30,000 MARS win at Fairbury Speedway, two $22,022 FloRacing Night in America triumphs at Fairbury and Atomic Speedway along with a World 100 preliminary win at Eldora Speedway have highlighted an outstanding campaign.
And the majority of the Oakwood, Illinois driver’s success has come relatively close to home.
“We don’t have to travel very much,” Pierce explained. “I have traveled a lot but that’s more because we race a lot. I definitely wouldn’t have to if I didn’t want to make these really long hauls. It’s been a great thing with all the series, whether it’s Lucas and WoO, Flo or XR or whatever it might be. And then, there’s all sorts of other series on top of that.”
As is becoming almost commonplace, the No. 32 Bob Pierce Race Cars team once again earned a ‘Hell Tour’ title in 2022.
“For me, the Summer Nationals is always a really good deal,” Pierce declared. “I won a lot of money on it this year. My year could have been even better. There’s been like a dozen races where I feel like I should have won but for little things that happened or sometimes big things happened. It’s great that where I’m from is a hotbed then you get around these parts it’s a hotbed as well for Late Model racing. We can travel a long way to race but we don’t have to so that’s great.”
Still, with all of the money available this season, Pierce has sought out events further away from home than he might have competed in during past seasons. As a result, he has visited some previously unfamiliar victory lanes this year.
“It definitely helps to go to places at least a few times,” Pierce stated. “I finally won at Knoxville, I’ve been there just a couple of times. I finally won at Atomic which, I think I had been there five times before that. Sometimes it takes a few times of going there before you figure them out. The transitions can be big, sometimes we have a basis for our car, our setup, and what we do but when you’re going up against these guys to win. Everything has got to be on your A game. It’s tough and it takes a lot of focus from the driver and the whole team to prepare for it. But you never know, you could go to race your local track and not win then go race somewhere else and win. That’s just how it goes these days. You just go out there and see what you can do.”
One thing somewhat unique that Pierce has going for him is the fact that he is one of the few contenders in the bigger races steering one of his father’s Bob Pierce Race Cars. So is that an advantage of a disadvantage?
“I’m not sure if it is an advantage other than your stuff is different from everyone else’s so if the track fits your car or whatever,” Pierce said. “Lately, we’ve been able to make this car pretty maneuverable on a lot of different race tracks. It’s definitely nice if you’re able to get feedback from another driver or a couple of drivers. At least if you go somewhere where you don’t have any clue you can ask someone what you need to do.”
Even with that unique situation, his team has a few fellow competitors to gain information from.
“But even if you’re not in the same chassis as someone else you can have a few people you can lean on to give you a ballpark you need to be in like is it going to be really aggressive on the right front, do I need to have a lot of load in the right front, or something like that. It’s definitely an advantage to have some guys to lean on, at least for the little stuff.”
The dirt racing world can be highly competitive, but at the same time, can also be highly cooperative.
“There’s always people who want to help you out , obviously they don’t want to help you out too much because they don’t want you to beat them. It’s a good sport with people who want to help each other out even though they see you as competition. No one is going to give you all the info because we’re all out here competing with each other. It’s kind of been a struggle for us learning stuff on our own, but also in a way, it’s relaxing when you don’t have to. If you learn something, you don’t have to give it out. We’ve always been with the Pierce Cars, if a customer asks what we do we tell them.”
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