In 2018 Illinois racer Bobby Pierce left the security of his family-run team with which he had enjoyed a great deal of success to race for North Carolina-based Dunn Benson Motorsports on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. But after a seventh place finish in the final series standings and multiple wins including a pair of $20,000 triumphs late in the season, the driver and team opted to part ways after one year together. That, in turn, sent the ‘Smooth Operator’ back to his family’s operation.
Granted, his father and other family members were heavily involved with the Dunn Benson effort so the reunification is not so much of a reunification after all. That said, however, the Pierce clan has not missed a beat since officially putting the band back together. Feature wins and bonus money have come their way in barely two months of competition.
The No. 32 Bob Pierce Race Car claimed a $5,000 preliminary victory in the Gateway Nationals in St. Louis, Missouri back in December then went on to grab the $30,000 victor’s reward in the finale of that event for the second year in a row. After a short hiatus, the Pierces headed west to Arizona where Bobby captured the first three $5,000-to-win features in the Wild West Shootout. Those three wins assured him of a $10,000 bonus prize.
As he had with Dunn Benson, Pierce drove a Rocket Chassis in the Arizona races adorned with his familiar No. 32.
It’s not as if Pierce has somehow been getting lucky in these races. He set the fast time in preparation for his preliminary race at the Gateway Nationals and ultimately led every lap of the main event inside the former home of the NFL’s Rams franchise. In Arizona, he set fast time three times out of the six races held there. He was the winner of a heat race four times and he led more than 100 total laps throughout the days spent in the desert of the American southwest.
Furthermore, Pierce led the first 17 laps of the Saturday night feature in Arizona and could very well have been on his way to another feature win but suffered a flat tire which eventually dropped him to a ninth place finish in that race.
Again in the $14,000-to-win Sunday night finale Pierce looked as if he might be on his way to victory. But as had been the case the night before, bad luck struck as the No. 32 slowed after leading the first 27 laps of the feature. A mechanical issue derailed the team’s chances at a fourth feature win and a $25,000 bonus as well as the overall Wild West Shootout championship.
There’s not doubt that Bobby Pierce and family have found the speed to win races immediately after reforming their team. Bad luck hurt the chances of the No. 32 on two occasions in Arizona. If that element is overcome, there are sure to be plenty of wins awaiting in 2019.