Turn 2 Blog: Ross Bailes, Bobby Pierce finding the right fits


The latest edition of the Turn 2 Blog is presented by the American Crate All-Star Series.

*Turn 2 Blog is a regular feature on InsideDirtRacing.com. Here, site operators Michael Moats and Richard Allen take turns offering their thoughts on the dirt racing topics of the day from east Tennessee and beyond.

Richard: There are a number of things that we have learned so far during this first half of the 2019 racing season but one that is beginning to really stand out for me is the fact that Ross Bailes and Barry Wright have definitely found the right chemistry. Earlier in the season we saw the No. 87 Barry Wright Race Cars house score drive to victory in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series feature at 411 Motor Speedway for his first win on that national tour. This past Friday night at the Cherokee Speedway Bailes and crew took down a stacked field that included drivers from both national tours when he won his first World of Outlaws Late Model Series sanctioned race.

Chris Madden drove the BWRC house car in 2018 on the WoO Late Models Series and put up good numbers as he finished third in the final standings and won a total of 12 features across various series.

As we have discussed on here before, it seems that finding the right chemistry between driver, chassis, engine, and crew seems to be the key to success in Dirt Late Model racing as well as any other form of racing you might want to mention.

Bailes and Wright have won three features together in 2019. So for right now, it certainly appears as if they have found the right fit.

Ross Bailes in the Barry Wright Race Cars house car

Michael: I have been impressed with that team’s performance to this point. Like you said, it takes everything clicking in the right direction to win races against this type of competition. Look at when Jimmy Owens drove for that team. They never hit on anything and many people felt like the sport was passing Barry Wright by.

Without naming any names, I see a number of teams that have all they need to be successful, but the results just aren’t there. And with some of these teams, it has been that way with multiple drivers. It goes to show how fickle this sport can be.

Richard: You are right that there are times when teams seem to have all the right pieces in place in regard to engine, chassis, driver and crew but they just can’t seem to get going. At the same time there will be instances in which much is not expected of a team yet good results come.

In this particular case, Ross Bailes is one of those guys who has always seemed to have a great deal of talent but hasn’t gotten an opportunity in a full-time top shelf ride. He has been able to take multiple cars, of various chassis types, and run near the front throughout his career.

It goes to show that certain guys can succeed with the right opportunity.

It makes you wonder how many others could suddenly be big stars under the right circumstances, doesn’t it?

Michael: It certainly does. Whether it be on a national level, regional level, or even a local level, there are always drivers that seem to do more with a smaller budget or team than what they compete against on a regular basis.

Another ironic bit of performance not often talked about is a driver outperforming a teammate that has a better resume. I have seen this at a number of places across the country and it leaves people scratching their heads as to how that happens. One never knows if the driver with the better resume is facing a lot of pressure that affects their performance, if it’s fit, or something else. I like studying teammates, regardless of level, to see how each responds to their performance, each other, and the outside noise. It can be an interesting thing to observe.

Richard: Speaking of drivers who have found a comfort zone, Bobby Pierce looks as if he has done exactly that by returning to his family team. It’s not that he had a bad season last year with Dunn Benson Motorsports but I think it’s fair to say that the pairing did not live up to the expectations many had for them. They won races but many were of the opinion that Pierce would dominate. However, it just didn’t quite happen.

That’s all behind the ‘Smooth Operator’ now.

The No. 32 pulled into victory lane three times in January during the Wild West Shootout then took a trip ‘Down Under’ before going on a tear that has seen him win six of his last seven features. With the crown jewel portion of the season fast approaching, Pierce appears poised to make a run at more big trophies.

Is Pierce ready to move to the very top of the Late Model heap?

Bobby Pierce is on a roll now that he is back with his family team

Michael: I believe he will be at the top or near the top soon. Pierce is a talented driver. Like I said in an earlier comment, I don’t know if it was added pressure or just not meshing with that team that led to what some people seem to think was a disappointment. Getting on the road and running with Lucas Oil or World of Outlaws is a tall task. Pierce fans were used to seeing him with double-digit wins on the season. He didn’t get much of a chance to race in some of the regional events or the SummerNationals races last year where he would routinely rack up a lot of wins.

We’re coming up on the Show Me 100 and The Dream, two races were Pierce could contend for a win or two. When August rolls around, there will be more opportunities for Pierce to add big wins to his collection.

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