Bobby Pierce Powers To DIRTcar Summer Nationals Hell Tour Victory At Spoon River

Story By: JORDAN DELUCIA / DIRTCAR – LEWISTOWN, IL – Bobby Pierce knew the top would be there at the end – he’d driven it to DIRTcar Summer Nationals Victory Lane many times before. With just seven trips left around the Spoon River Speedway, he knew it was time to crack the whip and make a move for the lead.

Pierce wound it up on the lip and reeled-in leader Ryan Unzicker, who had led since the drop of the green. With one great run off the top in Turn 2 and a deep dive to the bottom in Turn 3, Pierce slid up in front of Unzicker and grabbed the lead. Five laps to go.

Unzicker came back at him on the bottom and returned the favor with a slide job of his own in Turns 1-2. Pierce crossed underneath him and took the lead back into Turn 3. This time, Unzicker was unable to get the speed on the bottom to challenge again, and Pierce drove off on the top to his sixth Hell Tour Feature win of the season.

“These guys make a great racetrack. It’s one of the best tracks in Illinois. It’s so fun, and tonight just showed how good of a racetrack it can be,” Pierce, of Oakwood, IL, said in Victory Lane.

But to get there, Pierce took his Pierce Platinum Race Car through several grooves getting by the three cars ahead of him earlier in the race. He started outside Row 2 and worked his way by Brian Shirley and Garrett Alberson by using the low and middle-to-high grooves.

A caution with 13 laps remaining put Brandon Sheppard to his outside for the restart. Sheppard, of New Berlin, IL, used the high side momentum to challenge Pierce for second and hung tough on the outside for two entire laps. But Pierce was too good on the bottom and finally slid up in front of the #B5 with just over 10 laps remaining.

From there on out, Pierce had one focus – catching Unzicker. Which he did with some top-side momentum of his own, and two clean sliders.

“I was trying some different lines. I couldn’t quite do the line Ryan [Unzicker] was doing, but we ended up finding a way around him that worked for me,” Pierce said.

His 33rd career Hell Tour victory came with his team being a man down. His father Bob, a two-time Summer Nationals champion himself, was away from the track Wednesday night recovering from a surgical procedure. But that didn’t stop Bobby and his team’s resiliency – or from calling dad on the phone for advice.

“I guess it works good that way,” Pierce said. “He can watch DIRTVision all night and kinda give us some pointers on what to do. I wore the telephone out. This is for sure a team effort, having these guys work their butts off.”

Unzicker held on for second, his best finish of the season thus far, while Sheppard completed the podium. Shirley, back in action after skipping Knox County on Tuesday, climbed back from a transmission swap before qualifying to finish fourth while Jason Feger rounded out the top-five.

UP NEXT

The Summer Nationals Late Models are back in action Thursday night at the fifth-mile Macon Speedway for one of the most iconic events on the schedule – the 41st running of the Herald & Review 100.

Feature (40 Laps) 1. 32-Bobby Pierce[4]; 2. 24-Ryan Unzicker[2]; 3. B5-Brandon Sheppard[5]; 4. 3S-Brian Shirley[3]; 5. 25-Jason Feger[7]; 6. 81E-Tanner English[13]; 7. 11-Gordy Gundaker[15]; 8. 74-Mitch McGrath[8]; 9. 15-Kolby Vandenbergh[10]; 10. 12-Ashton Winger[18]; 11. 11T-Trevor Gundaker[21]; 12. 14G-Joe Godsey[19]; 13. 4G-Bob Gardner[16]; 14. 19X-Cody Bauer[20]; 15. 14R-Jeff Roth[22]; 16. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr[9]; 17. 10J-Jordan Bauer[14]; 18. 59-Garrett Alberson[1]; 19. 2-Mike Chasteen Jr[6]; 20. 14-Paul Kuper[12]; 21. 18-Shannon Babb[17]; 22. 48-Tim Lance[11]

Hoffman Dominates Loaded Field at Spoon River for Eleventh Win

The Spoon River Speedway pit area was packed with the strongest field of DIRTcar UMP Modified talent seen all season Wednesday night, and Nick Hoffman dominated them all. He’s now up to eleven wins in eleven DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals starts.

Once again, the three-time and defending champion led every single lap of the Feature, bringing him to a perfect 265-for-265 in consecutive Feature laps led. But not without a little shakeup on the final lap.

Third-place running Josh Allen looped it in Turn 4 coming to the white flag as fourth-place Kelly Kovski spun to avoid. This erased Hoffman’s near four-second lead over runner-up Tyler Nicely, who sat right on Hoffman’s bumper for the restart.

“You never want to see that late in the race, especially when you’ve got a decent lead,” Hoffman said of the late caution.

The green and white waved together as Hoffman mashed the throttle. He immediately pulled away from Nicely down the backstretch and cruised across the line for his 49th career Summit Modified victory at a track he holds in very high regard.

“I love this place. I love coming here – it’s always perfect. It’s never rough and always fits my style,” Hoffman said.

UP NEXT

The Summit Modifieds are back in action Thursday night at the fifth-mile Macon Speedway to support one of the most iconic events on the schedule – the 41st running of the Herald & Review 100.

Feature (25 Laps) 1. 2-Nick Hoffman[1]; 2. 25-Tyler Nicely[6]; 3. 7K-Kelly Kovski[7]; 4. 35-Brandon Roberts[4]; 5. 96M-Mike McKinney[9]; 6. 99- Hunt Gossum[10]; 7. 05-Dave Wietholder[18]; 8. 14C-Rick Conoyer[12]; 9. 36-Kenny Wallace[2]; 10. T6-Tommy Sheppard Jr[8]; 11. 45-Kyle Hammer[17]; 12. K19-Will Krup[11]; 13. 77-Ray Bollinger[20]; 14. 24Z-Zeke McKenzie[13]; 15. 3-Mike Brooks[15]; 16. 242-Brandon Bollinger[21]; 17. 117-Frankie Wellman[16]; 18. 19T-Travis Thrasher[22]; 1

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