Winger bags another podium, English takes DNF and points standings hit
Since his days as a rookie teenager, Bobby Pierce has been winning races and winning over fans all throughout the Midwest. Now 24 years old and well on his way to becoming a four-time DIRTcar Summer Nationals champion, Pierce crossed even further into elite territory with his 40th career victory Wednesday night at Butler Motor Speedway.
His 13th triumph of the season in 25 starts brings him to the big 4-0 as part of the winningest Hell Tour season of his career, now taking sole possession of third on the all-time Feature wins list from 2004 champion Don O’Neal.
“I’ve been running these races for a long time, and really cut my teeth on all these racetracks,” Pierce, of Oakwood, IL, said. “The experience that I’ve gotten through the years, it adds up. And here we are.”
“It takes a big, big team to get to where we’re at right now in such a hurry. So, shoutuout to everyone that’s gotten me here.”
His drive to victory was certainly no waltz, having to hold off four-time winner this season Ashton Winger and Devin Moran for 40 laps around the fast 3/8-mile. Several caution flags were scattered throughout the race, meaning Pierce had to be on his game for the restarts.
“I didn’t really like to see the cautions because you never really know… you go flying into that first corner again, and you wanna make sure the car sticks, but you don’t wanna under-drive it too much and it pushes up the racetrack,” Pierce said.
While Pierce’s takeoffs were on-point, Winger and Moran were strong behind him, as well. They swapped the second and third spots a few times before Winger took back it permanently after a restart on Lap 10.
Through lapped traffic Winger chased Pierce, closing the gap to just a few car-lengths at one point, but he was unable to get close enough to make a move. Pierce crossed the line untouched for the $5,500 victory – $500 of which came from a bonus put up by nearby Galesburg Speedway.
Tanner English, who came into the night second in points, got caught up in a wreck on the first lap and was forced to retire early due to excessive damage. This left him with a season-worst 21st-place finish, putting him even further behind Pierce in the chase for the championship. He’ll make the repairs and look for a rebound on Thursday at I-96 Speedway.
The Summer Nationals rolls into I-96 Speedway for the ninth time in tour history Thursday night, Aug. 19, for another $5,000-to-win showdown in Race #2 of Champions Week. Catch all the action live on DIRTVision presented by Drydene.
ABBREVIATED RESULTS (view full results)
Feature (40 Laps) 1. 32-Bobby Pierce; 2. 12-Ashton Winger; 3. 9-Devin Moran; 4. 74-Mitch McGrath; 5. 91-Rusty Schlenk; 6. 14G-Joe Godsey; 7. 16-Garrett Wiles; 8. 9LT-Jacob VanDeVoorde; 9. 19M-Carter Murday; 10. 20-Jim Plotts; 11. 14R-Jeff Roth; 12. T18-Jeff Geis; 13. 248-Brandon Lance; 14. 44S-Colin Shipley; 15. 15G- Jamie Grochowski; 16. 48-Tim Lance; 17. 06-Jake Rendel; 18. 38-Thomas Hunziker; 19. 27-Eric Spangler; 20. B4-Rich Ruff; 21. 81E-Tanner English; 22. 53-Hillard Miller