Story By: JORDAN DELUCIA / DIRTCAR – QUINCY, MI – 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.
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
DEFENDER: Krup Wins First of Season, Back-to-Back Years at Butler
He led every lap in the inaugural visit to Butler Motor Speedway last year, and now he’s back. Will Krup has made his return to DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals Victory Lane.
After a heartbreaking loss on the final restart last Saturday night at I-55, Krup rebounded and made sure the same thing wasn’t going to happen Wednesday night. After leading all but the first lap since the drop of the green, Krup found himself one lap away from victory when the caution flag flew, setting up a green/white-then-checkered finish.
“We were leading there at [I-55] and kinda gave it away with about four-to-go,” Krup said. “So, it was kinda nerve-wracking with a single-lap shootout. But, the car was good and it all worked out.”
Indeed it did work out, as Krup held off the ringers behind him including Hunt Gossum, Dillon Nusbaum and Chad Bauer to bag the $1,500 victory.
Also in attendance was the 2012 Summit Modified champion Kenny Wallace, who had a great comeback from 17th to finish eighth after a wild start to his night in the Heat Race. Fellow former NASCAR star David Stremme was making his first appearance of the season with the Summit Modifieds Wednesday night and soon found himself in an interesting situation with Wallace after four laps in Heat #2.
Stremme made contact with Wallace in Turn 3, sending Wallace around in a spin. Both drivers were sent to the rear by rule, which forced them to try and regain their transfer spots in just four laps. Stremme succeeded, but Wallace did not, and had to come from his Last Chance Showdown to start the Feature. Wallace bagged his eighth top-10 of the season, while Stremme retired after 11 laps.
The Summit Modifieds roll into I-96 Speedway Thursday night, Aug. 19, for another $1,500-to-win showdown in Race #2 of Champions Week.
Feature (25 Laps) 1. K19-Will Krup; 2. 99-Hunt Gossum; 3. 17N-Dillon Nusbaum; 4. 19B-Chad Bauer; 5. 242-Brandon Bollinger; 6. 9H-John Demoss; 7. 65-Todd Sherman; 8. 36-Kenny Wallace; 9. 25-Josh Lolmaugh; 10. 11-Tyler Morehouse; 11. 5CS-Curt Spalding; 12. 8C-Corey Bevard; 13. 9PG-Percy Gendreau; 14. 5D-David VanGuilder; 15. 4M-Tim Monroe; 16. 81-Rick Swartout; 17. 4G-Bill Griffith; 18. 45-Robby Henderson; 19. 0-Tim Wilber; 20. 22M-Deuane Morley; 21. 35-David Stremme; 22. 9-Garrett Rons