Column By: MIKE WARREN / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – BARBERSVILLE, FL – Bobby Pierce has accomplished many feats throughout his career. However, 2023 will present new mountains to climb.
While navigating his first full tour with the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models, he’ll be doing so in a new chassis – a Longhorn.
In the offseason, Pierce announced he was switching to Longhorn from his dad’s Bob Pierce Race Cars. And it didn’t take long for “The Smooth Operator” to get acquainted. He found Victory Lane in his fourth race at Vado Speedway and backed it up with a second win earlier this month.
However, when he returns to Volusia Speedway Park for Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals on Feb. 16-18, he knows his new venture is still a work in progress.
“Volusia was my first race on a really big track with the Longhorn,” Pierce said. “Two years ago, we had a lot of success, and that was kind of one of the reasons I wanted to come back. We felt like we were pretty confident out there in Vado with it, so we figured we’d come here and have the same luck and see what we could do.
“We know this year is going to be a bit of a learning curve just getting adjusted to it and figuring out what makes it fast on all different types of surfaces. So, we’re excited.”
Pierce will see those different types of surfaces soon after Volusia when the Series visits Smoky Mountain Speedway, March 3-4, and Boyd’s Speedway, March 17-18.
While those tracks aren’t his forte, he said being comfortable in the new chassis already will be a key benefit.
“I’m pretty confident that we’ll have a decent run,” Pierce said. “They really seem to be maneuverable on a lot of surfaces, and the comfortability inside the race car is probably the key. You have to be comfortable, and I feel like these cars have a good balance and a good attitude.
“It’s definitely not my cup of tea, but we’ll just give it our best shot and go from there. That’s all you can do.”
After the Series battles in Tennessee and Georgia, it’ll return to a routine stop in Pierce’s home state—Farmer City Raceway, March 31-April 1.
The last time World of Outlaws CASE Late Models raced at the Central Illinois track, he scored his first Series triumph in the Illini 100. It’s a place he’s excited to get back to, along with Mississippi Thunder Speedway, Boone Speedway, and Tri-City Speedway, where he’s also found success.
“I’ll be excited when I get to places I’m familiar with,” Pierce said. “But until we get to some of those places. It’s doing what you can. Learn what you can. Drive hard and try to do your best.”
However, before the season moves into the Spring portion of the schedule, he knows there’s another feat he wants to accomplish—a Big Gator championship trophy at DIRTcar Nationals.
Pierce narrowly missed out on winning the gator in 2021, finishing second to Devin Moran. With that experience, he knows what it’ll take to stand tall at the end of the week-long chase.
“Just like anything, you have to qualify well,” Pierce said. “But, on this really fast half-mile, I think it’s super important. If you can get that down to a science, the rest of the night goes a lot easier. But this competition, there’s a lot of competition, a lot of good guys who will be here. It’ll be tough. We just have to try to do the best we can.
“Hopefully, we can win it this time.”
Pierce and the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models return to action on February 16-18 at Volusia Speedway Park during Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals.