Bobby Pierce. (Photo: Brendon Bauman)
QUINCY, Ill. — Right as he was rolling trackside for the Feature, reigning DIRTcar Summer Nationals champion Bobby Pierce caught a positive wave of energy. Inside, he knew Wednesday night’s return to Adams County Raceway for the first time since 2019 was going to go well for him and the No. 32 crew.
“I felt great before the feature,” he said. “Just before we took the green, I felt like the car was good on the warmup laps. I had a great feeling.”
Pierce used the low side of the quarter-mile for the majority of the race, making moves to the inside of his competition to take the lead in the first half and the eventual trip to Hell Tour Victory Lane for the 44th time in his career.
“I started fifth on the bottom, and realized I had to move up and get going on top,” Pierce said of his lane choice in the opening lapse. “I did and I was rolling, and I passed a car or two, and then I was the first one to go back down and find that really low line in turns one and two.
“When I found it, in a couple lapses it seemed like I was in the lead. It changed that quick.”
Though he made quick work of the opponents in front of him en route to the lead, keeping them behind him got hairy in the home stretch. A caution was thrown with three laps remaining, which erased Pierce’s lead and put a hungry Shannon Babb right on his rear bumper.
Pierce mashed the throttle in turn four and pulled away from Babb, leaving the others behind him as he crossed the stripe for his third Summer Nationals Feature win of the 2022 campaign.
“At that point, I didn’t really think anyone would have anything on the top,” Pierce said. “If I got pressured, maybe I could turn it up a notch and do something.
“I wasn’t too worried, I just knew I had to hit my marks the last few laps and not allow anything to happen.”
Babb came home second after spending the entire race inside the podium. Max Blair garnered his third-consecutive podium finish in his last three Summer Nationals starts with a third-place finish Wednesday night. Ryan Unzicker and Brian Shirley rounded out the top five.
Feature (40 Laps): 1. 32-Bobby Pierce; 2. 18-Shannon Babb; 3. 111V-Max Blair; 4. 24-Ryan Unzicker; 5. 3S-Brian Shirley; 6. 25- Jason Feger; 7. 86-Kyle Beard; 8. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr; 9. 36-Logan Martin; 10. 42-Mckay Wenger; 11. 14G-Joe Godsey; 12. 81E-Tanner English; 13. F1-Payton Freeman; 14. 44-Blaze Burwell; 15. 77-Preston Luckman; 16. 31-Paul Stubber; 17. 4D-Doug Tye; 18. 97-Cade Dillard; 19. 10-Garrett Smith; 20. 30-Mark Voigt; 21. 7B-Mark Burgtorf; 22. 29-Spencer Diercks