ROSSBURG, Ohio — Story by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — NASCAR photo —
Many NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers would have felt crushed to come as close as Oakwood, Ill. hotshoe Bobby Pierce did to victory in Wednesday night’s 1-800-CARCASH MudSummer Classic without hoisting the Golden Shovel.
But instead, the 18-year-old dirt late model standout was ecstatic to finish runner-up to fellow dirt ringer Christopher Bell in his series debut.
Why? Because a day as dominant as the one that Pierce and the underfunded MB Motorsports team had at Eldora Speedway was never in the plans, but quickly became the reality.
Pierce unloaded off the transporter fast, clocking in third and fourth, respectively, across the two morning practice sessions. He followed that up with team owner Mike Mittler’s first career pole in the Truck series since Mittler began competing during the division’s inaugural season back in 1995.
At that point, the crew and driver knew they suddenly had a chance.
“I got really lucky with the draw and there was still a little moisture on the track when I went out, so that really helped our lap a lot,” Pierce said of his qualifying run. “We never expected to come in here and shoot pole, but to get Mike Mittler’s first pole is awesome. He just [had] a big grin on his face and I know it means a lot to him. He’s helped guys like Carl Edwards and Justin Allgaier move on from here in the trucks to do great things.”
Little did Pierce know he would be one of those drivers who did something great in the NASCAR national series ranks by the end of the night.
Pierce won his qualifying race to bank the pole for the 150-lap Eldora feature event, then went out and showed that he was not just at Eldora to ride in his first-ever NASCAR start — he was there to win.
He almost did it as well. Pierce took the lead for the first time at lap two from fellow 18-year-old John Hunter Nemechek, then went on to wage a furious battle throughout the race with Bell.
Never falling lower than fifth throughout the 154 total laps run, Pierce led 40 laps early on but ran Bell down during the final 20 laps of regulation despite hitting the wall and nearly knocking the back decklid off of his No. 63 truck.
A late race caution with two laps to go set up an attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, where Pierce stumbled on the final restart before rallying to make a last second slide job attempt for the win on Bell.
The move may not have paid off, but Pierce was unquestionably thrilled at even having had a shot at the win.
“[The whole race] was awesome. A lot of people were telling me before the race that they thought I was going to be this year’s Kyle Larson,” Pierce laughed. “I didn’t want to be the guy in second [in the final laps] but sometimes that’s how it goes. I was just hoping I could get him back [with a slide job] on the last restart.”
“[Christopher] did a great job though. He did everything right to win the race.”
Pierce did circle one thing, though, as the potential reason he ultimately fell one spot short.
“If I could have just gotten my restarts better, I think I might have had something for him,” Pierce explained, “but all in all, it was awesome. I’m out of breath after this one. I can’t really complain too bad.”
Pierce will be back in action in a hurry. The reigning UMP Late Model National Champion and DIRTcar UMP Summer Nationals champion jumps back into his dirt late model on Thursday night to compete with the World of Outlaws Late Model Series in an $8,000-to-win event at Quincy (Ill.) Raceway. A WoO LMS doubleheader at Fairbury (Ill.) Speedway on Friday and Saturday nights follows as part of the annual Prairie Dirt Classic.
For more information on Bobby Pierce, visit www.bobbypierceracing.com.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network. Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s. He is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for both the United Sprint Car Series and the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
Email Jacob at: email@example.com