MACON, Ill. — Bobby Pierce and Ryan Unzicker put on a classic auto racing duel at Macon Speedway Thursday night with Pierce coming home the winner of the 37th annual Herald & Review 100 dirt late model stock car special, the 18th event of this year’s UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals “Hell Tour.”
Going wheel to wheel most of the way, Pierce and Unzicker staged a seesaw battle for the lead as they raced around the high-banked, fifth-mile dirt oval. Slower lapped traffic seemed to either hinder or help the battling duo as Pierce and Unzicker seemingly swapped positions lap after lap.
Pierce, the 20-year-old charger from Oakwood, Ill., eventually took command of the race with 24 laps to go after the event’s third and final caution flag period and sped to the checkered flag and the $5,000 first prize money, scoring his second straight Herald & Review 100 win.
Gordy Gundaker came home second about a quarter of a lap behind the winner. Brandon Sheppard finished third, nipping a slowing Unzicker, who finished fourth. Billy Moyer Jr. and Brian Shirley rounded out the top six.
The win was Pierce’s third “Hell Tour” victory this season with Pierce leading the current points as he goes after his third “Hell Tour” championship crown.
With a field of 22 starting the 100 lapper, polesitter and fastest qualifier among 37 entries, Shannon Babb led the early laps with Unzicker then moving into the top spot. Babb, the all-time event winner with five Herald & Review 100 wins to his credit, eventually finished eighth. Using the outside groove, Pierce moved in to challenge Unzicker for the top spot and the classic racing battle was on.
“It was so much fun, but nerve racking at the same time,” commented Pierce about the race. “When I thought I had the upper hand, he (Unzicker) would get me. Then when he seemed to have the upper hand, then I would get the lead back. We went back and forth like crazy. I can’t wait to watch the video.
“The track was awesome tonight. You couldn’t ask for a better track. You could move all over the place – the middle, the top, the bottom, it didn’t matter.”
The final 24 laps were not kind to Unzicker, who went from a contender to a fourth place finisher.
“The car took off right out of the gate,” said Unzicker. “I’m not sure what happened (to the car) after the last caution. I couldn’t roll the same lines and my right rear (tire) wasn’t sticking as good. I don’t know if the tire gave up on me or not. I didn’t need that caution.”
Mike Harrison won the Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals feature, while Tim Hancock Jr. won in the B-Mod main event.
Bobby Pierce, Gordy Gundaker, Brandon Sheppard, Ryan Unzicker, Billy Moyer Jr., Brian Shirley, Kevin Weaver, Shannon Babb, Brent Larson, Rusty Schlenk, Jason Feger, Bob Gardner, Austin Theiss, Paul Stubber, Dusitn Nobbe, Jeff Herzog, Timothy Culp, Rusty Griffaw, Eric Cooley, Jordan Bauer, Daryn Klein, Michael Kloos.