Pierce Becomes Youngest Hell Tour Winner

Bobby Pierce hopes his previous success on dirt will translate to the asphalt. (Mike Ruefer Photo)
Bobby Pierce celebrates in victory lane after winning Sunday’s DIRTcar Summer Nationals feature at Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway. (Mike Ruefer Photo)

LINCOLN, Ill. — Bobby Pierce is only 16 years old but he accomplished a feat on Sunday night at Lincoln Speedway that many in Dirt Late Model racing only dream about — winning a DIRTcar Summer Nationals event.

Pierce, of Oakwood, Ill., captured the $10,000 victory in dominating fashion at quarter-mile Lincoln Speedway on the 12th night of the six-week DIRTcar Summer Nationals Hell Tour, becoming the youngest winner in the 26-year history of the grueling summer series.

Pierce lined up on the outside of points leader Brandon Sheppard on the front row for the 60-lap feature, but it was three-time series champion Shannon Babb who charged from sixth to lead the 22-car field in the early going. Pierce caught and passed Babb on lap 9 then held off 2004 series champion Don O’Neal to the checkered flag.

“We’ve been trying so hard to do this, getting top-fives and coming close,” said Pierce, whose father, Bob, is a two-time DIRTcar Summer Nationals champion (1992, 1995). “It’s so hard to win these things. You’ve got the best of the best. I’m so glad to finally get one. It’s amazing.”

Sheppard, Ryan Unzicker and last year’s champion Brian Shirley rounded out the top five.

Heat race winners included Tyler Reddick, Sheppard, Dustin Griffin and Pierce.

The DIRTcar Summer Nationals Hell Tour continues on Tuesday night at Quincy Raceways located in Quincy, Ill.

The finish:

Bobby Pierce, Don O’Neal, Brandon Sheppard, Ryan Unzicker, Brian Shirley, Terry English, Shannon Babb, Jack Sullivan, Dustin Griffin, Tanner English, Jason McBride, Tyler Reddick, Randy Korte, Rich Bell, Rusty Schlenk, Brian Divley, Scott Schmitt, Kevin Weaver, Daren Friedman, Steve Sheppard Jr., Bobby Dauderman, Eric Smith.