Bob Pierce: “It takes $200,000 – $250,000 to run 80 or 90 races per year.”
On Saturday night at The Dome, Bobby Pierce made one final appearance in the Bob Pierce Race Cars #32. It’s likely to be the final time the ‘Smooth Operator’ pilots one of his fathers’ cars, at least on a full-time basis.
In true storybook finale fashion with some fireworks sprinkled on the top, he won. Now, that chapter has been padlocked.
Enter chapter two… In 2018, Bobby Pierce will make the move to Dunn-Benson Motorsports. The North Carolina team and 21 year-old Bobby Pierce will hit the road on the national dirt late model touring scene.
Below is an interview with both Bobby Pierce and his father Bob Pierce about the switch.
“Yep, this is the last one before I get into the Rocket in Arizona,” Bobby Pierce stated to RacingNews.co ahead of the weekend at the Gateway Dirt Nationals.
This interview was done on Friday night of the Gateway Dirt Nationals. As stated, a day later, Bobby Pierce went on the win the main event and collect the $30,000 check.
I know you guys are talking about running a national series. But, is it a sure thing that you’ll run one of the two?
“Yeah, we’ll run one of them, Lucas Oil or World of Outlaws.”
“I’m not sure what it will be yet. That team, Dunn-Benson has run Lucas Oil, all the years. So, that’s probably what they’re going to be aiming for. That would be my guess.”
“But, we’re still up for debate on either series as of right now.”
It is a whole team decision or is it the team owner that makes the call?
“It’s a team decision. But, you know, they’re the one’s that are paying for it. But, it’s a team decision.”
“The full-time travelers, like we are, it just don’t happen in the Pierce cars. We’re the only ones that did it,” Bob Pierce tells RacingNews.co
“It was a business decision for him. And with me turning 66 in February it was just a better decision, business wise, for him to move to the Rocket car after Gateway.”
“I’ll ease out of the program completely. Then just sell cars and let him go on and do his own thing. He’ll be with Mark Richards and Steve Baker. That will keep him excelling through the years.”
Kickin’ him out of the nest, per say?
“Sorta, kinda. The Dunn-Benson deal popped up after the Rocket deal.”
“Yeah, it was two or three weeks after the Rocket deal that Dunn-Benson called.”
Were those related?
“Oh no. They had Longhorn cars. They sold those, to do our deal.”
“But, the thing about it is… They hired me, at the race track, not the shop. He’s moving to North Carolina to work on the race cars. I’ll stay in Illinois, then I’ll go to all the races. I’ll work the t-shirt trailer. Well, my wife’s going to sell t-shirts and I’ll drive the t-shirt trailer.”
“But, I’ll be at the track, just on the weekends only. Then, they’ll go to Carolina or wherever. They might come to my shop, it depends how close they are to our area. You know, some races, they’re 20+ hours from their shop. We looked at some of the schedule, they’re like 8-10, from my place.”
Dunn-Benson Motorsports is based in Dunn, NC. Bob Pierce Race Cars sits in Oakwood, IL. On the Midwest dates of the tour, the team has plans to use the Illinois based shop.
“I’d say 70-80% they’ll be at my place working out of our shop. I told Mark, ‘Look Bobby’s going on. He’ll be 21 years old, he’s got a lot of years left. I don’t.’ I’m not stupid, you know what I’m saying? I know what’s going to happen eventually.”
“I’ve got guys 6 to 7 hours from me that would like to have a Rocket. They don’t want to drive another 10 hours. So, I think I can sell him some cars. We’ve had a lot of people calling, that’s just since the PRI show.”
“I think it will help him [Mark Richards] and I think it will help Bobby down the road. I’m not gunna say I’m dying tomorrow. But, shit happens.”
I don’t want to hold him back.
“I’m getting older. I still do what I do and I do it as hard as I can. But, it’s getting harder and harder. I don’t want to hold him back. I’d be the bad dad if I said, ‘Ok, this is where you’re going to be the rest of your life. And we’re not excelling and everybody else is.’ ”
“Financial wise, we can’t afford to do no more than what we’re doing right now. He’s had a real good couple of years. But, before that, we’re dippin in the bank $100,000 here and $100,000 there, to keep things going.”
“It just takes a lot and a lot and a lot of money to do this deal. And do it right. You know, we could have a mid-pack racer and that ain’t what he is. I can’t let him do that.”
“It was a business decision for him and for us.”
He was essentially the Pierce house car driver, would you say?
“He was the only one.”
So, there’s no plans to get a different one?
“No, no plans. Financial wise, we couldn’t do it. Up until last year and this past year, it was the first time he’s took a paycheck for us. We’ve never took a paycheck. We’ve dumped every dime that he’s brought in from racing back into the racing.”
You’re saying you finally made money last year?
“We finally broke even, finally!”
“It takes $200,000 – $250,000 to run 80 or 90 races per year. And that’s making nothin’. Because you’re dipping in the bank.”
That probably doesn’t count the equipment?
“That’s just everything. That’s your fuel, your travel, your motor overhauls, your cars, your pit crew, your entry fee’s and all the way down the line. You’ve gotta make $400,000, at least, to have any kind of income.”
“We finally had the chance to pay him, for the first time ever. That was the year he won The World and The North/South. It just takes so much. Thank god for some of the sponsors. Because there’s no way we could’ve done this for the last 4 years.”
“Looking 5-6 years down the road, for him, it’s the best decision to do. We’re probably at our max of what we can do with our cars and our finances. There’s nobody in our cars that’s got the money to go to the pull-down rig, to the wind tunnel or to test 60-70 times in a summer.”
“You know, there’s guys out there that’ll race this weekend. Then they’ll go straight to a track on Sunday or Monday and test. Well that’s wearing motors down. That’s another $50,000-60,000 on motor overhauls. We just can’t do it.”
“Hopefully, with all the testing that Rocket does with their teams — Like, I know when we get back from Arizona, it’s 5-6 days. Then, they’ve got a test and we’re invited to. Whether we run good or bad at Arizona, we’re gunna go to it.”
“You’ve gotta test, you gotta learn. Dunn-Benson is willing to do that. That’s more wear and tear on their motors but they’re willing to find out stuff and get up front.”
“You can’t test when you race these guys. You’re in the back of the pack when you try doing that shit. You might hit it every now and then. But, you’re not going to hit it every time with these guys.”