Bobby Pierce: “You start to feel the motion of the car the more you race.”
I only saw Bobby Pierce race a handful of times in the 2017 season. Yet, more often than not, I watched him locate a totally unique line.
At Lucas Oil Speedway for the Show-Me 100, bumps formed at the entry to turn 1. As everyone else ran through or under them, Bobby Pierce started entering high in turn 1, above the bumps.
The banking of Lucas Oil Speedway tapers off at the high side of turn 1. He was entering on the flat, above the bumps and then driving back down to catch the banking again in the middle of the corner. Nobody else was doing that or even tried.
Bobby Pierce drove through the field that night. He went on to take the win and collect the $30,000 check.
Related: 2017 Show-Me 100 Results
3 month later, I saw him do it all over again. This time it was at Florence Speedway in the North/South 100. Almost the entire field was entering turns 3-4 in the middle. Some would stay there, others would drift up in the middle and catch the cushion. Pierce ran that line for awhile. But, it wasn’t working.
Pierce elected to try something different. He moved up, entering turn 3 higher than anyone on the track, right against the wall. He was then on the gas 50 feet before anyone in the field.
He ran McCreadie down by a full straight away. McCreadie heard him coming and adopted his line to match. They glued up, nose to tail and chased down Bloomquist. In the closing laps of the North/South 100, Pierce ran all the way to the front of the field after being some 5 plus seconds back. He ended up 3rd, but they were all nose to tail coming to the white flag.
Related: 2017 North/South 100 results
I saw you race maybe 4-5 times last year. So, half the time, you found an exclusive groove. How do you go about finding that?
“Experience goes a long way. When I started out racing, my dad tried to take me to a lot of different tracks.”
“That’s kinda what it’s all about. Because if you race at the same place, all the time, you’re going to get really good there. But, you’re not going to very good at adapting to different race tracks and different surfaces.”
“Kinda just reading the track too. Unlike asphalt racing, I guess you’d say. You really have to read where the bumps are, where the cushion might be, where the moister is and all that.”
“A track like Gateway, you really have to read the bumps. Because last year, it got a little rough. You have to look for those and try to miss them. Then see where we can actually use the bumps and holes to gain some speed. Get in them and gain a little bit of traction.”
Is it more of a visual thing? Or more of a feel?
“It’s kinda a little bit of both. When you’re in that car you get used to where that quarter panel is and where the nose is and where the tires are going to be when you’re going through those holes.”
“You start to feel the motion of the car the more you race. Even the more you race a track. Like last year at Gateway, it kinda took me until Friday night or even Saturday night until I really got adjusted to it.”
“You feel a lot when you’re in the car. You’re trying to make the best lap, the smoothest lap. But, if your car’s not handling very well and it’s bouncing all over the place it’s going to be a little more difficult to do that.”
“At the same time… If it’s doing that, sometimes that means your car has a lot of traction. You just gotta try to find what works best with it.”
In 2018, Bobby Pierce will head to Dunn-Benson Motorsports. They will tour with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.