Bob Pierce: “I guess, I’ll take it. If that’s what they call me, I’ll take it.”
Last night, Bobby Pierce claimed his first top-5 of the new Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series season after 5 races thus far. But, claiming that solid finish at East Bay Raceway Park has been a fragment of an uphill battle.
Bobby Pierce was hired to drive for Dunn-Benson Motorsports at the start of this season. In turn, he left the ride fielded by his father then hit the national tour. Now, Bob Pierce Sr has been given the label of ‘crew chief’ for the DBM team.
It wasn’t something Bob Pierce expected. When I spoke to him in December, he wasn’t sure he would be working with the North Carolina team all that much.
There were talks of using both shops. But, beyond that, Pierce Sr was thinking that his new role at the track would be to work the merchandise trailer.
Post-Phoenix, Bob Pierce is now very active with the team. Plans of a semi-retirement have gone out the window. After all, retirement is overrated anyway…
So, are you the crew chief now?
“I guess really, nobody’s, the ‘crew chief’ per say,” Bob Pierce tells RacingNews.co. “We’re kinda all car chiefs. They take care of the cars through the week. I call them 100 times per day, it seems like. Did you check this? Measure that?”
“And this is just since Phoenix. I can’t imagine what the summer’s going to be like. But, that’s what we’re going to do. I’ll probably make the calls on what we should change. You know, a spring change or a shock adjustment. It’s kinda what we’ve done over the years, ourselves.”
“Then with Danny Myers, as long as he’s been around and as many guys he’s helped. It’s easy to work with him because we agree on a lot of things. We see things the same. We’ve pretty much done the same things over the years actually, it’s crazy.”
“Then Kent Fegter, he just left Madden. So, not a stranger to this dirt racing. He did it with Scott, years ago, when he was younger. He went off NASCAR Cup Series racin’ for 11 years and just came back.”
“Right now, it’s a real easy team to work with, that’s the good part. We joke about, ‘Who’s the boss? Who’s the crew chief?’ I said, ‘I’ll be the crew chief when we’re right and you can be the crew chief when we’re wrong.’ They all laughed. We’re ok right now.”
“We’re learning each other and learning these cars. The Lamm’s are behind Bobby 150%. There’s really excited and pumped up for this season, which is good. You know, you get a fairly new team together and a fairly young driver like Bobby. Although, with what he’s accomplished, he’s still young.”
“It makes me feel good. And it’s a little more comforting that way. I mean, everybody’s stressed and we want to run good. But, we’re more at ease because they’re so pumped up about the season starting.”
Well, I was thinking Bobby was trying to learn a new car. Maybe he needed someone in the camp that he could clearly communicate with? Someone that knows him really well. I mean, they said ‘crew chief’ in the press release.
“I guess, I’ll take it. If that’s what they call me, I’ll take it. I don’t like being tied up like that. I’d just as well, be a helper,” Pierce says with laugh.
“There is, me and Bobby both gotta learn these cars. Mark Richards is easy to work with. I’ve known Mark for a long time too. I meet him when he worked for Rodney Combs, when he was a teenager. I met him when he was 17-18.”
It’s a small community.
“Yeah, we respect each other. For what he’s done, for what I’ve done. Me and Barry Wright are the oldest one’s in the bunch that’s still going out here and been doing it this long. I guess, for being the old guy around — they’re still accepting me and letting me make decisions. That’s pretty cool.
I talked to you in December. I think you were kinda hinting at retirement. One month later, you’re no where close to retiring.
I looked up that December interview. Bob Pierce didn’t mention the word retirement. Basically, he said that he was getting older and it was simultaneously getting harder and harder to do it. That was leading me to believe that Bob Pierce, soon to be 67, was thinking about retirement, from the crew duties specifically.
“Well, I guess I was going to kinda semi-retire. But, when this thing popped up and they asked to have me involved — Because, I didn’t know they were going to actually.”
Oh, I see.
“The call was about Bobby, mainly. I would have understood completely if they would have not even mentioned my name. They want him. I mean, he’s the driver.”
“I would have been a little worried about who was going to help him, like I have.” Right. “Because, I’ve been with him since he was 8 years old in a quarter midget.”
“It’s like I told Mr. Lamm. I said, ‘Look I can tell what our night’s going to be like just by lookin’ in his eyes. He ain’t gotta say or do nothing. But, I know if it’s going to be a good or bad night.’ ”
“So, I’m glad and appreciative that they did involve me because of that reason right there. I feel like we’re not too bad for being brand new. The finishes were kind rough [in Phoenix]. But, two second’s, a third and a 7th starting from the tail.”
And it’s a brand new car.
“Yeah. They weren’t ready to go to Phoenix. They weren’t planning to go to Phoenix, at all. So, they did and that made it a rush to get everything together.”
“We didn’t have much time to get these cars together. Me and Bobby built these cars at our shop, then brought them to these guys.”
“That little town right there in Dunn is pretty cool. No matter what parts store you walk into they’ve already heard my boys name and recognize me, from back in 1912, I guess.”
“It’s pretty cool right now.”