Bobby Pierce: “A few things we did, just putting too much tail weight in the back. I think, that might have been some of the problem.”
Ahead of this season, Bobby Pierce made the transition to Dunn Benson Motorsports. The multi-time UMP Summer Nationals champion is now running full-time on the national tour. The North Carolina team is following the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series schedule.
Early in the season, Pierce has been struggling a little bit with the handling of the car. But, things are starting to click. I’ve been watching a lot of the small details. Each night, he’s a little closer.
Last night and the night before were both a step in the right direction. Overall, what are you chasing with the car?
“Really, we’ve diagnosed a lot of problems,” Bobby Pierce tells RacingNews.co. “Just really missed a lot on setup and tuning tonight, pretty bad.”
“Looking at the race track is one thing I think we need to start doing a lot more of. Before we’re making all of our decisions. We need to pay more attention to the track.”
“It’s so hard here because the track is very deceiving at most times. You know, we’ve had really a different race track almost all of these nights. When you make your adjustments that’s one thing that you really gotta take into consideration.”
“It’s not just how you did in the last race but you gotta look at that track and see what it’s doing. There was big mud puddles down there. When we dropped the green it threw all that mud out there. That made it super fast and tacky. We weren’t really ready for that. So, we missed there.”
“It really sucks being one of the fastest cars in qualifying, to win our heat race then just not really able to be up there in the front. I was really just hanging on for a lot of that race. Then, my oil temperature got hot because we still have the oil cooler cover on. We need to take that off too. I had to drop back to the bottom so it would cool off.”
“Really, we’re right there. Two or three little thing here and there and I think we’re contending for at least a top 3 tonight. It’s really that small of adjustments, that we just missed on. Those couple of things are really huge.”
“We took too much out of the motor tonight. With how fast it was, that was one of the things that was really a big problem.”
What do you mean by that?
“You can choke them down. That why you don’t wheel spin. With how tacky it out, I was just hanging on.”
Here’s what I’ve noticed in most of your races this year. I’ve seen where you can set some pretty fast lap times, in a race. But it’s not consistent. And I’ve seen you chasing the car on the entry to the corner. Am I on to something there?
For the fans that haven’t seen one of these races in person, I’ll elaborate. Bobby Pierce will set the car for the entry to the corner, then he’ll chase it once more. The car might set for the corner, two or sometimes three times as Pierce fights with the wheel and the throttle pedal to get the pitch he wants.
When that happens, he doesn’t just lose speed on entry to the corner but that speed is lost all the way to the next corner as well. Being on the throttle later than he wanted to be also means he’s going a little slower at the end of the straight-away.
The next lap Pierce will run essentially the same line and he’ll nail it. In most of his races his lap time ranking doesn’t match up to his position in the race. It’s not that he’s fighting every corner, it’s just not consistent. I’ve seen this since Golden Isles last week. However, each race, I’m seeing a little less of that scenario.
“Yeah, you’re right. We’ve been trying to get that out of the car, trying to turn in better. When it’s consistently tacky across the whole track, I have no problems steering.”
“A few things we did, just putting too much tail weight in the back. I think, that might have been some of the problem. Really, you just gotta steer with these cars and you gotta steer at East Bay.”
“At East Bay you gotta go in and slide it. If you can’t steer, you sheer the traction and then your car’s just kinda sitting there and you can’t get off the corner.”
You’ve driven your dads car through your entire late model career, to this point. I imagine that you probably just have a lot to learn regarding a new feel in the chassis.
“Really, we do. I’m really pretty comfortable with the car now. It’s not really trying to figure it out more. Just figure out what not to do to it to mess it up.”
“These past few nights, we really haven’t changed one thing. Until tonight, we changed some stuff and it wasn’t good.”
He’s right on the edge of everything clicking together. Tonight, it’s the final night at East Bay Raceway Park. On Sunday, the tour heads to Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, FL.