Bobby Pierce has elected to appeal the tire testing penalty
Yesterday, tire test results were released by DIRTcar Racing. Of the 46 tire samples taken during the 2018 Dirt Late Model Dream, 1 failed.
Bobby Pierce earned $13,640 for his 4th place finish in the famed Eldora Speedway event. Due to the tire testing results, the sanction will withhold that payout.
The tire analysis fee is $1,690. In addition, the fine is equal to the drivers race earnings. In total, the sum of the failed tire test will cost the team $28,970.
That’s on top of a suspension, just ahead of the DIRTcar Summer Nationals. Bobby Pierce was the Hell Tour champion in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
This year, he’s running full-time in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. The national tour makes a Summer Nationals championship impossible but many DIRTcar races were on the schedule for June and July of 2018.
On Monday night, Bobby Pierce issued a response to the penalty:
“Okay, so where do I start with this. After finishing 4th at the Dream at Eldora, my LR 20 from the heat race on Friday nights portion of the weekend, was sampled and sent to the lab that UMP and WoO uses. (This is what they do when you win a heat race or finish up front. We also had another tire sampled from that weekend.)”
“Friday we got a call saying that it did not meet the required benchmark or something along those lines, (I’m not exactly sure what was said as I was not included in that phone call, as I was informed about everything later). Along with that, the team was told that the penalty would be a fine of all of our winnings that weekend, times 2. Plus a couple thousand more. Also, to be suspended from WoO & UMP races or 30 days starting on a later date. (This is what the normal procedure is per their rules, and this would not effect Lucas races).”
“Now, that penalty is perfectly fine in my eyes, if it’s done to a race team that has illegal tires. Until the day I got a phone call saying there was something wrong with one of my tires, I never once believed the stories of other drivers who said they’ve been falsely accused. I do now.”
“However, I don’t know their truth, but I know mine, and so do family and friends that know.. we don’t cheat, we hate cheaters. We don’t mess with that stuff. I always even make jokes about guys who cheat, bottom line it’s just not what we do.”
“This is injustice, from a tire tested at an inadequate lab that in my mind needs to be looked at very thoroughly before we continue to let the famous name of “Eldora” be associated with it. It’s truly sad. It’s happened to many teams, and it had to happen to me and my team before I opened my eyes and realized some of these guys are getting wrongly accused.”
“Reputations in the hands of a faulty tire test that who knows when it’s going to strike next. To anybody who doubts it, it might happen to you next. I mean everybody knows the rules, but what happens if I won the dream..? that’s over $200,000 we would have to pay back, and not to mention the victory itself.”
“We all know the work it takes to get where we are, we would be ignorant to take a chance at having all of that tarnished. Now many people ask, “why don’t you just take the tire to a different lab?” We will. However, you can take it to 10 different labs with 5 times the cost to test it at each place, and even if they say it’s clean, it doesn’t matter! You’re hung out to dry.”
“But, we are appealing. All of this took me off guard obviously because it’s as if I had committed murder when I was in a different county when the crime took place. I know all my fans want me to keep my head up, and I will, as it is easy to do so when I know my tires are clean. The people who have always been close enough with my family and I, they just know.. It’s just a messed up deal.”
“You’re going to believe what you believe, it’s as simple as that. But before you make judgements, remember that it can happen to you as well.! This tire came from Hoosier in Knoxville, made October 2017 with the code VH29, and we just got them before Eldora! Who knows where these tires have been.”
“And if anyone knows about the team, you’d know we barely even get our tires sent to us in time before we have to leave for the next race. I don’t know how to put dope on a tire, but I’d assume it’d take a good day or two of work in the shop. I don’t want to play tennis with anybody about this, and I know you might still have questions, but so do I.”
“I don’t want to make this a big deal, and I could honestly care less about trying to prove my innocence, but this reputation isn’t just mine, It’s my family, fans, crew members, and sponsors also. If you see me at the track, I would rather not talk about it, and I hope you see that out of respect. Thank you for reading this.”
The team has elected to pay the $500 fee of an appeals hearing. They have they option to appear in front of the panel in person, via letter or over the phone. However, appeal hearings do not allow lawyers to speak on behalf of the individuals listed.
Pierce has been suspended from all DIRTcar Racing events for the next 30 days. The suspension only apply’s to a maximum of 4 events which a team was previously scheduled to attend.
In this case, Pierce was set to make his first stop on the DIRTcar UMP Summer Nationals tonight at Belle-Clair Speedway. That was followed by a planed stop at Jacksonville Speedway, Spoon River Speedway and Tri-City Speedway.
Will Bobby Pierce be at Belle-Clair Speedway tonight? That’s up to the chairman of the appeals panel. If he says so, Pierce may be allowed to compete.
If Pierce elects to skip those 4 events listed above, his 30 day suspension would be considered as served even though the hearing is still pending. Due to the timing and the busy month on June, the 30 day suspension could be served by June 23rd.
Following those 4 events, Pierce had plans of visiting Fairbury Speedway for their Summer Nationals showing. If those four are skipped, he’s free to visit Fairbury Speedway, regardless of the appeal hearing outcome.
DIRTcar rulebook: “At the request of the affected Member, the World Racing Group Commission Chairman may determine in the interest of all involved parties that the penalty under review shall be temporarily deferred until the appeal of such penalty has been resolved. Otherwise, the penalty shall be executed promptly.”
“If the Commission temporarily defers execution of the penalty, but later denies the appeal in whole or in part, it may reinstate the original penalty as of the date of issue of the original Penalty and/or Penalty Notice, or take such action as it deems appropriate to effectuate in whole or in part the Penalty and/or Penalty Notice, including disallowance of finishing position, points, or prize money otherwise earned in any Event during the period of temporary deferral of the penalty.”
Though, Pierce could also elect to drop all UMP Summer Nationals events from his calendar. Right now, that’s TBD. He had 13 of them on his schedule.