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Contact: Jordan DeLucia, DIRTcar Racing PR Coordinator
Bobby Pierce, Nick Hoffman Win Summer Nationals Round 2 at Peoria
TOO QUICK: Pierce Wins Sub-10-Minute Feature at Peoria
Four-time and defending champion Pierce takes points lead
PEORIA, IL – June 15, 2022 – Nine minutes, forty-seven seconds. That’s all it took for Bobby Pierce to carve-up the quarter-mile bullring of Peoria Speedway and collect his first Hell Tour Feature win of the season.
“It was a fun race,” Pierce said. “This place has become one of the most fun tracks on the Hell Tour, really.”
Pierce and the rest of the leaders ducked-and-dodged their way through lapped traffic over 40 laps in caution-free fashion, throwing slide jobs and making on-the-edge passes for position in the second DIRTcar Summer Nationals event of the season Wednesday night.
Setting a blazing pace in the opening laps, Pierce got to second and chased outside polesitter Jason Feger around until he caught him with a big slide job in Turns 1-2. Both had been running the top side and were diving into the first wave of lapped traffic when Pierce threw it to the bottom with a lapped car right ahead of them both, then slid up in front of Feger to take the spot away.
The race pace was hot, and Pierce cranked it up a few degrees warmer in wasting zero time with lapped traffic. He gobbled-up the slower cars one-by-one, passing them almost as soon as he reached them, and stretched his lead out to over two seconds with 10-to-go.
“Once I got the lead, I was just trying to put a good distance on second,” Pierce, of Oakwood, IL, said. “With all the lapped cars, I didn’t want to waste any time with them because if Jason or Brian caught up to me, it probably would have been easy for them to get their nose in there and throw a slider.”
As Pierce began to slow the pace down slightly, about a half-second per lap compared to the opening circuits, Feger began to reel him in with seven-to-go. Pierce encountered another cluster of traffic and had his lead chopped in half by the time he began to work through the slower cars. Once he cleared them, however, he was home-free.
“Fortunately, I found [the bottom lane] when I went down to pass a lapped car,” said Pierce, when he learned the field behind him was closing. “I felt my car had really good traction in the black. After that, I moved down for them last few laps just to protect.
“I was definitely feeling some heat there. Whenever you’re stuck behind a lapped car, even for like a lap, it feels like an eternity.”
Feger crossed the stripe second to post back-to-back top-fives in the first two races. Four-time champion Brian Shirley rebounded after an eighth-place effort on Tuesday night to finish third, while Tuesday’s winner Ryan Unzicker and Billy Moyer Jr. rounded out the top-five.
The DIRTcar Summer Nationals action picks right back up at the quarter-mile oval of Davenport Speedway in Davenport, IA, on Thursday night, June 16. If you can’t be at the track, watch every lap live on DIRTVision.
CLOSE ONE: Hoffman Holds off Wietholder for Victory at Peoria
Many of Nick Hoffman’s recent DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals wins have been smooth, uncontested drives to the finish. Wednesday night at Peoria Speedway was anything but.
Dave Wietholder, veteran wheelman and Peoria semi-regular racer from Liberty, IL, had chased Hoffman up to the halfway point in the 25-lap Feature when he began to reel him in. Held up by some lapped traffic, Hoffman’s lead shrank quickly from over one second down to a car-length.
“I was following [the lapped car], hoping he’d peel-off the wall and try to get back to the bottom,” Hoffman said. “He entered higher into Turn 1 and I missed the rubber pretty big into 1. That’s when Dave was able to drive underneath me.”
Wietholder suddenly saw a gap open under Hoffman heading into Turn 1 and took it, but was denied due to an untimely yellow flag with 13 laps complete. This cleared traffic from Hoffman’s path, though the race wasn’t over.
“I was kinda hoping with 8-to-go on that last restart that I wouldn’t get back to lapped traffic, but we did with 2-to-go,” Hoffman said. “[Stick man] showed me I had a little bit of a lead at that point, and I just followed [the lapped car]. I couldn’t drive by him; I was gonna have to run into him to pass him.”
Hoffman took the green on the restart and did reach the tail of the field again in the closing laps. Wietholder reeled Hoffman in yet again and tried one last-ditch effort in Turns 3-4, getting underneath Hoffman’s NOS Energy Drink #2, but to no avail. Hoffman gassed it out of Turn 4 and crossed the stripe for his 59th Summit Modified victory.
Notably, Wietholder races a chassis built by Hoffman at Elite Chassis in Mooresville, NC. The two have crossed several times in the past on the track, and the respect is real.
“He’s strong here, at Spoon River, and a lot of other places,” Hoffman said. “He races a lot of races over the year, and even comes to Florida, so he gets around and ventures out. I think that says a lot about his program to be as strong as he is everywhere he goes.”
The Summit Modifieds take Thursday off before getting back into action at Tri-City Speedway on Friday, June 17. If you can’t be at the track, watch every lap live on DIRTVision.
Feature 25 Laps | 00:13:57.826
1. 2-Nick Hoffman; 2. 05-Dave Wietholder; 3. 25-Tyler Nicely; 4. 8-Kyle Steffens; 5. 8A-Austin Holcombe; 6. 79D-John Demoss; 7. 77-Ray Bollinger; 8. 130-Chase Allen; 9. 36-Kenny Wallace; 10. 777-Trevor Neville; 11. 89-Noah Faw; 12. 26D-Derick Doerr; 13. 242-Brandon Bollinger; 14. 6M-Carl McKinney; 15. 82-Shane Kelley; 16. 17D-Degan Dozard; 17. 73-Mark Rhoades; 18. 10J-Steve Jones; 19. 2B-Erik Bruce; 20. 2D- Asa Dillon; 21. 69-Derek Roberts; 22. 25W-Allen Weisser