DAVENPORT, Iowa (July 1) — Following his heat race win, Bobby Pierce suggested track officials at Davenport Speedway rework the quarter-mile infield oval in an effort to provide a better show for the multitude of fans who came out for the mid-week DIRTcar Summer Nationals event.
Pierce, of Oakwood, Ill., got his wish. But after taking the lead from polesitter Tony Jackson Jr. of Lebanon, Mo., on lap 12, the Hell Tour’s current points leader did little himself to make sure the fans were entertained — unless of course they were watching the battle for second.
Taking advantage of Davenport’s racy surface, Pierce ran Jackson down following a restart for a lap-seven caution, made the pass for the lead and then drove away to win his second straight DIRTcar Summer Nationals race. In winning $5,000 and his fourth series race of the season, Pierce finished 4.851 seconds ahead of Frank Heckenast Jr. of Frankfort, Ill., who rose late to record his second runner-up finish in as many nights.
Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., improved 13 positions to finish third, while Jackson faded to fourth late after leading the first 11 laps. Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., rallied from 21st to complete the top five in a race that featured a raucous battle for the runner-up spot between Jackson, Heckenast, Tanner English of Benton, Ky., Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., and Cade Dillard of Robeline, La.
That was all well behind Pierce, however, who put his family’s self-built Pierce Race Car on cruise once he got the lead.
“I think they definitely listened to me,” said Pierce in reference to the pre-feature track prep. “It really took me off guard. I didn't think it was going to be that tacky. Those first 15 laps or so it was really pretty hammer down. It eventually got pretty slick. The cushion around this place sometimes is the place to be until it falls off. Luckily we were able to just keep enough lip up there to where I didn't fade tonight like I have when I have been here (before). It's really good to get a win. It's been a while (since winning at Davenport).”
Jackson, looking for his first career Summer National triumph, used his low line entering turn one on the opening lap to grab an early lead and even managed to pull away a bit early. With Jackson racing out to a 1.8-second lead, Pierce and English — 1-2 in the tour standings entering the race — battled for second behind him.
The first caution came out on lap seven when 13th-running Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville, Ark., slowed. Pierce didn’t wait long after the restart to assume command.
“When I went for the lead there, I know it was kind of a little close, but I figured I had to get him while he made a mistake or else I might not have another chance,” said Pierce.
Jackson ran comfortably in second until Heckenast, who started sixth, began to creep toward the front. Heckenast, who said his car “was real good” stayed committed to the bottom groove.
“I got stuck on that restart on the bottom there. They were all going around the top and we went straight backwards,” said Heckenast. “Then I watched Cade (Dillard) make a little ground on the bottom and I told myself, ‘This is our only shot to run decent right now because you're not going to pass anybody on the top.’ So I just stayed down there.
“It's one of those things if it didn't work, you just pulled in and if it worked and they started not driving away from me and I started getting closer and closer ... I really didn't think I was going to get Tony Jackson because his car was a lot better than mine. But he just didn't stay down there at the end. Maybe he didn't need to. His car was pretty good. You just don't know where to go, you know what I mean? Sometimes it's easier to be back there (behind the leader) than up there. But Bobby's making it look easy.”
Notes: The victory was Pierce's 31st career with the DIRTcar Summer Nationals. ... Seventeen of the 22 starters were running at the finish, with 13 on the lead lap. … Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., who made up a little ground with two series wins last week, started 16th and was never a factor in finishing 12th. … English faded to eighth after running as high as second. … Erb Jr. charged from 11th to third, but lost three spots late and finished sixth. … Spencer Hughes of Meridian, Miss., lowered the track record in time trials. ... After bringing out the first caution, Billy Moyer Jr. completed just seven more circuits and finished 21st. … Joe Godsey of Edinburgh, Ind., spun in turn two on lap 14 to draw the second caution. … Davenport, which hosted the series four times in five years through the 2000 season, all on the half-mile oval, is the tour's lone Iowa track in 2021 as the tour visits the state for the first time since 2015. … Andy Nezworski of Buffalo, Iowa, won the IMCA Late Model feature.
Preliminary notes and results:
Row 1: Tony Jackson Jr., Bobby Pierce
Row 2: Tanner English, Cade Dillard
Row 3: Spencer Hughes, Frank Heckenast Jr.
Row 4: Ashton Winger, Jesse Stovall
Row 5: Garrett Alberson, Spencer Diercks
Row 6: Dennis Erb Jr., Daniel Hilsabeck
Row 7: Brandon Sheppard, Pete Parker
Row 8: Billy Moyer Jr., Brian Shirley
Row 9: Jason Feger, Jeremiah Hurst
Row 10: Tim Lance Sr., Rusty Griffaw
Row 11: Shannon Babb, Joe Godsey
Consolation race results
B-main (12 laps; top two transfer): Jason Feger, Jeremiah Hurst, Justin Duty, Shannon Babb, Chad Simpson, Tim Lance Sr., Chris Simpson, Joe Godsey, Mitch McGrath, Brennon Willard, Tim Simpson, Thomas Hunziker, Jeff Roth, Rusty Griffaw, Brandon Lance, Lyle Zanker.
C-main (10 laps; top four transfer): Mitch McGrath, Brennon Willard, Chris Simpson, Brandon Lance, Tegan Evans, Tim Lance Jr. Scratched: Jason Papich.
Heat race results
(10 laps; top four transfer)
First heat: Tony Jackson Jr., Spencer Hughes, Garrett Alberson, Brandon Sheppard, Jeremiah Hurst, Shannon Babb, Tim Lance Sr., Brennon Willard, Brandon Lance.
Second heat: Cade Dillard, Ashton Winger, Dennis Erb Jr., Billy Moyer Jr., Jason Feger, Chad Simpson, Thomas Hunziker, Mitch McGrath, Tim Lance Jr.
Third heat: Tanner English, Frank Heckenast Jr., Spencer Diercks, Paul Parker, Joe Godsey, Tim Simpson, Rusty Griffaw, Tegan Evans, Jason Papich.
Fourth heat: Bobby Pierce, Jesse Stovall, Daniel Hilsabeck, Brian Shirley, Justin Duty, Jeff Roth, Lyle Zanker, Chris Simpson.
Time trials (unofficial)
Driver (car no.), hometown
- Spencer Hughes (11), Meridian, Miss., 13.660
- Ashton Winger (12), Hampton, Ga., 13.762
- Tony Jackson Jr. (56), Lebanon, Mo., 13.809
- Cade Dillard (97), Robeline, La., 13.845
- Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 13.887
- Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill., 13.948
- Garrett Alberson (59), Las Cruces, N.M., 14.014
- Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 14.016
- Jeremiah Hurst (41), Dubuque, Iowa, 14.029
- Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark., 14.070
- Brandon Sheppard (B5), New Berlin, Ill., 14.125
- Chad Simpson (25), Mount Vernon, Iowa, 14.240
- Tim Lance (48), Brimfield, Ill., 14.250
- Mitch McGrath (74), Waukesha, Wis., 14.576
- Brennon Willard (3w), Lebanon, Mo., 14.800
- Thomas Hunziker (38), Bend, Ore., 15.086
- Brandon Lance (248), Brimfield, Ill., 16.909
- Tim Lance Jr. (148), Brimfield, Ill., no time
- Spencer Diercks (29D), Davenport, Iowa, 13.792
- Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 13.857
- Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., 13.964
- Jesse Stovall (00), Billings, Mo., 14.149
- Paul Parker (10), Kaukauna, Wis., 14.169
- Brian Shirley (3s), Chatham, Ill., 14.257
- Daniel Hilsabeck (22), Waukee, Iowa, 14.313
- Tanner English (81E), Benton, Ky., 14.350
- Jason Papich (91P), Nipomo, Calif., 14.360
- Justin Duty (15), Molalla, Ore., 14.363
- Joe Godsey (14G), Edinburgh, Ind., 14.477
- Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, 14.561
- Tim Simpson (17), Iowa City, Iowa, 14.934
- Lyle Zanker (9z), Rockford, Ill., 15.191
- Rusty Griffaw (16), Festus, Mo., 15.276
- Jeff Roth (14R), Bentonville, Ark., 15.352
- Tegan Evans (T22), Clinton, Iowa, 17.163
6 p.m. - Drivers' meeting
6:30 p.m. - Hot laps/time trials
- DIRTcar Late Model hot laps
- Modified hot laps
- DIRTcar Late Model time trials (2 laps)
- IMCA Late model hot laps
- Street stock hot laps
- DIRTcar Late Model heats (10 laps)
- Modified heats
- IMCA Late Model heats
- DIRTcar Late Model C-main (10 laps)
- Street stock heats
- DIRTcar Late Model B-main (12 laps)
- Lower division consolations (if needed)
- DIRTcar Late Model feature (40 laps)
- IMCA Late Model feature
- Modified feature
- Street stock feature