BOONE (WoO) – When the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models run long distance events, you can count on Bobby Pierce to be knocking on the door to Victory Lane.
The “Smooth Operator “led the final 70 Laps of the Hawkeye 100, cashing in on a $30,000 payday. It’s his second win of the season, and second World of Outlaws win of his career. Both of his wins in 2021 were in races lasting more than 50 Laps. The other came at Farmer City Raceway in the 75-Lap Illini 100 finale.
While the Oakwood, IL driver started fifth in the Series first-ever three wide start, he caught everyone’s attention after a Lap 21 caution. Pierce charged through the field off the restart, moving from fourth to first in eight laps to take the lead for good.
Before that restart, he knew he had to make his move based off what the track was doing.
“I felt just a bit of rubber off [Turn 2], and I knew right then I had to go for it because sooner or later it was going to latch down,” Pierce said. “I don’t know what it was, but all of a sudden the car just lit up.”
Even though Pierce seized the opportunity, he knew there was a long way to go. It didn’t bother the Prairie State driver who’s had success in long distance events.
“I’ve always liked the longer races, it gives me time to figure out the racetrack,” Pierce said. “There’s something about the 100-Lap races because it gives me time to work.”
Another driver who used restarts to his advantage was second place finisher Shannon Babb. The Moweaqua, IL driver nosed out ahead during a four-wide battle and gained the position he’d never relinquish.
Babb had the challenge of trying to rush toward the front, while making sure he still had something at the end.
“I found the middle was working really well for me in [Turn 3 and 4], but I knew I had to get [to the front] as quick as I could,” Babb said. “I was just trying to do as well as I could without tearing my tires up.”
Finishing off an all-Illinois podium was three-time and defending champion Brandon Sheppard. It’s his fifth top-five finish of the season, and Series leading 10th top-10. The New Berlin, IL driver was happy with another consistent finish.
“Putting some consistent finishes together for us is what it’s going to take to start getting some wins,” Sheppard said. “We’re just going to keep plugging away because we’re really close.”
Billy Moyer finished fourth, and Ricky Weiss crossed the line fifth.
Weiss was involved in an incident with early race leader Kyle Strickler. Contact in Turn 2 sent Strickler around and damaged the right front of Weiss’s car. Despite the top-five finish, Weiss felt he had a car that could’ve won the race before the contact.
“It felt like back in the old days, when I could go where other people couldn’t,” Weiss said.
“After I made the contact, I didn’t know if something was rubbing on the tire, but the car just kept creeping down on the right front. I knew at that point I wasn’t going to pass another car.”
Strickler was also frustrated, after an exciting battle with Billy Moyer for the lead in the first few Laps. It looked like the “High Side Tickler’s” bad luck was coming to an end before the contact with Weiss.
“Knowing how to run this race track I think hurt me in the end,” Strickler said. “Running that diamond line here put me in harm’s way, and [Weiss] didn’t expect me to come down across the racetrack.
“I think if we could’ve stayed up there, we would’ve had a top-five car for sure,” Strickler said.
The IMCA modifieds, stock cars, and northern sportmods also competed on Saturday night. Feature winners were Todd Shute of Norwalk, Jake O’Neil of Arizona, and Alec Fett of Burt, respectively. Click HERE for full results from MyRacePass.com.
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