OAKWOOD — Bobby Pierce has had a lot of special months in the past few years, but this month could be really special.
The 18-year-old racer from Oakwood and defending UMP Late Model national points champion is currently in the lead in the UMP Summer Nationals going into tonight’s race at Vermilion County Speedway and will race some of the top racers in NASCAR in a race at Eldora Speedway on July 22.
Pierce, who is the son of Dirt Track Hall of Famer Bob Pierce, is leading another second-generation racer — Billy Moyer, Jr. — in points for the Summer Nationals going into Monday’s race at Lincoln Speedway. Pierce has 944 points and Moyer has 896 points.
The Summernationals started on June 10 and is nicknamed “The Hell Tour” for a reason. Racers who want to participate in all the races have to go virtually every day for a month in tracks in nine states.
For Pierce, who was fifth in last year’s series and second in 2013, he ended up third in the first race and with some top-five finishes, took the lead in points before adding to that lead with a win at Jacksonville on June 16.
“I didn’t expect the win to come here,” said Pierce after the win. “I’ve never been really good here. It’s a little bullring and I’m pretty good at those, but I’ve never been able to have any good runs here. When you’ve got guys like Babb and everyone who’s grown up here racing their whole lives on tracks like this, it’s really hard to beat them, so to get the win here is pretty amazing. I’m just stoked to get rid of those top-fives and knock one off.”
Pierce knocked another one off just eight days later in Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville for his second win of the series. He led from the start and never gave up that lead for his second straight win at Belleville.
“It feels really good,” Pierce said. “This is starting to become one of my favorite tracks. I’m really good at these little bullrings. You can get up on the cushion and get a good run off.”
The two young racers are ahead of veterans like Bloomington’s Jason Feger, who is third with 844 and Moweaqua’s Shannon Babb, who is the defending Summernationals champion and is fourth at 839. Both Babb and Feger has won three races so far this season and Babb has great success at VCS, including a win at the Summer Nationals stop at the track last year.
Also, there is history at stake with Bobby Pierce and Billy Moyer, Jr. — With Bob Pierce winning Summer National titles in 1992 and 1995 and Billy Moyer Sr. winning titles in 1993, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2001 and 2003, the winning racer will be part of the first father and son combination to win titles in series history.
After the series ends on Saturday at Oakshade Raceway in Wauseon, Ohio, Pierce will be gearing up to get ready for his first NASCAR event.
Pierce’s team will combine with MB Motorsports to drive the team;s No. 63 in the Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway in Eldora, Ohio on July 22.
MB Motorsports and owner Mike Mittler has compete in every season since the series started in 1995 and have helped Sprint Cup racers like Carl Edwards, Jamie McMurray, Justin Allgaier and Brad Keselowski.
The local flavor will continue in the pit box as crew chief and Danville native Rick Ren will call the shots. Ren won two truck titles in 2007 and 2009 as chief for Ron Hornaday, Jr. and has worked races for Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Darrell Wallace, Jr.
Along with the Late Models, the UMP modifieds, the street stocks and factory stocks will also be racing.
The track opens at 4 p.m. today with qualifying starting at 6 p.m. General Admission is $25 for ages 13 and up and free for kids 12 and under with paying adult with pit passes at $35, $15 for kids 6-11 and free for kids under 5 with paying adult.