Davenport Speedway

  • 1
Thanks for the memories!

Thanks for the memories!

The season is over.

Pierce takes Summer Nationals win at Davenport



Pierce takes Summer Nationals win at Davenport

By Jordan DeLucia (Davenport, IA) -- Four wins in nine races. Not bad for the three-time DIRTcar Summer Nationals champion Bobby Pierce, who’s off to one of the best starts to a Hell Tour campaign in his young career.

His latest trip to Victory Lane came Thursday night at Davenport Speedway, where he took his Pierce Platinum Race Car to the high side of the quarter-mile configuration and put on a clinic, crossing the stripe with a near five-second lead over Frank Heckenast Jr. and Brandon Sheppard for his 31st career Summer Nationals Feature win in back-to-back fashion.


But to get the lead, Pierce was forced to go a different route. Polesitter Tony Jackson Jr. jumped out to the lead through the middle while Pierce held off Tanner English for second in the opening laps. A quick caution restacked the field and gave Jackson the opportunity to switch to the preferred top lane, which he did and began to open up a gap.

But on Lap 12, Jackson darted to the bottom in Turn 3 and slid up to the high side at the exit of Turn 4, leaving the door wide-open for Pierce down low.

“He got a little loose off of Turn 2, and I had a pretty good run. I thought, ‘well, we’ll see if he goes to the top,’ and he did. He left the door open, I shot in there and just stayed in the gas and kinda blocked him coming off the corner,” Pierce, of Oakwood, IL, said of the move for the lead.

Now with the advantage out front and lots of room to maneuver through traffic, Pierce grabbed the lead after a second restart and checked out, weaving up to a six-second lead at one point while the rest of the field was left to duke it out behind him.

Included in that crowd was one of the fastest cars on the track in the closing stages of the race – Frank Heckenast Jr. The Summer Nationals veteran had just come off a heartbreaking end to his night on Wednesday at Beaver Dam, where a battery malfunction forced him to retire while leading. Looking for a night of redemption in the Hawkeye State, he found it, climbing back from as low as eighth at one point to finish second.

“Last night, we break the track record, win the Heat, feeling like nothing can go wrong, and then we finish 18th,” Heckenast, of Frankfort, IL, said. “Tonight, nothing went right. The car wouldn’t start before Hot Laps, barely got out for Hot Laps… Heat Race was a disaster, I don’t know what the heck was going on there, so we got put back and that cost us a lot.”

While he endured those struggles early Thursday night, Heckenast came roaring back to life in the second half of the Feature. Having faded back to eighth after the final restart on Lap 14, he gassed it up on the bottom lane and advanced six positions over the next 19 laps to take second.

“Cade [Dillard] gave me about 10 percent life on the bottom when I looked up, and he hung with them guys coming off Turn 4, and I was like, ‘wait a second, there might be something here,’” Heckenast said.

Heckenast battled with Dillard, Dennis Erb Jr, Tanner English and others in his drive to the front before meeting Jackson, who had again found his mojo on the top side and engaged in a lap-after-lap struggle with Heckenast in the final stages. Back-and-forth the two swapped spots for four laps before Heckenast took it away permanently with five laps remaining.

Looking back on the finish and the cars he passed to get there, Heckenast was quite pleased with he and his team’s effort with the big guns in the house. A grand total of 35 DIRTcar Late Models packed the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds pit area to take part in the Summer Nationals’ 21-year awaited return, and the core Illinois drivers showed their toughness right from the drop of the green.

“It was a great rebound run for us with all of these cars here,” Heckenast said. “MLRA, there’s some World of Outlaws here… it just shows that Bobby, Brandon [Sheppard], and a lot of us guys can do this deal. There’s no slouches.”

With his fourth win of the year, Pierce now has a comfortable lead in the points standings and is well on his way to the Week #3 points bonus. Although he may not be as worried about points as he has been in the past, he’ll take a check for $5,000 any day.

“For sure, it’s definitely been a good start,” Pierce said. “We haven’t really been worrying about points that much because we came into it figuring we’re not going to run it all. I’m still not going to run it all, but we’re still gonna go out there and win as many races as we can.”

Brandon Sheppard, the 2013 Summer Nationals champion from New Berlin, IL, crossed in third after a charge from 13th in the family-owned #B5 Rocket Chassis. Tony Jackson Jr. faded back to fourth before the checkers, while four-time tour champion Shannon Babb completed an amazing climb from 21st (a provisional spot) to fifth to earn the Hard Charger honors.


The Hell Tour rolls into The Dirt Oval at Route 66 for race #10 of the 2021 campaign Friday night, July 2, alongside the return of the Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals to the card. Catch all the action live on DIRTVision presented by Drydene.


Feature (40 Laps) 1. 32-Bobby Pierce[2]; 2. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr[6]; 3. B5-Brandon Sheppard[13]; 4. 56-Tony Jackson Jr[1]; 5. 18- Shannon Babb[21]; 6. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[11]; 7. 97-Cade Dillard[4]; 8. 81E-Tanner English[3]; 9. 11H-Spencer Hughes[5]; 10. 12-Ashton Winger[7]; 11. 25-Jason Feger[17]; 12. 3S-Brian Shirley[16]; 13. 48-Tim Lance[19]; 14. 41-Jeremiah Hurst[18]; 15. 10-Paul Parker[14]; 16. 22-Daniel Hilsabeck[12]; 17. 14G-Joe Godsey[22]; 18. 29-Spencer Diercks[10]; 19. 59-Garrett Alberson[9]; 20. 00-Jesse Stovall[8]; 21. 21JR-Billy Moyer Jr[15]; 22. 16-Rusty Griffaw[20]

Qualifying Group 1 (2 Laps) 1. 11H-Spencer Hughes, 00:13.660[13]; 2. 12-Ashton Winger, 00:13.762[16]; 3. 56-Tony Jackson Jr, 00:13.809[2]; 4. 97- Cade Dillard, 00:13.845[6]; 5. 18-Shannon Babb, 00:13.887[5]; 6. 25-Jason Feger, 00:13.948[4]; 7. 59-Garrett Alberson, 00:14.014[17]; 8. 28-Dennis Erb Jr, 00:14.016[12]; 9. 41-Jeremiah Hurst, 00:14.029[3]; 10. 21JR-Billy Moyer Jr, 00:14.070[10]; 11. B5-Brandon Sheppard, 00:14.125[15]; 12. 25S-Chad Simpson, 00:14.240[8]; 13. 48-Tim Lance, 00:14.250[9]; 14. 74-Mitch McGrath, 00:14.576[11]; 15. 3W-Brennon Willard, 00:14.800[7]; 16. 38-Thomas Hunziker, 00:15.086[18]; 17. 248-Brandon Lance, 00:16.909[14]; 18. (DNS) 148-Tim Lance Jr

Qualifying Group 2 (2 Laps) 1. 29-Spencer Diercks, 00:13.792[2]; 2. 32-Bobby Pierce, 00:13.857[5]; 3. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr, 00:13.964[6]; 4. 00- Jesse Stovall, 00:14.149[15]; 5. 10-Paul Parker, 00:14.169[4]; 6. 3S-Brian Shirley, 00:14.257[13]; 7. 81E-Tanner English, 00:14.305[10]; 8. 22-Daniel Hilsabeck, 00:14.313[14]; 9. 91P-Jason Papich, 00:14.360[11]; 10. 15-Justin Duty, 00:14.363[8]; 11. 14G-Joe Godsey, 00:14.477[1]; 12. 32S-Chris Simpson, 00:14.561[3]; 13. 17-Tim Simpson, 00:14.934[7]; 14. 9-Lyle Zanker, 00:15.191[17]; 15. 16-Rusty Griffaw, 00:15.276[9]; 16. 14R-Jeff Roth, 00:15.352[12]; 17. T22-Tegan Evans, 00:17.163[16]

Heat 1 (10 Laps) 1. 56-Tony Jackson Jr[2]; 2. 11H-Spencer Hughes[1]; 3. 59-Garrett Alberson[4]; 4. B5-Brandon Sheppard[6]; 5. 41-Jeremiah Hurst[5]; 6. 18-Shannon Babb[3]; 7. 48-Tim Lance[7]; 8. 3W-Brennon Willard[8]; 9. 248-Brandon Lance[9]

Heat 2 (10 Laps) 1. 97-Cade Dillard[2]; 2. 12-Ashton Winger[1]; 3. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[4]; 4. 21JR-Billy Moyer Jr[5]; 5. 25-Jason Feger[3]; 6. 25S-Chad Simpson[6]; 7. 38-Thomas Hunziker[8]; 8. 74-Mitch McGrath[7]; 9. 148-Tim Lance Jr[9]

Heat 3 (10 Laps) 1. 81E-Tanner English[4]; 2. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr[2]; 3. 29-Spencer Diercks[1]; 4. 10-Paul Parker[3]; 5. 14G-Joe Godsey[6]; 6. 17-Tim Simpson[7]; 7. 16-Rusty Griffaw[8]; 8. T22-Tegan Evans[9]; 9. 91P-Jason Papich[5]

Heat 4 (10 Laps) 1. 32-Bobby Pierce[1]; 2. 00-Jesse Stovall[2]; 3. 22-Daniel Hilsabeck[4]; 4. 3S-Brian Shirley[3]; 5. 15-Justin Duty[5]; 6. 14R-Jeff Roth[8]; 7. 9-Lyle Zanker[7]; 8. 32S-Chris Simpson[6]

Consolation Race (10 Laps) 1. 74-Mitch McGrath[3]; 2. 3W-Brennon Willard[1]; 3. 32S-Chris Simpson[4]; 4. 248-Brandon Lance[5]; 5. T22-Tegan Evans[2]; 6. 148-Tim Lance Jr[7]; 7. (DNS) 91P-Jason Papich

Last Chance Showdown (12 Laps) 1. 25-Jason Feger[3]; 2. 41-Jeremiah Hurst[1]; 3. 15-Justin Duty[4]; 4. 18-Shannon Babb[5]; 5. 25S-Chad Simpson[7]; 6. 48-Tim Lance[9]; 7. 32S-Chris Simpson[15]; 8. 14G-Joe Godsey[2]; 9. 74-Mitch McGrath[13]; 10. 3W-Brennon Willard[14]; 11. 17-Tim Simpson[6]; 12. 38-Thomas Hunziker[11]; 13. 14R-Jeff Roth[8]; 14. 16-Rusty Griffaw[10]; 15. 248-Brandon Lance[16]; 16. 9-Lyle Zanker[12]

Submitted By: Kirk Elliott

Back to News

Latest Photos

Latest Videos

May Races Update
Happy Fathers Day
Petersen Plumbing
QC Jeeps
Hoker Trucking
JRs Place
KOEHLER Electric
Eriksen Chevrolet
Craftsmen Utility Trailer
HD Equipment
C  J Trucking of Iowa
Lindquist Ford
Halabuilt Engines
Hawkins Construction and Trucking
Grask Truck Group
No Place Special
Pit Crew BBQ
Tyler Matzen