Concord, N.C. – Ask any driver and they’ll tell you they’re not worried about points. It’s no different on the DIRTcar Summer Nationals tour.

While Mother Nature has somewhat naturally watered down this year’s running of what’s become known as the “Hell Tour” with 28 races scheduled over 32 days, two very different drivers with impressive Summer Nationals lineages have emerged atop the championship standings while a third racer is seeking a bit of history.

As the series prepares for its final two weeks of action beginning on Tuesday at I-96 Speedway’s NAPA Auto Parts Summer Rumble in Lake Odessa, Mich., Bobby Pierce, 18, finds himself leading the overall championship chase with wins at Jacksonville (Ill.) Speedway and Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville, Ill. Pierce’s father, Bob, is a two-time DIRTcar Summer Nationals champion and crew chief for the younger Pierce’s #32 ride.

At the other end of the pits is Billy Moyer Jr., 27, who is second in the championship with a victory at Farley (Iowa) Speedway and the son of six-time DIRTcar Summer Nationals champion Billy Moyer, who is still a threat to win every time he signs in to race.

Lurking behind the two young stars that are seeking their first DIRTcar Summer Nationals title is four-time champion Shannon Babb, who is tied with the elder Moyer atop the all-time win list and on a mission to win his fifth championship.

None of the drivers, though, is focused on the championship, although it’s definitely on their minds.

“The whole thing with the ‘Hell Tour’ is to stay consistent, that’s the key,” said Pierce, the 2013 DIRTcar Late Model national champion from Oakwood, Ill. “If you can just keep getting top-fives every night the point situation will fall your way eventually, and that’s what it’s been doing for us so far. There are still a lot of races to go so we’re just going to try to stay consistent and pick off a few wins along the way. It’s a good confidence booster too.”

Pierce’s father has been through the battles many times, and he’s also focused on winning races.

“Somebody asked me, ‘How many points are you up?’ I said I don’t even know,” the elder Pierce said. “I don’t look at it. We’re doing the best we can and if it happens it happens. We know every time we pull into the racetrack it’s a points race. Yeah, you want to win every race, but like the other night when Babb passed us, I told him second is points and you didn’t tear anything up. We probably could have went for it, but who knows what would have happened. Or you could have driven harder earlier so he wouldn’t have caught you, but the way it was looking he wasn’t going to catch us anyway. Then all of a sudden he got a couple of good laps in a row and went by us. It’s kind of what it is. You’re trying to win the races but yet you know it’s points, so I can’t say you be careful but you get your best finish and the rest will come.”

Although his dad is a racing legend, Moyer Jr. calls his own shots with his team. He also tries to figure out how he’s going to make it up and down the road. After all, surviving 5,453 miles from Brownstown through Oakshade is no easy feat, so winning races helps to ensure he’s able to fund his quest to join his dad as a Summer Nationals champion.

“My dad’s not here every night helping me, my dad’s racing himself, so I make all the decisions on this thing, figuring out how I’m going to pay for everything,” said Moyer Jr., of Batesville, Ark. “Right now I’m just trying to win races, trying to run in the top three or five. If that comes then points will follow. We’re trying to keep up as far as if we’re running in the back, but if you start in the back you can’t really put an old tire on if you’re points racing. It would be awesome to win it.”

Then there’s Babb. He knows how to get it done. He’s won 89 Summer Nationals races in his career to go with the four crowns. His “Drive for Five” has been anything but ordinary after he missed the opener because of truck trouble, but was then fortunate enough to have a rainout on the day his daughter was born.

“No matter who it is or what you’re doing, you’re going to have a little hiccup here or there,” said Babb, 41, of Moweaqua, Ill. “We had ours right at the very beginning and got it out of the way. We’re rolling along. We’ve been prepared for this. We worked on it all winter, and summertime got here and it’s time to race so that’s what we’re doing.

“We’re racing each night. I always have. I approach each night like it’s a new night. All these races pay good money, to collect the check that night is what we’re trying to do. The point deal, how it turns out it turns out. If we did win it and got the money for the points, we’d probably freshen our motors up and go again, it’s something we wouldn’t have to ask our sponsors for. We could pick our own pockets. Everybody wants to win the points, but I want to win the races.”

Heading to Michigan on Tuesday, Pierce is in the driver’s seat. He has two wins and the championship lead. He’s been through this before, having finished second to Brandon Sheppard during 2013’s tour. This time around he’s as ready for the task at hand as he can be.

“It’s tough, you can do all you can to prepare for it but there’s always going to be something you’re not prepared for,” Pierce said. “Whether it’s something on the car, something with your rig, something with you, you just never know. It takes a toll on you, it takes a toll on all your equipment, too. You’ve got to make sure everything is maintenanced and it’s hard in the summer heat, too. Right now things have been going pretty good for us. I’ve been looking forward to the next day every single day when I wake up, ready to race again. When things go bad, it can be tough.”

Follow the Summer Nationals and DIRTcar Summit Modified Nationals on Twitter @SummerNationals or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SummerNationals, or visit the series’ websites at www.TheHellTour.com and www.ModifiedNationals.com.

-DIRTcar Summer Nationals Press Release.  Photo Credit: ShannonBabb.net

DIRTcar Summer Nationals Championship Top 20

Pos.

Car

Driver

Points

1

32

Bobby Pierce

630

2

21JR

Billy Moyer Jr

573

3

18

Shannon Babb

559

4

24

Ryan Unzicker

530

5

25

Jason Feger

505

6

8C

Timothy Culp

461

7

1M

Jim Moon

392

8

21

Billy Moyer

304

9

124

John Hahler

292

10

28E

Dennis Erb, Jr

238

11

89

Mike Spatola

199

12

6K

Michael Kloos

193

13

8K

Levi Kissinger

184

14

99JR

Frank Heckenast Jr

180

15

B12

Kevin Weaver

175

16

4G

Bob Gardner

154

17

10S

Scott Schmitt

152

18

96

Tanner English

139

19

45

Kyle Hammer

136

20

7R

Kent Robinson

130

20T

27M

Rodney Melvin

130


2015 DIRTcar Summer Nationals Schedule

June 10 Wednesday Brownstown Speedway Dennis Erb. Jr.
June 11 Thursday Kankakee Co. Speedway Frank Heckenast Jr.
June 12 Friday Cedar Lake Speedway Jimmy Mars
June 13 Saturday Cedar Lake Speedway Jason Feger
June 14 Sunday Wilmot Speedway Rain
June 15 Monday Off
June 16 Tuesday Jacksonville Speedway Bobby Pierce
June 17 Wednesday Farley Speedway Billy Moyer Jr.
June 18 Thursday Spoon River Speedway Rain
June 19 Friday Tri-City Speedway Rain
June 20 Saturday Fairbury Speedway Shannon Babb
June 21 Sunday Quincy Raceways Rain
June 22 Monday Off
June 23 Tuesday Peoria Speedway Shannon Babb (2)
June 24 Wednesday Belle-Clair Speedway Bobby Pierce (2)
June 25 Thursday Clarksville Speedway Levi Kissinger
June 26 Friday Paducah Int. Raceway Rain
June 27 Saturday Federated I-55 Raceway Rain
June 28 Sunday Lincoln Speedway PPD rain to July 6
June 29 Monday Off
June 30 Tuesday I-96 Speedway Lake Odessa, MI
July 1 Wednesday Daugherty Speedway Chase, IN
July 2 Thursday LaSalle Speedway LaSalle, IL
July 3 Friday Fayette Co. Speedway Brownstown, IL
July 4 Saturday Highland Speedway Highland, IL
July 5 Sunday Tri-State Speedway Haubstadt, IN
July 6 Monday Lincoln Speedway Lincoln, IL
July 7 Tuesday Vermilion Co. Speedway Danville, IL
July 8 Wednesday Florence Speedway Union, KY
July 9 Thursday Macon Speedway Macon, IL
July 10 Friday Farmer City Raceway Farmer City, IL
July 11 Saturday Oakshade Raceway Wauseon, OH

 

Drivers Aren’t Worrying About Points During ‘Hell Tour’