OPERATION DOMINATION: Bobby Pierce Wins Second Illini 100 In Return To 2023 Form

The Smooth Operator leads 48 laps en route to his first win in 2024 with the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models

FARMER CITY, IL (April 13, 2024) – If there is one thing you can expect when visiting Farmer City Raceway in the 2020s, Bobby Pierce will be the driver that all dirt Late Model drivers are chasing.

The reigning World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models champion opened up the notebook for the 60-lap Feature race through tires - giving his #32 Longhorn Chassis the ability to use each lane of the quarter-mile race track and helping him earn his 19th career Feature win with the Series.

The Feature commenced with Gray Court, SC driver Chris Madden leading the field to the green flag until three cautions in the first five laps plagued the field in the early portion.

From there, the caution never saw the skies for the rest of the Feature - allowing drivers to make ground around the treacherous Illinois bullring.

That final restart saw Pierce make ground on the leaders immediately - passing by Friday night winner Nick Hoffman and having to maneuver the high and low lanes to get by Madden in the tight race for the lead.

Pierce got by Madden by using the low line on Lap 12 and never relinquished the lead for the rest of the event.

The short track had lapped cars play an important factor in deciding the night’s Feature winner. Pierce used this to his advantage by using a mix of the high and low lines of the race track to gain the race lead from Madden off of Turn 4 - a cleaner look to how he attempted to pass Hoffman on Friday night.

From there, Pierce navigated the lap traffic like he was playing a video game on easy mode - lapping up to ninth place when he took the checkered flag to win his second Illini 100 Feature race. The win also marks Pierce’s sixth straight podium finish in every World of Outlaws CASE Late Models Feature at Farmer City.

For Pierce, the difference was a last-minute change of tires before he rolled the car up to the grid because he noticed the Xtreme Outlaw Midgets Feature made the race track slick.

“I made a last-second call on the tires,” Pierce said. “My dad was like ‘Are you sure?’ and I said yes because the Midgets slicked up the track. It just worked out for us, I loved to see the race go caution-free the rest of the way once we got going. That really helped us out there.

“Growing up here, watching races as a young kid and I remember watching Late Models around here and thinking ‘Man, these guys are crazy for running the cushion like that.’ So, it’s pretty cool to get another win here.”

Hoffman took home a second-place finish - looking to continue building momentum while acknowledging the difficulty of racing lapped cars while chasing Pierce in the process.

“At the start, we were frustrated because we couldn’t even get a lap in,” Hoffman said. “Then, we basically went the distance from there. Looking at the lap traffic, you had to look at their tendencies and where they were gonna move around. You can’t be too aggressive, but you have to find some ground because you know they are coming from behind. I had a decent lead over third so I was just doing what I needed to do to not be in a bad spot or hit the Yuke tires too hard or something stupid.”

New Waverly, TX driver Tyler Erb climbed his way through the field to finish inside the podium - losing patience with the lapped traffic while he worked on his chances to pass Hoffman for second place by the end of the Feature.

“Our cars are fast,” Erb said. “I’m trying to be better, and if we could’ve gotten through lap traffic a little better, but it’s part of not winning our Heat. It’s our fault, our cars were fast, we’re qualifying and Heat racing good. We just need to win those Heat races so we can be in a better position in the Feature. All in all, our car was really f-ing good, and thanks to everybody that helps us.”

Florida native Kyle Bronson brought the heat to Farmer City by picking up his second top-five of the 2024 season with a fourth-place result.

Current Series points leader Brandon Sheppard was rounding out Saturday night’s top-five finishers. Beginning the night with a tough qualifying effort and Heat race, the New Berlin, IL driver had to climb 18 positions from his 23rd starting spot to finish fifth - awarding him the Fox Factory Hard Charger Award.

“I don’t even know what to say,” Sheppard said. “For a lack of better words, I effin sucked to begin the night. We changed a bunch of stuff tonight, got the car back to how I raced it last year and it was really good. It’s small stuff that I’ve got to do better at, and I have no idea what it is yet.

“At this point, it’s about making the qualifying and early night program better. We have to get that dialed in if we’re going to win the championship. There’s no other way around it. These Longhorn guys and Sheppard Riggs Racing crew are trying and it's all hands on deck to get back to where we need to be. We gotta keep our heads up, keep the team pumped because nights like these are a testament to the team. I’m putting in 100% effort.”

UP NEXT: The World of Outlaws CASE Late Models are heading Southbound towards Tennessee for a night at Thunderhill Raceway on Thursday, April 18.This leads up to a trip to Alabama for two nights at the Talladega Short Track, April 19-20. For more information and tickets, CLICK HERE.

If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch every World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model race live on DIRTVision.

CASE Late Model Feature (60 Laps): 1. 32-Bobby Pierce[4]; 2. 9-Nick Hoffman[3]; 3. 1T-Tyler Erb[10]; 4. 40B-Kyle Bronson[5]; 5. B5-Brandon Sheppard[23]; 6. 44-Chris Madden[1]; 7. 1-Tim McCreadie[7]; 8. 97-Cade Dillard[9]; 9. 25-Jason Feger[6]; 10. 97C-Cody Overton[13]; 11. 16-Tyler Bruening[22]; 12. 81-Jason Riggs[8]; 13. 111-Max Blair[17]; 14. 3S-Brian Shirley[25]; 15. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[11]; 16. 19-Dustin Sorensen[12]; 17. 84-Myles Moos[15]; 18. 22*-Max McLaughlin[19]; 19. B1-Brent Larson[21]; 20. 6JR-Parker Martin[16]; 21. 19R-Ryan Gustin[24]; 22. 20-Jimmy Owens[14]; 23. 33-Frank Heckenast Jr[20]; 24. 174-Ethan Dotson[26]; 25. 4GG-Tripp Gerrald[18]; 26. 18-Shannon Babb[2]

THRILL OF THE SHOW: Nick Hoffman Wins Illini 100 Opener in Photo Finish With Bobby Pierce 

“The Thrill From Mooresville” sweeps the night at Farmer City Raceway and earns his third career World of Outlaws CASE Late Models Feature win 

FARMER CITY, IL (April 12, 2024) – The checkered flag waited over an empty straightaway for the victor. Nick Hoffman’s NOS Energy Drink No. 9 Late Model was the first car in its line of sight entering Turn 3, but not cleanly. He pushed up the track, allowing Bobby Pierce to sneak underneath. 

Who would it be? Pierce? He tried to slide ahead off Turn 4. But no, Hoffman was not letting his day end like this. With all four wheels off the track, in the loose dirt, making his own lane to the outside of Pierce, Hoffman edged the champion by 0.072 seconds to be the victor at Farmer City Raceway for the Illini 100 opener. 

The victory – his third with the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models and second this year – came after nearly giving up on attending the event. Early Friday morning, Hoffman had two blown tires on his hauler while making the trip to Farmer City. 

Running on two hours of sleep and cans of NOS Energy Drink, the Mooresville, NC driver overcame the issue and piloted his Tye Twarog Racing Late Model to a career performance. He set the Dirt King Simulators Hottest Hot Lap of the night, earned the Simpson Quick Time Award, won his Heat Race and then won the 40-lap Feature. 

“Last night, at 2 a.m., I blew two tires off my trailer, and I thought about going back home,” Hoffman said. “I’m running on two hours of sleep, but luckily, we’re sponsored by NOS Energy Drink, so it got us through the day. Swept the night and it’s pretty wild. I always joke and say you never win Hot Laps, but tonight, I did it all and that’s pretty damn cool.” 

The only thing he didn’t win was the Bilstein Pole Award in the redraw, which went to Robeline, LA’s Cade Dillard. 

He led the pack of 26 cars to the green flag, but Hoffman passed him for the race lead by the end of the second lap. 

The Feature continued to stay under the green flag for 30 laps until two cautions struck with 10 laps to go, mounting the pressure on Hoffman to complete the night with a win. 

Sitting behind him on the restart was Oakwood, IL native Bobby Pierce, who fought through the top-10 to place himself in a position to win the $10,000 prize. 

The final laps saw Hoffman do all he could to hold off “The Smooth Operator,” keeping a gap between the two drivers. However, Pierce stayed enough in tow of the No. 9 that when the opportunity to win arose, he could strike. 

That moment came on the white flag, as Hoffman made a bobble in Turns 3 and 4, opening the door for Pierce to make his move. The two drivers collided on the front stretch, with Pierce about sideways by the finish line and Hoffman on the horse track of the raceway. 
Hoffman held enough of an advantage to score his first World of Outlaws win at Farmer City.  

“The race car was great all night and didn’t have to tune on it too much,” Hoffman said. “I won a lot of races here in my Modified and turned tons of laps here in both a Late Model and Modified. It was pretty good there, didn’t wanna make it that exciting for sure. I wasn’t gonna do it like what I did to (Chris) Madden at Volusia. 

“I knew (Pierce) was gonna try sliding me there, and I screwed up through (Turns) three and four there and hammered down to the finish line. I was impressed the scoring loop ran all the way down to the horse track because I was all the way off the track and still picked me up. Pretty wild. Not the way we wanted to win there, but I did what I had to do.” 

Pierce finished second, originally thinking he had won the Feature. Despite coming up short, he was happy with how the car performed through the abundance of lap traffic he had to navigate - giving the reigning Series champion something to look forward to for Saturday night’s $20,000-to-win event. 

“The car was really good,” Pierce said. “It allowed us to come up from sixth and I rallied to third quick before I got pushed off and fell back a bit so I had to work to get them all back. At that point in time, we were really fast, but it was a challenge. (Farmer City) is always really challenging, always up on the wheel and it’s a Illinois bullring for sure. You gotta be up on the wheel the whole race, a big ole cushion in Turns three and four. 

“Nick never made a mistake there and until the last corner, I didn’t expect a good chance to come. I wasn’t even close! When he bobbled and got up on the cushion and got stuck up on it, I saw it out of the corner of my eye, so I gassed it and got ahead of him, and I expected him to come down and get me on the front. I don’t know how he made it work. I thought I won because I couldn’t see him because he was so far off the track. I guess they made the right call with the transponders and congrats to him. He drove a heck of a race out of that very last corner.” 

Dillard completed Friday night’s podium finishers in third, hoping to have had a better shot at fighting Hoffman and Pierce for the win by the end of the Feature. 

“I felt like once we got in the lap traffic, that was probably the only chance we had at (Hoffman) there,” Dillard said. “I wasn’t gonna drive into him, but I did not want the last caution to fly there. We were a little bit free at the end and we’ll work on it and try to be a little better tomorrow.” 

New Waverly, TX driver Tyler Erb finished the night in fourth place, and 2006 World of Outlaws CASE Late Models champion Tim McCreadie finished the night fifth - debuting his new Rocket1 Racing ride with the World of Outlaws. 

Gray Court, SC driver Chris Madden scored the Fox Factory Hard Charger award from his 11-place climb to finish 12th from his initial 23rd starting spot in the Feature. 

Continuing to lead the points standings is New Berlin, IL driver Brandon Sheppard - who now holds a 22-point gap over Madden in second place. 

UP NEXT: The World of Outlaws CASE Late Models return once more to Farmer City Raceway to conclude the Illini 100 on Saturday, April 13. The night’s 60-lap Feature will pay $20,000-to-win, totaling a full 100 laps over the two days of racing. The Xtreme Outlaw Midgets presented by Toyota join the Late Models for 30 laps and giving $5,000 to the night’s victor. For tickets, CLICK HERE 

If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch every World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model race live on DIRTVision.