After 10 months of traveling across the country, the 2023 World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series handed up big checks and special awards during the year-end awards banquet Sunday evening.
Along with Bobby Pierce being crowned the 2023 champion, the top-15 in points were honored throughout the night with many walking away with extra hardware.
2023 Champion: In his first season with the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models, Bobby Pierce had a dominant stretch in the season’s second half to earn his first Series championship. The Oakwood, IL driver took home $150,000 for winning the title and another $25,000 from the Winners Circle bonus.
He also won the Social Ambassador of the Year award for his consistent promotion of World of Outlaws races and DIRTVision throughout the year. By earning this accolade, he’ll receive a commercial on DIRTVision for his merchandise.
The “Smooth Operator” finished the season with 14 wins, 25 top fives, and 32 top 10s en route to the Series title.
“It honestly means the world,” Pierce said. “This season, I want to dedicate to my dad. He’s 71 years old, going on 72, and he gets up and down the road working on the car like a young guy. He keeps going, and we keep each other going, so that’s awesome. He’s been there my whole life, supporting me every step of the way.
“It’s been a long year. It started a little rocky. We came off the first two races with DNFs, and we were like, man, it’s going to be tough to come back. But we came back, won the first race out (at Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals), and from then on, we got off going pretty well.”
Here’s a look at who earned the Special Awards for the 2023 season:
2023 Crew Chief of the Year Award: This year’s Crew Chief of the Year award went to Bobby Pierce’s crew chief and dad, Bob Pierce. The Hall of Famer took home the iconic wrench trophy to accompany the team’s championship accolades.
“I may be getting the Crew Chief of the Year award, but my son made me look good a lot of times,” Pierce said. “Being on the World of Outlaws for the first year is pretty cool. Going up and down the road with a lot of miles has been pretty fun for an old guy like me. I keep this thing going because I love racing.”
Engine Builder and Chassis Builder of the Year Award: These awards were given to the manufacturers behind Bobby Pierce’s championship. Vic Hill, from Vic Hill Race Engines, accepted the Engine Builder of the Year award, while Longhorn Chassis won Chassis Builder of the Year.
Steve Arpin, owner of Longhorn Chassis, accepted the award—the first World of Outlaws title for the chassis builder.
Germfree Rookie of the Year: With his fifth-place finish in the World of Outlaws Late Models standings, Nick Hoffman won the 2023 Germfree Rookie of the Year. As the top rookie, the Mooresville, NC driver received an extra $10,000 and custom ear molds from Racing Electronics.
“At first, our ultimate goal was to try and win the Rookie of the Year,” Hoffman said. “To win one race this year was pretty cool. Especially at a race track I’ve never been to (at Stateline Speedway). It was a good year for us, a building year for sure. We got to build our notebook and try to get better. I feel like that’s the biggest thing we lacked a little bit. There were so many racetracks I hadn’t been to. So, we’ve been trying to build notes and make our program better.”
HASS Horizontal Awards: In 2023, Hass Horizontal sponsored three awards for those who won the most Features, most Heat Races, and most Last Chance Showdowns. Series champion Bobby Pierce earned $3,500 for winning the most Features (14) and $1,500 for winning the most Heat Races (21). Ryan Gustin earned $1,500 for winning the most Last Chance Showdowns (5).
The Raye Vest Award: This $500 award went to the drivers who had the best and worst pill draw in the 2023 season. It honors Raye Vest, a long-time supporter of 2011 Series champion Rick Eckert. This year’s winners were Todd Cooney (highest average) and Chris Madden (lowest average).
FOX Factory Hard Charger Award: The Fox Factory Hard Charger award was given out each race to the driver who advanced the most positions by the end of the race. Winning the overall award for the year was Brett Larson, having earned seven FOX Factory Hard Charger awards in 2023.
Fan Favorite Award: Throughout the last month, fans voted for their favorite World of Outlaws Late Models driver. When the votes were tallied, it was Series rookie Todd Cooney who had the most votes, making him the Fan Favorite award winner in 2023.
Racing With Jesus Ministries Sportsman Award: In 2023, Racing With Jesus Ministries awarded a Sportsman of the Year award worth $500. Lacey Walker, the daughter and crew chief for World of Outlaws driver Dustin Walker, won the award for her efforts and positive attitude throughout the 10-month grind of the 2023 schedule.
“I’m just so happy that I was able to do it this year,” Walker said. “Especially with my dad, making new friends, meeting more people, and learning so much more about the racing.”
Here’s a look at the top 15 in the final standings for the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models and their end of the year payouts including points fund and Winner Circle program:
- Bobby Pierce ($175,000)
- Chris Madden ($125,000)
- Brandon Sheppard ($110,000)
- Kyle Bronson ($100,000)
- Nick Hoffman ($90,000)
- Brian Shirley ($80,000)
- Ryan Gustin ($75,000)
- Dennis Erb Jr. ($72,000)
- Tanner English ($68,000)
- Cade Dillard ($65,000)
- Shane Clanton ($62,000)
- Brent Larson ($60,000)
- Gordy Gundaker ($25,000)
- Todd Cooney ($25,000)
- Dustin Walker ($25,000)