The “Smooth Operator” leads the second half of the Feature to score a $10,000 payday


The third podium of the Heartland Grand Tour was the charm for Bobby Pierce’s return to Victory Lane with the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models in 2024.

In a display of dirt Late Model prowess at Independence Motor Speedway, the Oakwood, IL driver grabbed the lead halfway through the 40-lap Feature to win the Monday Madness in Iowa.

Beginning the night by setting a new track record in Sea Foam Qualifying and taking a dominating win in Heat 1, Pierce commenced the Feature from the front by drawing the Bilstein Pole Award.

He didn’t take early command though, as Mooresville, NC driver Nick Hoffman took the top spot on the first lap by using the outside line of the track to clear Pierce after front-row starter Chad Simpson fell out of the race due to a mechanical issue.

Hot on Bobby’s trail was New Berlin, IL driver Brandon Sheppard, who used every lane of the racetrack to get by the Pierce.

Once the lapped traffic came into play, Pierce evaporated the half-second gap on Hoffman to take back the Feature lead.

When Hoffman got held up by a lapped car on the high line, going over the cushion and pulling a wheelie, the No.32 machine slipped by Hoffman through Turns 3 and 4 to take the lead with two laps before the halfway mark on lap 20.

The final caution with seven laps to go gave Hoffman and Sheppard one last sniff at taking the lead away from Pierce, which never came to fruition as he crossed the checkered flag to seal his third Series win of the season at the 3/8-mile track.

The Feature triumph moved Pierce up to fourth in the Series standings, sitting 120 points back from Sheppard for the lead.

“From the start, I was a little worried,” Pierce said. “I knew Nick and Brandon were (on soft tires) and when Chad fell out of the race, that gave Nick the front row. If I can just hang with him, and we did. We got him in lap traffic, and it was great. The later half of the race, the car was great.”

Bobby Pierce passes Nick Hoffman on the inside line for the lead.
Bobby Pierce races Nick Hoffman for the lead at Independence Motor Speedway (Emily Schwanke Photo)

Sheppard got by Hoffman on the final restart to get a chance at closing in on Pierce, however, the soft tire he chose did not help the driver of the No. B5 Longhorn Factory Team Late Model get closer to Bobby as he settles for a second-place finish.

“We didn’t snug up quite as much tonight,” Sheppard said. “We had a different tire on (the car) than Bobby, and I think that hurt us more than anything. Once the track got black, my tire wasn’t as good. Once we got to lapped traffic, Bobby could squeeze through them better than we could. I think we got a really good balance on our race car, we were right there with him. I feel pretty good about it, just gotta get a little better in the race and make the right tire call next time.”

Hoffman closed out the Feature’s podium from Independence after leading the first 17 laps of the Feature. He leaves the Iowa racetrack only 14 points back from the Series points lead.

“I should’ve known better,” Hoffman said. “I probably should have crossed over on the bottom and get myself back on and not lose a spot. That’s basically what gives it away at the end of the day. I didn’t want to see that caution at the end because that’s when I gave up second. I felt like I was okay. That last five or six laps I wasn’t as good, so we’ll work on that a little bit. All in all, the car was good for us.”

Robeline, LA driver Cade Dillard finished fourth after picking up the Fox Factory Hard Charger Award with eight spots gained in the race, and Chatham, IL driver Brian Shirley rounded out the Monday Madness top five.


Dirt King Simulator Hottest Hot Lap: Cade Dillard

Simpson Quick Time Award: Bobby Pierce

Heat Winners: Bobby Pierce, Brandon Sheppard, Chad Simpson

Bilstein Pole Award: Bobby Pierce

Fox Factory Hard Charger Award: Cade Dillard

Up Next: The World of Outlaws CASE Late Models cross the halfway point of the Heartland Grand Tour with racing from Hamilton County Speedway in Webster City, IA on Tuesday, June 25 before finishing the June stretch at I-94 EMR Speedway (June 27), River Cities Speedway (June 28), and Norman County Raceway (June 29). For more information and tickets CLICK HERE.

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

CASE Late Model Feature (40 Laps): 1. 32-Bobby Pierce[1]; 2. B5-Brandon Sheppard[6]; 3. 9-Nick Hoffman[4]; 4. 97-Cade Dillard[12]; 5. 3S-Brian Shirley[3]; 6. 76-Blair Nothdurft[9]; 7. 19R-Ryan Gustin[5]; 8. B1-Brent Larson[14]; 9. 22*-Max McLaughlin[7]; 10. 40B-Kyle Bronson[17]; 11. 16-Tyler Bruening[16]; 12. 97JR-Cody Overton[20]; 13. 19-Dustin Sorensen[15]; 14. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[19]; 15. 43-Derrick Stewart[10]; 16. 20TC-Tristan Chamberlain[18]; 17. 14W-Dustin Walker[23]; 18. 21-Billy Moyer Sr[11]; 19. 11-Jon Kirby[24]; 20. 58-Garrett Alberson[13]; 21. 22-Charlie McKenna[22]; 22. 17-Tim Simpson[21]; 23. 29-Spencer Diercks[8]; 24. 25-Chad Simpson[2]