MACON — Five-time Herald & Review 100 champion Shannon Babb flipped over on lap 3.
Leader and four-time winner Kevin Weaver then smoked up and exited off the track into the pit on lap 35.
That left the door wide open for Bobby Pierce.
The 19-year -old super late model driver captured his first-ever H&R 100 at Macon Speedway Thursday night, adding on to his spectacular run in the Summer Nationals Hell Tour.
“I like this track a lot,” said Pierce, whose dad, Bob, has won the event four times. “It's a handful to drive. It was good and pretty fast.”
It was his third straight victory and ninth in 16 races. That pretty much ensures his second consecutive Hell Tour title with only eight races remaining.
Pierce couldn't point out any particular reason for his success this year.
“I don't know,” Pierce said. “I think going to races year to year helps out a lot. The car count being down helps, too, but that's stiff competition and we keep growing as a team.”
Pierce lurked in third place behind Weaver and Feger for the first 25 laps.
He eventually surged ahead of Feger after 30 laps, but Weaver only seemed to be gaining separation from the rest of the field.
That all changed dramatically when Weaver's water pump came off. Weaver was forced to leave the race as his engine badly steamed up.
“I felt like we had a good car,” Weaver said. “Usually we don't have that problem. I felt a little vibration. Sometimes it shakes stuff loose.”
Pierce became the new frontrunner.
The Oakwood, Ill. native was initially apprehensive taking the lead so soon due to a previous experience.
Last year, Pierce was slowed down by lagging traffic and Ryan Unzicker stole the victory from his grasp.
It was a much different story this time.
He wasn't sidetracked by two cautions after Weaver pulled out of the race, nor the traffic.
“I took the lead before halfway, and it's a long race to lead,” Pierce said. “You wonder if someone will sneak up inside on you.”
After the final caution on lap 68, Pierce gradually pulled further and further away from Feger and the rest of the competition.
By lap 90, he led by as much as half a lap and crossed the finish line uncontested for another $5,000 check.
“I need a drink after that,” he told the audience. “It was so tough on the track. It was great, but it was tough.”
Standerfer leads throughout
Germantown, Ill. native Rodney Standerfer started in the pole position for the Summit Racing Modified Nationals race and had held onto the win.
Former NASCAR driver and racetrack co-owner Kenny Wallace finished in fourth place.
Tim Hancock, meanwhile, won the B-mods race.
Babb wasn't the only super late model driver to flip over at Macon Speedway. Dean Carpenter, coming all the way from Mississippi, turned upside down during the final lap of his qualifying race. He was OK like Babb and still competed in the main event.