|LATE MODEL DRIVER MATT PIERCY|
(SHERRI STEARNS PHOTO)
Piercy’s results getting better at HMS
By Tom Gillispie
Matt Piercy, who turned 20 on July 21, says this season has been a struggle at Hickory Motor Speedway.
He won some poles in Late Model last year, and he says that “we were close (to wins), but we didn't seal the deal. Unfortunately, we’ve been more off this year than last year.”
Even with his struggles this season, he’s sixth in Late Model points. But it hasn’t been easy.
“We started the season slow, three races in a row with bad races. And it takes awhile to recover,” Piercy said.
“I think we’re back on the right track. We’re sixth in points, and that’s probably where we’ll end up. I think the best we can end up is fourth. But, at the end of the day, it’s not about points racing; it’s about getting up front and winning.”
Later this month, Piercy will enter his third year as an engineering student at UNC Charlotte.
“It’s going pretty good,” Piercy said of college. “It offers its fair share of challenges. Some of the material is pretty complicated. You just have to put your head down and learn the stuff.”
Piercy, a St. Stephens High grad, says he’s learned a good bit on the track as well.
“To be honest with you, I’ve learned more helping other people, helping with other people's cars,” he said. “I’ll drive other's cars and test them. The biggest thing I can do is testing other people’s cars, shaking them down. That’s making me a better driver, and it can help make your car better based on other people’s cars.”
Piercy says he has good chemistry with crew chief Charlie Sigmon, who was his Limited crew chief as well. He says they’re trying to get a little bit better at a time.
“Hickory changes so much (on race day) that you just want to get the car close,” he said. “You don't want big swings in setup. You want to go from running fifth or sixth to third, then battle for wins.”
The worst thing, perhaps, is that Piercy remembers two seasons ago, when he posted nine poles and four victories in the Limited Late Model. He hasn’t done nearly as well in Late Model, and perhaps he’s measuring everything against that season.
“The competition at Hickory is better than it’s been in years,” he said. “One-10th difference (in qualifying) is the difference in starting third and (starting) 13th. We’ve worked hard to get better, and we’ve done that.”
Part of that competition at Hickory is Josh Berry, who passed up HMS Saturday to make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut at Iowa Speedway.
“I think he finished 12th. It was cool that somebody you race against can do that,” Piercy said. “He’s definitely got his ‘A’ game at Hickory. To see somebody you race against every week get an opportunity like that, you’re proud of them and hope someday you can do the same thing.
“But you need the right situation and the right equipment.”
Piercy says he has good equipment, and the high point for his season has been the last few weeks.
“We’re back on track with the setup,” said Piercy, who finished fifth last Saturday. “It’s a process. We want to get better at qualifying, then get a win.”
Maybe it’s coming.
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