GIBSONTON, Fla. — Tyler Erb became the first repeat winner with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series this season after winning the Saturday night Wrisco Industries Winternationals finale at East Bay Raceway Park in front of a packed house.
The 24-year-old Texan stormed to the lead after a lap 32 caution and held off Jonathan Davenport for the win.
Davenport finished .322 seconds behind Erb at the finish line. Brandon Sheppard was third, followed by Tim McCreadie and Hudson O’Neal in the Winternationals finale.
Sheppard led the first 13 laps of the race until Erb was able to get by him on lap 14. Erb held the point until a lap-19 restart when McCreadie took over the lead.
McCreadie started to pull away from the field when a caution appeared with 32 laps scored. On the restart Erb went from third in the running order to the lead. A caution for debris on lap 35 halted the action one final time. Erb stretched his lead out over Davenport, but Davenport made it close at the end, coming to within one car length of the winner at the checkers.
“The top was pretty hard to run and I gave up the lead on a restart by running up there,” Erb said. “I was like man, that could have been the race! McCreadie drove off and he was good. I really didn’t have much traction on the restarts, and I picked the top. I had a really good run on those guys, but needed a little luck. He [McCreadie] just kind of missed the bottom getting into one and I was able to get by him.”
Davenport recorded his best LOLMDS finish so far during Florida Speedweeks.
“He [Erb] was pretty good,” Davenport said. “We were reeling him in at the end and I should have moved around a little bit earlier. I thought we could get by him on the last lap. I just tried to throw a Hail Mary at him, but I came up short. We’ve got something wrong with the other car, so I didn’t want to tear this one up.”
Sheppard, who ran most of the race up top on the third-mile oval, came home third.
“We had a good car at the beginning of the week and then we struggled in the middle of the week,” Sheppard said. “We finally got it going again here at the end. I am proud of my guys for sticking with me and working their tails off to give a fast race car. We had fun out there tonight. We got into heavy traffic when I was leading and then Terbo and McCreadie passed me. Congratulations to Terbo, he did a great job. We never got into lapped traffic again so we could dice it up, but the cautions kept coming out.”
It was the fourth victory of the season for Erb, who won twice during the Wild West Shootout at Arizona Speedway.
Tyler Erb, Jonathan Davenport, Brandon Sheppard, Tim McCreadie, Hudson O’Neal, Bobby Pierce, Boom Briggs, Brandon Overton, Josh Richards, Ricky Thornton Jr., Earl Pearson Jr., Tanner English, John Baker, Kyle Bronson, Dennis Erb Jr., Johnny Scott, Billy Moyer Jr., Colton Flinner, Gregg Satterlee, Tyler Bruening, Jimmy Owens, Blake Spencer, Blair Nothdurft, Frank Heckenast Jr., Mark Whitener, Devin Moran, Shane Clanton, Stormy Scott, Brian Shirley, Mike Marlar.