GIBSONTON, Fla. — Tyler Erb scored his second Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory of the season on the opening night of the Wrisco Industries Winternationals presented by Lucas Oil on Monday night at East Bay Raceway Park.
Erb started on the pole of the main event but did not take the lead until the 13th circuit of the third-mile dirt track. He was one of four different race leaders, others being Jonathan Davenport, Josh Richards and Brandon Sheppard. Erb won the thrilling opener by just nine-tenths of a second — holding off Richards, Brandon Sheppard, Austin Hubbard and Don O’Neal.
Defending series champion Davenport bolted to the lead at the start of the race and led the first eight laps. Richards then forged ahead for one lap, before Sheppard took command of the race for two circuits. Erb then charged around Sheppard to take the lead for good on lap 13 and pulled away enough to thwart any efforts by Richards and Sheppard.
Richards’ Clint Bowyer Racing, Peak Antifreeze and Coolant, Rocket and Sheppard’s Mark Richards Racing, Valvoline, Rocket battled hard for second in the last 15 laps of the race to join Erb on the podium, with Richards just edging Sheppard at the finish.
“I am super-excited to get this opportunity to work with Randall Edwards, Eric and Kelly,” Erb said. “This is a dream come true for me. I have been dreaming of this chance for a long time and to finally get to this point is very satisfying, but you have to stay hungry. We still have a lot of racing left this year, but we couldn’t ask for a better start to the season.”
Richards recorded his best finish of the season with his second-place run.
“Tyler did a great job out there,” Richards said. “I want to thank all the guys who work so hard on the car to get us up front. We had a pretty good car and we made a couple of changes. It was really maneuverable out there. We have been up front in every race so far this year and we can’t complain about that.”
Sheppard, who entered the night with three career wins at East Bay, finished third.
“We had a strong car all night long,” Sheppard said. “It was fun to drive out there on this track tonight. If they have the track like this every night this week, it will be a whole lot of fun. I am sure it was a good show for the fans as well.”
Tyler Erb, Josh Richards, Brandon Sheppard, Austin Hubbard, Don O’Neal, Billy Moyer, Chase Junghans, Jonathan Davenport, Kyle Bronson, Hudson O’Neal, Earl Pearson Jr., Devin Moran, Tim McCreadie, Gregg Satterlee, Dennis Erb Jr., Tanner English, Tyler Carpenter, Joey Moriarty, Stormy Scott, Jason Jameson, Freddie Carpenter, Billy Moyer Jr., Brandon Overton, Jimmy Owens, Brian Shirley, Scott Bloomquist.