Tyler Erb Rolls Through Tri-City

Tyler Erb en route to victory at Tri-City Speedway. (Don Figler photo)
Tyler Erb, shown here earlier this year, has claimed the pole for the USA Nationals at Cedar Lake Speedway. (Don Figler photo)

GRANITE CITY, Ill. — Tyler Erb outbattled Jimmy Owens and Mike Marlar to win his fifth Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event of the season on Thursday night at Tri-City Speedway.

The Hoker Trucking Best in the Business 50 presented by Schoenfeld Headers was also Erb’s second consecutive Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory.

Tim McCreadie came on strong to finish third just ahead of Owens and Earl Pearson Jr.

Erb started the day by setting fast time, then went on to earn the PFC Brakes Pole Award for the main event. Owens grabbed the early lead and held the point for the first 22 laps of the race.

The next six laps saw a back-and-forth race for the lead between Owens and Erb. Erb took the lead for the first time on lap 23, but Owens fought back to regain the top spot. The two raced side by side with Erb regaining the lead on the 30th circuit.

Marlar took over the second spot on lap 39 after he and Owens had battled side-by-side for several circuits. A caution came out with five laps to go, which gave Marlar one more opportunity to sneak by Erb.

On the restart, Erb used the clean air in front of him to open up a slight lead and finished three-quarters of a second ahead of Marlar at the finish line for his sixth career LOLMDS victory.

Tyler Erb (Don Figler photo)
Tyler Erb (Don Figler photo)

“I really didn’t want to see that last caution because I had gotten into a rhythm,” said Erb. “I was kind of kicking myself when Jimmy got back by me for the lead. I knew when Mikey was behind me that things were going to be tough. I could hear Jimmy under me and then the same thing with Mikey. I just kind of let it go for broke in the last four laps. About a month ago I was in the same position and I wasn’t going to let what happened last time, happen again.”

With the win, the 22-year-old Texan not only keeps his points lead in the rookie-of-the-year chase but also cut into point leader Jonathan Davenport’s championship point lead. Davenport finished 18th after pulling off the track due to heavy damage to his race car.

For Marlar, the runner-up finish continued his strong run of podium finishes since the first of June in the LOLMDS.

“This was an awesome race track tonight, we could run anywhere on it,” Marlar said. “I ran the top, but I felt the car working better on the bottom. I have always enjoyed coming here, but I have never had much success here. Glad to come here tonight and get the monkey off of our back.”

McCreadie stayed in the top five and grabbed the third spot at the finish.

“This was a good run. It’s Phillip’s [Crew Chief Phillip Snellen] birthday today. We are still working on a lot of things and we are getting closer. We started with a new shock company for the team and they had been out of racing for a long time, but we keep making strides and hopefully we can get a win soon.”

The finish:

Tyler Erb, Mike Marlar, Tim McCreadie, Jimmy Owens, Earl Pearson Jr., Devin Moran, Chris Simpson, Hudson O’Neal, Scott Bloomquist, Stormy Scott, Gordy Gundaker, Shannon Babb, Rick Eckert, Josh Richards, Billy Moyer Jr., Austin Rettig, Kyle Bronson, Jonathan Davenport, Jesse Stovall, Tim Manville, Shanon Buckingham, Michael Norris, Billy Moyer, Michael Kloos, Daryn Klein.