WAYNESVILLE, Ga. – Tyler Erb, in his debut as driver of the Best Performance Motorsports No. 1, made his way to victory lane in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series season opener Saturday at Golden Isles Speedway.

Erb took the lead from Hudson O’Neal on lap 13 and held the point to claim the Rhino Ag Super Bowl of Racing presented by General Tire opener.

Earl Pearson Jr. tried to track down Erb in the final 10 laps of the race, but settled for second in the Lucas Oil Products, Clements-powered, Black Diamond Chassis for Ronnie and Terri Stuckey. Jonathan Davenport was third in the Nutrien Ag Solutions, Longhorn for Lance Landers Motorsports.

Completing the top five were Josh Richards and Brandon Sheppard.

O’Neal, who set a new track record in qualifying on Friday night, started from the pole and led the first 12 laps of the race. O’Neal held the point until he slipped a bit in turn two allowing three drivers to get by him. O’Neal recovered and made his way back to second until he got into the turn one wall, ending his race on lap 27.

Erb then set a steady pace for the remainder of the final 23 laps. Erb encountered lap traffic with 10 laps to go. Pearson cut Erb’s nearly three second lead down to just five-car lengths at the checkered flag.

“I want to thank Eric and Kelly Brock and Randall Edwards for having faith in me to drive their car,” said Erb. “This is a great way to start the season. There is so much tough competition here. I was a little worried in traffic, but those guys gave me plenty of room to get by. It was fast today, for sure. I want to thank Wayne Childress of New Point Lighting and Design, and Billy Franklin for helping us out this year.”

Pearson, gave the winner his best shot at the end, but ran out of laps.

“I figured I would have to run the top to catch him and we were. We just ran out of time and laps. I was hoping that Davenport would clean off the top for me, but overall it was a good start to the season for us and we will come back tonight and hopefully be one spot better.”

Davenport, the two-time and defending series champion, said he should have gone to the top earlier in the race.

“I waited too long to get there. Once we were there the car was really good. I tried to follow Earl [Pearson] up and catch him [Erb], but he was really good today. We have had a lot of success here. Maybe tonight we can pick up the win.”

The finish:

Tyler Erb, Earl Pearson Jr., Jonathan Davenport, Josh Richards, Brandon Sheppard, Don O’Neal, Scott Bloomquist, Devin Moran, Chase Junghans, Dennis Erb Jr., Kyle Bronson, Tim McCreadie, Jimmy Owens, Brandon Overton, Devin Gilpin, Matt Cosner, Jason Jameson, Hudson O’Neal, Brian Shirley, Ryan King, Shanon Buckingham, Stormy Scott, Chris Ferguson, Gregg Satterlee.