Erb Nips Davenport In Wild West Shootout

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Tyler Erb (1) battles to the inside of Jonathan Davenport during Saturday's Wild West Shootout feature. (Tom Macht Photo)
Tyler Erb (1) battles to the inside of Jonathan Davenport the Wild West Shootout at Arizona Speedway. (Tom Macht Photo)

SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. – For the second consecutive night, a late-race slide job decided the outcome of the Wild West Shootout Dirt Track Bank Super Late Model feature and for the second consecutive night, fans were sent home pleased with the race they witnessed.

Jonathan Davenport utilized his outside front row starting position and fired-off to the early race lead. Davenport led the first five circuits before Friday night’s winner, Tyler Erb, made quick work of him at the exit of turn four. By this point, the field was beginning to spread out and the leaders began to hit lapped traffic.

Polesitter Bobby Pierce’s night ended just a few laps later when he slowed at the exit of turn two and pulled into the infield on lap 10. Pierce was unable to continue and credited with finishing 24th. Meanwhile, Saturday night’s race continued with Erb leading Davenport by a little more than one second. Jimmy Mars was a distant third place at the race’s halfway mark and under heavy pressure from Ricky Thornton Jr. and Jason Papich.

It seemed that Davenport was simply biding his time as he began to close in on Erb, while Erb was stuck in lapped traffic. Davenport found his moment to strike, passing Erb for the lead at the entrance of turn one, on lap 30. Erb quickly turned underneath Davenport, attempting a cross-over move, but he was unable to make it stick and could only watch as Davenport began to pull away. The folks at Keyser Manufacturing were all but counting the $10,000 bonus that Davenport seemed destined to collect, but Erb had other plans.

With both drivers still negotiating their way through lapped traffic, Erb ran the high line perfectly on lap 36 and generated a huge run on Davenport down the back stretch.  Not one to waste momentum, Erb turned that drive into a huge slide job at the entrance of turn three, easily clearing Davenport all the way to the cushion and taking the lead.  Davenport hopped the cushion and appeared to scrape the wall with his right rear quarter panel, killing his momentum.  Erb kept digging and quickly lengthened the gap between him and Davenport, with three laps to go.

Both drivers continued to weave through lapped traffic, allowing Davenport to close back in on Erb.  However, Davenport didn’t quite have enough in the closing laps and settled for nearly getting alongside Erb at the exit of turn four on the last lap, coming up just short at the line.

Saturday’s victory marks the second consecutive for Erb, boosting him into a six-way tie for 16th on the all-time Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout wins list. Erb’s second $5,000 payday in as many days was earned by .122 seconds over Davenport, who settled for the runner-up position.

Almost more impressive, Ricky Thornton Jr. charged to finish third, .942 seconds behind Erb and appeared to need just a few more laps in order to contend with the two race-long leaders. Jimmy Mars and Jason Papich rounded out the top-five finishers.

The finish:

1. 1-Tyler Erb[5]; 2. 49D-Jonathan Davenport[2]; 3. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[3]; 4. 28M-Jimmy Mars[6]; 5. 91P-Jason Papich[7]; 6. 75T-Terry Phillips[4]; 7. 157-Mike Marlar[10]; 8. 20-Rodney Sanders[8]; 9. 59-Garrett Alberson[11]; 10. 3S-Brian Shirley[19]; 11. 15-Donny Schatz[13]; 12. 21-Billy Moyer Sr[23]; 13. 1ST-Johnny Scott[9]; 14. 32B-Cody Laney[21]; 15. 86-Kyle Beard[20]; 16. 48L-Tim Lance[24]; 17. 10C-Chad Olsen[14]; 18. 91T-Tony Toste[22]; 19. 25F-Jason Feger[12]; 20. 98-Jared Landers[16]; 21. 37-Scott Ward[18]; 22. 130-Chase Allen[17]; 23. 2S-Stormy Scott[15]; 24. 32-Bobby Pierce[1]