Story By: BEN SHELTON / BEST PERFORMANCE MOTORSPORTS – ST. MARYS, OH – Tyler Erb continued his red-hot start to the 2021 season with a pair of Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victories during the 45th Annual Wrisco Industries Inc. Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park.
For the second stop of the Florida Speedweks, Tyler Erb followed the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series to East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa, Fla. on Monday. for the opening round of the Wrisco Industries Winternationals. In a stout field of 76 cars, Erb laid down the eighth fastest time in his qualifying group before picking up a heat race win in his Industrial Resourcing Group No. 1 Best Performance Motorsports / Rocket Chassis / Clements Racing Engine Super Late Model.
Starting the opening night feature in fifth, Tyler wrestled the lead away on the eighth lap and held the top spot until lap 17 when contact with another competitor sent him into a spin. Marching from the tail of the field over the remaining distance, Erb salvaged a seventh-place outing.
On Tuesday, Tyler followed up the tenth fastest lap in his time trial group with a second-place finish in his heat race behind Kyle Bronson. Earning the ninth-starting position for the feature, Erb began his charge forward early overtaking Brian Shirley for third on lap 18.
With Brandon Overton and Brandon Sheppard battling it out for the top spot up front, Tyler closed in on the leaders as the laps wind down. After sneaking past Sheppard on lap 24 on the bottom, Erb stayed loyal to the bottom groove, sliding ahead of Overton for the lead on lap 28.
With a caution realigning the field on the final lap, Tyler Erb held off Overton’s last-lap charge to secure his third win of the season and a $5,000 prize. Overton, Brian Shirley, Josh Richards, and Kyle Bronson completed the Top-5 finishers in the 30-lap affair.
“I thought that would have made a great tv thing. We were able to pull through. It made my heart skip a beat when I headed to the checkered and then the caution came out. I was not happy about that. We definitely had to work for everything we have gotten this week. I can’t thank the crew enough for all they do. Eric Brock gave me the opportunity of a lifetime to drive his car and we hope to be in for a long time.”
The following night for the third round of the Winternationals, Erb posted a runner-up finish in his heat race behind Brandon Overton, which positioned him 12th on the starting grid for the $7,000-to-win A-Main. After Mother Nature shifted the 40-lapper to Thursday night, Tyler rebounded to finish 13th after getting involved in a tangle on the sixth circuit.
In Thursday night’s regularly scheduled program, Tyler laid down the ninth fastest qualifying time before picking up an eight-lap heat race victory. With $7,000 on the line in the feature, Erb faded back to a 13th-place outing.
During Friday night’s $12,000-to-win program, Tyler was disqualified following an on-track incident with another competitor.
Returning for Saturday’s finale, Erb charged to a convincing heat race win to lock into the fourth-starting position for $15,000-to-win feature. Erb was able to get the lead from Brandon Sheppard on lap 14. He held the top spot until a lap 19 restart when Tim McCreadie took over.
McCreadie started to pull way until a caution appeared with 32 laps scored. On the ensuing restart, Tyler went from third in the running to retake the lead. Holding off Jonathan Davenport at the checkers by 0.322 seconds, Erb sailed to his second Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win of the season. Sheppard, McCreadie, and Hudson O’Neal rounded out the Top-5.
“The top was pretty hard to run and I gave up the lead on a restart by running up there. 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.”
“Randall [Edwards] was showing me that my lead was getting a little close at the end, so I just tried to hit my marks. I got real wide on that last corner and hoped for the best. I just tried not to burn my stuff up. This is the first time we ever put a different tire on here and it worked out. I am just super excited to win.”
The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will wrap up their edition of the 2021 Florida Speedweeks with a doubleheader at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala. A complete program is on tap for Monday and Tuesday, highlighted by a $10,000-to-win feature each night.