Story By: MIKE WARREN / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – HUMBOLDT, KS – With six races left this season, Tanner English and Max Blair find themselves in two title hunts.
One for the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Rookie of the Year Award and the other for the Series championship.
Both drivers have chased Dennis Erb Jr. since March and found Victory Lane on more than one occasion throughout the 2022 World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series.
However, as the Series heads to the Midwest for the final time in 2022, with stops at Humboldt Speedway in Humboldt, KS on Friday, Oct. 21, 81 Speedway in Wichita, KS on Saturday, Oct. 22, and US 36 Raceway in Osborn, MO on Sunday, Oct. 23, both are locked-in to try and better their position.
English, who trails Erb by 98 points, and leads Blair by 68 points, has two different outlooks entering the final six races of the season.
“I’m mainly just trying to win every race,” English said. “I’m just making sure we don’t have any failures, no DNF’s and I think as long as we can run where we’re supposed to run, I think we’ll be alright.
“It’s almost like two different outlooks. To win it, you’re going to have to win every race. And then to hold off Max you’re just going to have to have good runs and be consistent. You don’t want to push too hard to try and get something that’s almost out of reach and mess ourselves up.”
Meanwhile, Blair’s confidence is rising despite traveling to track’s he’s never raced at this weekend.
“I think my confidence level is much higher now than it was back then,” Blair said. “When I went to Volusia, my goal was to race my way into the race. Now, my goal is I’m trying to win the races.
“Our confidence level has gotten much better. We’ve made some changes throughout the year, some for the better, some for the worse. We’ve learned a lot. That’s the best thing I can say.”
Both drivers are thrilled to have a chance at winning a championship with the World of Outlaws World Finals on the horizon at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, Nov. 2-5. However, they both realize it’s an uphill climb.
“It’s just all about how we run there at Charlotte,” English said. “That’s not a place I’m familiar with, really. I’ve had a few test laps there. I’m just going to kind of go in there and wing it.
“There’s going to be some tough competition there and it’s going to be tough to do that. Just to come out of there with some good finishes, we’ll be happy.”
“Realistically, I don’t believe, if we’re going to be honest, that it’s a possibility,” Blair said. “But for a first-year ever doing it, to still be mathematically alive going into the end of the year here, it’s pretty awesome for sure.”
Despite being rivals on the track, the two drivers enjoy racing against each other and enjoy spending time together on the road.
That includes celebrating when one of them finds Victory Lane.
“I think me and Tanner are pretty good buddies,” Blair said. “I really didn’t know him at all until this year, so it’s been a lot of fun. I feel like we both race each other really well.
“When he won those races at Davenport, we all stayed up and had a couple of beers and celebrated with him. He’s just a good dude. His guys and my crew get along well, and it’s been a lot of fun.”
English stated how vital the camaraderie between them can be, as they’ve helped each other when needed.
“I couldn’t think of a better group of guys to go up and down the road with,” English said. “They’ve been good to us, we’ve borrowed parts from them, they’ve borrowed parts from us. It’s just been a good deal.
“Max is a really good competitor and a great guy. You can’t ever count him out. Just like Dennis, he’s always there. He’s good at all types of tracks and all types of conditions, and that’s what it takes to be a good points racer.”
One benefit that allows both drivers to put all their focus into ending the year strong is they already have their 2023 plans in place.
Tanner English will join Viper Motorsports and return to the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models next season. Meanwhile, Max Blair will join fellow Pennsylvania driver Boom Briggs in the second Briggs Transport car.
No matter where their future takes them, both drivers have a season under their belts they won’t forget. One they’ll hold a memory deep into their careers.
The Most Powerful Late Models on the Planet kick off the Midwest weekend with a trip to Humboldt Speedway in Humboldt, KS, on Friday, Oct. 21, before a stop at 81 Speedway in Wichita, KS, on Saturday, Oct. 22. Then, the weekend finishes with a return to the “Show-Me” state for a battle at US 36 Speedway in Osborn, MO on Sunday, Oct. 23.
The 2022 season ends one week later at the World of Outlaws World Finals Nov. 2-5. Get your tickets now for four nights of epic racing action.