Ryan Gustin Becomes Second First-Time Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Winner At East Bay
Story By: LUCAS OIL LATE MODEL DIRT SERIES – TAMPA, FL – For the second night in a row, a new winner emerged with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series as Ryan Gustin picked up his first career series victory.
The 32-year-old Iowa native scored the win in the 47th Annual Wieland Winternationals – presented by Lucas Oil at East Bay Raceway Park.
Gustin’s win followed that of Ashton Winger’s on Tuesday night as first-time victors with the series. Tyler Erb, who won Monday night’s race finished in second followed by Kyle Bronson. Brandon Sheppard was fourth with Jonathan Davenport rounding out the top five drivers.
Gustin grabbed the lead at the start of the 40-lap A-Main with Bronson and Tyler Erb in tow. After a lap six restart, Gustin still held the point with Erb and Bronson keeping him within their sights. Erb yielded the second spot to Bronson on the eighth lap as Gustin was starting to pull away. A timely caution flew on lap 15 as Gustin was about to pick up the tail end of the field.
On the restart Gustin still led Bronson and Erb at the halfway mark of the race as another caution came out with 21 laps scored. The restart would see Bronson slide underneath Gustin for the lead but exiting turn two on the 23rd lap Gustin powered back around Bronson on the outside to regain the top spot.
The trio of drivers then caught traffic as Erb would gain the second spot on lap 36. The final caution with two laps to go allowed both Erb and Bronson to have one last shot at Gustin, but he held his line to pick-up his first ever Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory.
Gustin’s win makes him the 88th different winner in Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series history and the seventh different winner in nine races thus far in 2023. “This is awesome. Once Kyle [Bronson] got underneath me there man I thought I just messed this up. Luckily, we had a good enough car under us to roll through the middle and got back by him. We got to the lapped cars and I felt like it started to cleanup and those cars were dirtying it up so I had to get back down to the bottom.”
“I just wanted to win this for my guys they have been working their tails off,” Gustin added. The only reason we are standing here tonight is because of them. Our car is really, really good when you can roll the middle like that just like that B-Main the other night everybody was circling around the bottom and we were just able to move out and run through there better. I think we have a team that can contend every night. We’ve got a great race car, a great owner, and a great crew chief. I am just the lucky one who gets to drive it. I love East Bay.”
Erb who finished second 1.330 seconds behind Gustin at the finish had one last shot at the end as a caution flag set up a green-white-checkered finish. “He [Gustin] was pretty good. He got me on the start. I just stayed out there on the top of three and four for a long time trying to make something happen. It was fun. We qualified good and everybody’s working hard so we needed to be a little bit better to beat Ryan there. If we would have stayed in traffic I might have had a better chance at him. It was awesome and another good run for us and now must get ready for tomorrow.”
Bronson, who led one lap during the race came home in third for his first Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series podium finish of the season. “Our car has been good here. The first day we kind of missed it on the feature set-up and last night I felt like we had a winning car and tonight we passed for the lead. It kind of streaked up through the middle there and he [Gustin] got back by me.”
The winner’s David Steine, Tri-Star Promotions-owned, Rocket Chassis is powered by a Clements Racing Engine and sponsored by Mahle Pistons, Tri-Star Engines and Transmissions, Penske Racing Shocks, and VP Fuels.
Completing the top ten were Brandon Overton, Tanner English, Spencer Hughes, Devin Moran, and Earl Pearson Jr.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
47th Annual Wieland Winternationals Presented by Lucas Oil
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
East Bay Raceway Park – Tampa, FL
Allstar Performance Time Trials
Fast Time Group A: Jensen Ford / 15.001 seconds (overall)
Fast Time Group B: Blair Nothdurft / 15.204 seconds
Penske Shocks Heat Race #1 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 19R-Ryan Gustin; 2. 79-Ross Bailes; 3. 46-Earl Pearson Jr; 4. 58-Garrett Alberson; 5. 83-Jensen Ford; 6. 18-Chase Junghans; 7. 1C-Kenny Collins; 8. 81-Jason Riggs; 9. 20B-Todd Brennan; 10. 17SS-Brenden Smith; 11. 12D-Doug Drown
Summit Racing Products Heat Race #2 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 40B-Kyle Bronson; 2. B5-Brandon Sheppard; 3. 20-Jimmy Owens; 4. 19M-Wil Herrington; 5. C4-Freddie Carpenter; 6. 31-Tyler Millwood; 7. 89M-Mike Spatola; 8. S21-Seth Daniels; 9. 47W-Tyler Riggs; 10. 2X-John Henderson; 11. 14W-Dustin Walker
Simpson Race Products Heat Race #3 (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 49-Jonathan Davenport; 2. 99-Devin Moran; 3. 11-Spencer Hughes; 4. 12-Ashton Winger; 5. 39-Tim McCreadie; 6. 18D-Daulton Wilson; 7. 21M-Billy Moyer Jr; 8. 5S-Steve Sheppard Jr; 9. 29-Larry Grube; 10. 3B-Billy Boyd Sr; 11. (DNS) 22*-Payton Freeman
AP1 Insurance Heat Race #4 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 1T-Tyler Erb; 2. 96V-Tanner English; 3. 76B-Blair Nothdurft; 4. 99B-Boom Briggs; 5. 111B-Max Blair; 6. 28-Dennis Erb Jr; 7. 25Z-Mason Zeigler; 8. 21K-Kenneth Howell; 9. D8-Dustin Mitchell; 10. 66JR-Eddie Carrier Jr; 11. (DNS) 1Z-Logan Zarin
Lucas Oil Heat Race #5 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 10-Garrett Smith; 2. 3S-Brian Shirley; 3. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr; 4. 16-Tyler Bruening; 5. 2S-Stormy Scott; 6. 55-Benji Hicks; 7. 7-Ross Robinson; 8. 187-David McCoy; 9. 75-Daniel Adam; 10. 1H-Hudson O’Neal; 11. (DNS) 5T-John Tweed
Lucas Oil Heat Race #6 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 76-Brandon Overton; 2. 89-Logan Roberson; 3. 86-Kyle Beard; 4. 91-Rusty Schlenk; 5. 212-Josh Putnam; 6. 89J-Mark Whitener; 7. 6-Blake Spencer; 8. 81J-Jack Riggs; 9. 25B-Mike Benedum; 10. 4S-Danny Snyder
Fast Shafts B-Main Race #1 Finish (10 Laps, Top 2 Transfer): 1. 19M-Wil Herrington; 2. 58-Garrett Alberson; 3. 81-Jason Riggs; 4. 1C-Kenny Collins; 5. 31-Tyler Millwood; 6. S21-Seth Daniels; 7. 89M-Mike Spatola; 8. 14W-Dustin Walker; 9. 17SS-Brenden Smith; 10. 18-Chase Junghans; 11. 12D-Doug Drown; 12. 20B-Todd Brennan; 13. 83-Jensen Ford; 14. C4-Freddie Carpenter; 15. 47W-Tyler Riggs; 16. (DNS) 2X-John Henderson
UNOH B-Main Race #2 Finish (10 Laps, Top 2 Transfer): 1. 12-Ashton Winger; 2. 39-Tim McCreadie; 3. 99B-Boom Briggs; 4. 111B-Max Blair; 5. 18D-Daulton Wilson; 6. 21M-Billy Moyer Jr; 7. 5S-Steve Sheppard Jr; 8. 29-Larry Grube; 9. 66JR-Eddie Carrier Jr; 10. 21K-Kenneth Howell; 11. 28-Dennis Erb Jr; 12. D8-Dustin Mitchell; 13. 3B-Billy Boyd Sr; 14. 25Z-Mason Zeigler; 15. (DNS) 22*-Payton Freeman; 16. (DNS) 1Z-Logan Zarin
MyRacePass B-Main Race #3 Finish (10 Laps, Top 2 Transfer): 1. 16-Tyler Bruening; 2. 55-Benji Hicks; 3. 89J-Mark Whitener; 4. 2S-Stormy Scott; 5. 91-Rusty Schlenk; 6. 7-Ross Robinson; 7. 187-David McCoy; 8. 75-Daniel Adam; 9. 6-Blake Spencer; 10. 4S-Danny Snyder; 11. 25B-Mike Benedum; 12. 212-Josh Putnam; 13. 81J-Jack Riggs; 14. (DNS) 1H-Hudson O’Neal; 15. (DNS) 5T-John Tweed
Wieland Winternationals Night 3 Feature Finish (40 Laps):
Terminal Maintenance & Construction Pole Sitter: Ryan Gustin
Lap Leaders: Ryan Gustin (Laps 1-40)
Wieland Feature Winner: Ryan Gustin
Arizona Sport Shirts Crown Jewel Cup Feature Winner: n/a
Brandon Ford TV Challenge Feature Winner: n/a
Margin of Victory: 1.330 seconds
Stop-Tech Brakes Cautions: Benji Hicks (Lap 6); Ross Bailes (Lap 15); Logan Roberson (Lap 21); Tyler Bruening, Wil Herrington (Lap 38)
Series Provisionals: n/a
Wieland Fast Time Provisionals: Mike Spatola, Ross Robinson
Series Emergency Provisionals: n/a
Track Provisional: n/a
Big River Steel Podium Top 3: Ryan Gustin, Tyler Erb, Kyle Bronson
Penske Shocks Top 5: Ryan Gustin, Tyler Erb, Kyle Bronson, Brandon Sheppard, Jonathan Davenport
Todd Steel Buildings Hard Charger of the Race: Tim McCreadie (Advanced 12 Positions)
Wilwood Brakes Lucky 7th Place Finisher: Tanner English
Deatherage Opticians Lucky 13th Place Finisher: Garrett Smith
Earnhardt Technologies Most Laps Led: Ryan Gustin (40 Laps)
Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Tyler Erb
Midwest Sheet Metal Spoiler Challenge Point Leader: Ricky Thornton, Jr.
O’Reilly Auto Parts Rookie of the Race: n/a
Etchberger Trucking Fastest Lap of the Race: Ryan Gustin (Lap 26 – 16.256 seconds)
MD3 Tough Break of the Race: Jensen Ford
Outerwears Crew Chief of the Race: Taylon Center (Ryan Gustin)
ARP Engine Builder of the Race: Clements Racing Engines
Miller Welders Chassis Builder of the Race: Rocket Chassis
Dirt Draft Fastest in Hot Laps: Brandon Overton (14.453 seconds)
Time of Race: 23 minutes 20 seconds