Tyler Erb Wins Opening Night Of 47th Winternationals At East Bay Raceway Park
Story By: LUCAS OIL LATE MODEL DIRT SERIES – TAMPA, FL – Tyler Erb scored his first win of the 2023 season on Monday night, capturing the first night of the 47th Annual Wieland Winternationals – presented by Lucas Oil.
Erb took the lead on lap two from Kyle Bronson and led the rest of the way to score his fifth career win at the “Clay by the Bay.”
Hudson O’Neal finished in second followed by 20th starting Tyler Millwood who claimed his first career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series podium. Brandon Overton, driving the John Henderson-owned No. 2x, was fourth, with last year’s opening night winner Dennis Erb Jr. rounding out the top five finishers.
Bronson led the first two laps from his pole starting spot before Erb passed him on the inside coming off turn number two. O’Neal then moved into second taking the spot away from Bronson. There were back-to-back cautions on lap 11 and 12 which kept the field bunched up behind Erb.
Early in the race the outside line proved beneficial for Brian Shirley who had moved from 12th to sixth and Ashton Winger who after starting sixth climbed to second on lap 12.
After the lap 12 caution, Winger had a great restart and went to the outside of Erb entering turn four before losing his momentum and falling several spots in the running order. There were cautions with 18 and 24 laps scored while Erb held the lead. On each of those subsequent restarts Erb kept his car glued to the bottom and went on to pick up the win.
In Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the 20th time in his career, Erb let out a sigh of relief to get to victory lane for the first time since the Gateway Dirt Nationals back in December. “It’s awesome to get this win. We ended last year on such a crazy note at the Dome. We unloaded at Vado with really high expectations and just struggled. I just can’t say enough about everybody that helps me. We complained to Eric [Brock] that we needed a new car, and Mark [Richards] built us a car in two days. Brunswick wasn’t good us; Bubba wasn’t good until the second night. We got things turned around I feel at All-Tech with our finish there.”
“I love East Bay,” Erb added. “I didn’t think it would be too good. The top down there was the only place I thought maybe I should have been in. I could tell, someone was close. I left Winger about as much room as you could. It was literally the wall, Winger, and me. It’s just East Bay you’ve got to know where to start.”
O’Neal said he felt good on the restarts. “I was getting caught in his [Erb’s] slime sometimes. I went to the top there for a while when it finally cleaned up there at the end. On that last restart I got clear of Overton and just got back to the bottom. I knew it was safe down there.”
Millwood earned the Todd Steel Buildings Hard Charger of the Race after coming to third. “I was running behind those guys, and I just said let’s go up there and see what happens and it worked. It was an awesome night.”
The winner’s Eric and Kelly Brock, Best Performance Motorsports-owned, Rocket Chassis is powered by Clements Racing Engines and sponsored by Bulk Material Lift, Lucas Oil Products, Bazell Race Fuels, Anthony’s Pizza, First Class Septic, Roberts Bee Company, Sunoco Race Fuels and Penske Shocks.
Completing the top ten ere Mark Whitener, Spencer Hughes, Ryan Gustin, Tanner English, and Eddie Carrier Jr.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
47th Annual Wieland Winternationals – Presented by Lucas Oil
Monday, February 6, 2023
East Bay Raceway Park – Tampa, FL
Allstar Performance Time Trials
Fast Time Group A: Tanner English / 14.871 seconds (overall)
Fast Time Group B: Tyler Erb / 14.909 seconds
Penske Shocks Heat Race #1 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 40B-Kyle Bronson; 2. 7-Ross Robinson; 3. 89J-Mark Whitener; 4. 96V-Tanner English; 5. 16-Tyler Bruening; 6. 17SS-Brenden Smith; 7. S21-Seth Daniels; 8. 99-Devin Moran; 9. 22B-Perry Brown; 10. 47W-Tyler Riggs
Summit Racing Products Heat Race #2 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 1H-Hudson O’Neal; 2. 83-Jensen Ford; 3. 2-GR Smith; 4. 58-Garrett Alberson; 5. 20B-Todd Brennan; 6. 187-David McCoy; 7. 91-Rusty Schlenk; 8. 14W-Dustin Walker; 9. 12D-Doug Drown; 10. 25B-Mike Benedum
Simpson Race Products Heat Race #3 (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 2X-Brandon Overton; 2. 11-Spencer Hughes; 3. 25Z-Mason Zeigler; 4. 31-Tyler Millwood; 5. 86-Kyle Beard; 6. 21K-Kenneth Howell; 7. 19M-Wil Herrington; 8. 76B-Blair Nothdurft; 9. 18-Chase Junghans
AP1 Insurance Heat Race #4 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 1T-Tyler Erb; 2. 10-Garrett Smith; 3. 66JR-Eddie Carrier Jr; 4. 89-Logan Roberson; 5. 18D-Daulton Wilson; 6. B5-Brandon Sheppard; 7. 29-Larry Grube; 8. 89M-Mike Spatola; 9. 75-Daniel Adam; 10. (DNS) 2V-Allen Murray
Lucas Oil Heat Race #5 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 28-Dennis Erb Jr; 2. 79-Ross Bailes; 3. 1C-Kenny Collins; 4. 6-Blake Spencer; 5. 55-Benji Hicks; 6. 81-Jason Riggs; 7. 21M-Billy Moyer Jr; 8. KB-Kerry King; 9. 81J-Jack Riggs; 10. 5T-John Tweed
Lucas Oil Heat Race #6 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 12-Ashton Winger; 2. 3S-Brian Shirley; 3. 46-Earl Pearson Jr; 4. 212-Josh Putnam; 5. 19R-Ryan Gustin; 6. D8-Dustin Mitchell; 7. C4-Freddie Carpenter; 8. 1Z-Logan Zarin; 9. 4S-Danny Snyder
Fast Shafts B-Main Race #1 Finish (10 Laps, Top 2 Transfer): 1. 96V-Tanner English; 2. 16-Tyler Bruening; 3. 58-Garrett Alberson; 4. 17SS-Brenden Smith; 5. 20B-Todd Brennan; 6. 91-Rusty Schlenk; 7. S21-Seth Daniels; 8. 99-Devin Moran; 9. 12D-Doug Drown; 10. 14W-Dustin Walker; 11. 25B-Mike Benedum; 12. 22B-Perry Brown; 13. 187-David McCoy; 14. (DNS) 47W-Tyler Riggs
UNOH B-Main Race #2 Finish (10 Laps, Top 2 Transfer): 1. 31-Tyler Millwood; 2. 89-Logan Roberson; 3. 18D-Daulton Wilson; 4. B5-Brandon Sheppard; 5. 86-Kyle Beard; 6. 89M-Mike Spatola; 7. 75-Daniel Adam; 8. 21K-Kenneth Howell; 9. 29-Larry Grube; 10. (DNS) 19M-Wil Herrington; 11. (DNS) 76B-Blair Nothdurft; 12. (DNS) 18-Chase Junghans; 13. (DNS) 2V-Allen Murray
MyRacePass B-Main Race #3 Finish (10 Laps, Top 2 Transfer): 1. 19R-Ryan Gustin; 2. 55-Benji Hicks; 3. 81-Jason Riggs; 4. D8-Dustin Mitchell; 5. 212-Josh Putnam; 6. C4-Freddie Carpenter; 7. 21M-Billy Moyer Jr; 8. 4S-Danny Snyder; 9. 1Z-Logan Zarin; 10. 5T-John Tweed; 11. KB-Kerry King; 12. 6-Blake Spencer; 13. (DNS) 81J-Jack Riggs
Wieland Winternationals Feature Finish (30 Laps):
Terminal Maintenance & Construction Pole Sitter: Kyle Bronson
Lap Leaders: Kyle Bronson (Laps 1-2); Tyler Erb (Laps 3-30)
Wieland Feature Winner: Tyler Erb
Arizona Sport Shirts Crown Jewel Cup Feature Winner: n/a
Brandon Ford TV Challenge Feature Winner: n/a
Margin of Victory: 2.604 seconds
Stop-Tech Brakes Cautions: Ross Robinson (Lap 3); Ross Bailes, Logan Roberson (Lap 11); Daulton Wilson, Ross Bailes, Jensen Ford (Lap 12); GR Smith (Lap 18); Ashton Winger (Lap 24)
Series Provisionals: n/a
Wieland Fast Time Provisional: David McCoy, Daulton Wilson
Series Emergency Provisionals: n/a
Track Provisional: n/a
Big River Steel Podium Top 3: Tyler Erb, Hudson O’Neal, Tyler Millwood
Penske Shocks Top 5: Tyler Erb, Hudson O’Neal, Tyler Millwood, Brandon Overton, Dennis Erb, Jr.
Todd Steel Buildings Hard Charger of the Race: Tyler Millwood (Advanced 17 Positions)
Wilwood Brakes Lucky 7th Place Finisher: Spencer Hughes
Deatherage Opticians Lucky 13th Place Finisher: Kyle Bronson
Earnhardt Technologies Most Laps Led: Tyler Erb (28 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: Tyler Erb (Lap 16 – 16.421 seconds)
MD3 Tough Break of the Race: Ashton Winger
Outerwears Crew Chief of the Race: Randall Edwards (Tyler Erb)
ARP Engine Builder of the Race: Clements Race Engines
Miller Welders Chassis Builder of the Race: Rocket Chassis
Dirt Draft Fastest in Hot Laps: Garrett Smith (14.920 seconds)
Time of Race: 23 minutes 24 seconds