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East Bay Raceway Park

Erb outruns Moyer for East Bay win on live TV

February 13, 2014, 5:43 pm
By Todd Turner and Andy Savary
Dennis Erb Jr. (28) chases Billy Moyer (21). (thesportswire.net)
Dennis Erb Jr. (28) chases Billy Moyer (21). (thesportswire.net)

GIBSONTON, Fla. (Feb. 13) — Winning the first series race on live television, Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., overtook race-long leader Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., on the 38th of 45 laps Thursday at East Bay Raceway Park for a victory in the third round of the 38th annual Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Winternationals. | Complete Speedweeks coverage

The low-running Erb slid in front of the polesitting Moyer exiting turn two with eight laps remaining and kept Tuesday’s winner and the winningest Winternationals driver in check to grab a victory live on MavTV. Erb pocketed $7,000 for his fifth career East Bay victory and gave C.J. Rayburn Race Cars its first East Bay victory since Feb. 2, 2010.

“It’s been a long time. I’m just glad to be back in (victory lane) and glad to do it for him,” said Erb, who switched back to Rayburns after three seasons in a Bloomquist Race Car. “We were just fortunate to get up here tonight. We’ve had a good car the last couple of nights and I think it showed here tonight that we’ve got a good one.”

While Moyer finished a few lengths behind Erb, three-time and reigning series champion Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., was third followed by 13th-starting Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn. Provisional starter Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., rallied from the tail to round out the top five in a caution-filled feature.

Perhaps Erb’s biggest scare came when he got sideways in turn one on the first attempted start to trigger a scramble that left Gregg Satterlee with a flat tire. But after a flurry of early yellow flags, it appeared the front-row starters Moyer and Erb would settle the race among themselves with Moyer running a higher line and Erb digging down low.

“We were just pretty consistent with him and he was driving up around that (turn-two) hole there, and we were on that bottom, and I just kept inching a little bit, getting closer and closer and we felt pretty good. We were able to make the pass and go on for the win,” Erb said. “He had a good car, too. We were just battling it out. We were able to pull up alongside of him, but we just weren’t able to get out in front of him and carry our momentum up through there. We just kept plugging away there, and there at the end we were able to get it done.”

Moyer decided to stick with the higher groove was better than taking a chance at facing rougher racetrack lower on the banking.

“It was getting slicker and slicker (in the outside groove) on entry, and I felt like I was losing a little time there, but I could bend it around and negotiate that part, but on (corner) exit, the more the race went on, the track was deteriorating so bad off (turn) two there, it was like running on sand,” Moyer said.

He kept Erb’s challenges at bay through the race’s midpoint, but with eight laps remaining Erb dove underneath Moyer entering turn one and came out ahead in turn two.

“I really didn’t know he was that close to me, to tell you the truth,” Moyer said. “I could run that bottom like he could, but coming off of (turn) two, that hole was so bad, I didn’t think my car would finish if I ran 50 laps through that thing. I elected to run that high side like that around there, and you know, it just bit me. He did a good job and that’s all I can say.”

The race was slowed by four early cautions, the most serious on the third lap when Brian Shirley got out of shape battling Jared Landers between turns three and four, collecting Billy Moyer Jr. while Devin Moran, Chad Hollenbeck and Satterlee also caught a piece of the mess.

After Erb’s miscue on the first attempted start, a series of flat tires, apparently caused by one or more pieces of metal in the racetrack, slowed the race after one complete lap. Sheppard (right front), John Blankenship (right rear), Eric Jacobsen (right rear), Earl Pearson Jr. (right front) and Nick Davis (right rear) all had flats before or during the caution period.

A lap-two yellow flew when Jason Hughes spun into the outside fence between turns three and four.

Three later yellows appeared when Earl Pearson Jr. had a flat right-front tire on the 14th lap, ninth-starting Jared Landers blew a right-rear tire on lap 30 and Mark Whitener slowed on lap 34.

Winternationals action continues Friday with a $10,000-to-win program. The drivers’ meeting is at 6:15 p.m. with hot laps at 7.

Notes: Erb’s Rayburn Race Car is powered by a Kuntz & Co. engine and sponsored by J.R. McBride Leasing, Ramirez Motorsports, Petersen Aluminum and Allstar Performance … The victory was the richest for Rayburn Race Cars since Erb pocketed $10,000 in 2010 at Clarksville (Tenn.) Speedway. … Erb’s previous Lucas Oil Series victory came June 20, 2013, at Swainsboro (Ga.) Raceway. … Billy Moyer fell short of his 23rd Winternationals victory two days after No. 22. … Third-place Jimmy Owens posted his first finish of Speedweeks better than ninth. “We didn’t have nothing for Dennis or Billy, but third, from what the rest of our Speedweeks has been like is like win almost,” Owens said. … Fourteen of 26 starters completed 45 laps and 15 were running at the finish. ... The feature ended about 11:20 p.m.

Winternationals: (1) Dennis Erb Jr., (2) Billy Moyer, (3) Jimmy Owens, (4) Scott Bloomquist, (5) Brandon Sheppard, (6) Davey Johnson, (7) Steve Francis, (8) Eddie Carrier Jr., (9) Devin Moran, (10) Bobby Pierce, (11) John Blankenship, (12) Jared Landers, (13) Don O’Neal, (14) Kenny Pettyjohn, (15) Nick Davis, (16) Mark Whitener, (17) Jason Riggs, (18) Ray Cook, (19) Earl Pearson Jr., (20) Brian Shirley, (21) Billy Moyer Jr., (22) Chad Hollenbeck, (23) Gregg Satterlee, (24) Jason Hughes, (25) Eric Jacobsen, (26) Vic Coffey. Fast qualifier (among 48 cars): Erb, 14.094 seconds. Heat race winners: Moyer Sr., Blankenship, Erb, Johnson. Consolation winners: O’Neal, Whitener. Provisional starters: Pearson, Moyer Jr., Coffey, Sheppard.

Second consolation

Polesitter Mark Whitener led all 12 laps to transfer to the main event along with Chad Hollenbeck and Ray Cook. Dennis Franklin finished fourth in the caution-free prelim.

Finish: Mark Whitener, Chad Hollenbeck, Ray Cook, Dennis Franklin, Mike Benedum, Leon Henderson, Kevin Weaver, Dustin Mitchell, Jay Burnson, Chad Stapleton, Earl Pearson Jr., Joe Denby. Scratched: Vic Coffey, Booper Bare, Andy Bond, Jim O'Hara.

First consolation

Polesitter Don O'Neal led all the way to win the first consolation. Eric Jacobsen chased him home in second while Kenny Pettyjohn got the third and final transfer spot after moving past Billy Moyer Jr. just past the halfway point. The first start was scrapped when Chad White, Adam Bowman and Bob Geiger scraped between turns one and two.

Finish: Don O'Neal, Eric Jacobsen, Kenny Pettyjohn, Billy Moyer Jr., Justin Rattliff, Brandon Sheppard, Dan Stone, Jason Papich, Ricky Weiss, Jay Morris, Chad White, Bob Geiger, Adam Bowman. Scratched: Randy Weaver, Tim McCreadie, John Mollick.

Mid-event notes

The track is under intermission until MavTV coverage begins at 9:30 p.m.; the first consolation race is expected to take the green flag at 9:41 p.m. ... Polesitter Billy Moyer is looking for his 23rd East Bay victory. “The car was good. We’ve just gotta stay on top of our setup here on it, and the right tires of course,” Moyer said. “That’s a big guessing game here. The weather’s different with all the rain and cold … the track’s going to be different again tonight than it was the other night, so hopefully we can make the right decisions.” … Moyer knows that dodging the rough spots will be key. “If your car’s right, you can miss 'em I guess, but it’s just a hard place to get around this track,” he said. “There isn’t a handful a cars that’s probably right here. You just’ve gotta wheel it, I guess." ... Earl Pearson Jr., who banged up his No. 44 in a fourth-heat accident, will go to a backup car with a provisional starting spot for the 45-lap feature. … Vic Coffey, also caught up in the accident with Pearson, is trying to make repairs but the team doesn’t expect to be able to make the consolation race lineup. … Andy Bond also suspects he’s done for the night. … Ray Cook’s team is making driveline repairs before the consolation race. … Eddie Carrier Jr. swapped radiators in his No. 28 after showing smoke at the conclusion of his heat race. He starts seventh in the feature. … Scheduled to start seventh in his heat race, Randy Weaver decided to scratch for the night and save his equipment for the rest of the week. ... Tim McCreadie and John Mollick also scratched for the night.

Consolation race lineups

First consolation
Row 1: Don O’Neal, Billy Moyer Jr.
Row 2: Eric Jacobsen, Brandon Sheppard
Row 3: Justin Rattliff, Jason Papich
Row 4: Kenny Pettyjohn, Tim McCreadie
Row 5: Ricky Weiss, John Mollick
Row 6: Dan Stone, Chad White
Row 7: Jay Morris, Bob Geiger
Row 8: Adam Bowman, Randy Weaver
Second consolation
Row 1: Mark Whitener, Chad Hollenbeck
Row 2: Dennis Franklin, Jay Brunson
Row 3: Leon Henderson, Ray Cook
Row 4: Mike Benedum, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 5: Chad Stapleton, Vic Coffey
Row 6: Joe Denby, Booper Bare
Row 7: Kevin Weaver, Andy Bond
Row 8: Dustin Mitchell, James O'Hara

Fourth heat

In a race where four cars were eliminated in a first-lap melee, polesitter Davey Johnson raced to his first heat victory of the week. Steve Francis and Ray Cook twice swapped the second spot before Cook broke on the backstretch after a rough ride in turn two. Francis went on to finish second while Jared Landers, scheduled to started sixth but benefitting from the carnage, was third. Chad Hollenbeck held the fourth spot late, but after nearly losing control in turn three, Nick Davis turned up the heat and made a last-lap pass on the high side. A red flag appeared on the first lap after outside front-row starter Earl Pearson Jr. caught the turn-three cushion, his car jerking sideways to collecting Vic Coffey. Booper Bare and Andy Bond piled into the mess at high speed while tail-starting Jay Brunson caught a piece of the mess, too. The first two starts were called back when Johnson and then Pearson were tabbed for jumping starts, and Nick Davis spun in turn one for a second-lap caution. Cook's demise brought out a lap-seven yellow.

Finish: Davey Johnson, Steve Francis, Jared Landers, Nick Davis, Chad Hollenbeck, Jay Brunson, Earl Pearson Jr., Vic Coffey, Booper Bare, Andy Bond. Scratched: Jim O'Hara.

Third heat

Fast qualifier Dennis Erb Jr. went under Gregg Satterlee on the third lap and cruised the rest of the way in the third heat. Satterlee, who started outside the front row and got the initial jump, held on for second while fourth-starting Jason Hughes finished a solid third just ahead of Jason Riggs. The car of third-starting Riggs bounded into the air in turn two on the first lap, but he gathered it up to fight off challenges from eighth-starting Mark Whitener, who ended up fifth. The race's lone caution appeared on the fourth lap for Kevin Weaver, who slowed atop turns three and four with a flat left-rear tire.

Finish: Dennis Erb Jr., Gregg Satterlee, Jason Hughes, Jason Riggs, Mark Whitener, Dennis Franklin, Leon Henderson, Mike Benedum, Chad Stapleton, Joe Denby, Kevin Weaver.

Second heat

Roaring into the lead from outside the front row, John Blankenship cruised to victory in the second 10-lap prelim. Blankenship and fourth-starting Eddie Carrier Jr. both blew past polesitter Billy Moyer Jr. on the first lap, and sixth-starting Bobby Pierce dropped Moyer to fourth a few laps later. Carrier finished nearly a half-straightaway back in second while Pierce and fifth-starting Devin Moran got the other two transfer spots. Moyer faded throughout and ended up fifth. Carrier's car was showing smoke on the cool-down lap; he apparently had radiator problems but no engine woes.

Finish: John Blankenship, Eddie Carrier Jr., Bobby Pierce, Devin Moran, Billy Moyer Jr., Brandon Sheppard, Jason Papich, Tim McCreadie, John Mollick, Chad White. Bob Geigler. Scratched: Randy Weaver.

First heat

Polesitter Billy Moyer led all the way in the first heat, earning the pole as he guns for his second straight East Bay feature victory. Moyer's biggest scared came when he made a little contact lapping Adam Bowman in turn four. Outside front-row starter Jimmy Owens couldn't keep up while facing pressure from Scott Bloomquist most of the way. Owens got second while Bloomquist dropped to fourth late behind Brian Shirley after twice getting out of shape. Eighth-starting Don O'Neal made a late charge to fifth while Eric Jacobsen was sixth. Justin Rattliff held fifth most of the way but slipped back late. The first start was called back with Moyer charged with a jump.

Finish: Billy Moyer, Jimmy Owens, Brian Shirley, Scott Bloomquist, Don O'Neal, Eric Jacobsen, Justin Rattliff, Kenny Pettyjhn, Ricky Weiss, Dan Stone, Jay Morris, Adam Bowman.

Time trials

Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., was fastest among 48 qualifiers Thursday night at East Bay Raceway Park in the third round of the 38th annual Winternationals, the first-ever Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series on live television.

Erb turned a lap of 14.094 seconds at the third-mile oval that’s set to go live on MavTV at 9:30 p.m. EST for a two-hour telecast.

Along with Erb, heat race polesitters: the father-and-son duo of Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., and Billy Moyer Jr. along with Davey Johnson of Latrobe, Pa.

Four 10-lap heat races will send four drivers apiece to the main event with three cars apiece from two 12-lap consolation races. The main event will be 45 laps.

Pre-race notes

Eddie Carrier Jr. of Salt Rock, W.Va., won Monday’s opener while Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., the winningest driver in Winternationals history, won Tuesday. Wednesday’s racing was rained out and rescheduled for Saturday. … Awaiting TV coverage, consolation races are scheduled to start at 9:41 p.m. ... The feature was originally slated to be 35 laps, but lengthened to 45 laps because of the television. … Because of the TV coverage, there’s not a DirtonDirt.com Strawberry Dash in tonight’s program. … Leon Henderson of Laurel, Miss., a major sponsor for Billy Moyer, is the only newcomer for tonight’s action. … Chad White of Coloma, Mich., is in action for the first time after having engine problems the first two nights. … Dustin Mitchell was late qualifying and wasn’t up to speed in his lone lap on the clock. … Drivers who entered Tuesday’s action who aren’t entered Wednesday are Don Young of Hopkinsville, Ky., and Allen Murray of San Antonio, Texas. … Long-time motorsports announcer Dave Despain is hosting MavTV’s coverage, which is produced by Lucas Oil Production Studios. Ken Stout is doing the play-by-play, Rob Klepper is doing color commentary and Dave Argabright will be the roving reporter … Friday and Saturday evening’s action will be tape-delayed for late telecast on MavTV.

Heat race lineups

First heat
Row 1: Billy Moyer, Jimmy Owens
Row 2: Scott Bloomquist, Brian Shirley
Row 3: Justin Rattliff, Eric Jacobsen
Row 4: Dan Stone, Don O'Neal
Row 5: Ricky Weiss, Kenny Pettyjohn
Row 6: Jay Morris, Adam Bowman
Second heat
Row 1: Billy Moyer Jr., John Blankenship
Row 2: Brandon Sheppard, Eddie Carrier Jr.
Row 3: Devin Moran, Bobby Pierce
Row 4: Randy Weaver, John Mollick
Row 5: Jason Papich, Tim McCreadie
Row 6: Chad White, Bob Geiger
Third heat
Row 1: Dennis Erb Jr., Gregg Satterlee
Row 2: Jason Riggs, Jason Hughes
Row 3: Leon Henderson, Kevin Weaver
Row 4: Dennis Franklin, Mark Whitener
Row 5: Chad Stapleton, Mike Benedum
Row 6: Joe Denby, Dustin Mitchell
Fourth heat
Row 1: Davey Johnson, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 2: Steve Francis, Vic Coffey
Row 3: Ray Cook, Jared Landers
Row 4: Chad Hollenbeck, Booper Bare
Row 5: Nick Davis, Andy Bond
Row 6: Jay Brunson, Jim O’Hara

Time trials (unofficial)

First group
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 14.253
Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark., 14.275
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 14.299
John Blankenship (23), Williamson, W.Va., 14.319
Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 14.347
Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill., 14.384
Brian Shirley (81), Chatham, Ill., 14.388
Eddie Carrier Jr. (28), Salt Rock, W.Va., 14.438
Justin Rattliff (16), Campbellsville, Ky., 14.440
Devin Moran (99m), Dresden, Ohio, 14.455
Eric Jacobsen (5), Santa Cruz, Calif., 14.496
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 14.498
Dan Stone (21D), Thompson, Pa., 14.503
Randy Weaver (116), Crossville, Tenn., 14.506
Don O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., 14.511
John Mollick (J4), Toronto, Ohio, 14.599
Ricky Weiss (7), Winnipeg, Manitoba, 14.610
Jason Papich (91P), Nipomo, Calif., 14.798
Kenny Pettyjohn (38), Millsboro, Del., 14.832
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 14.875
Jay Morris (77), Pittwood, Ill., 14.945
Chad White (20), Coloma, Mich., 15.107
Adam Bowman (77), Seymour, Ind., 15.774
Bob Geiger (38), Laurel, Del., 16.008
Second group
Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 14.094
Davey Johnson (1j), Latrobe, Pa., 14.155
Gregg Satterlee (22), Indiana, Pa., 14.166
Earl Pearson Jr. (44), Jacksonville, Fla., 14.216
Jason Riggs (81jr), Harrisburg, Ill., 14.266
Steve Francis (15), Ashland, Ky., 14.269
Jason Hughes (12), Westville, Okla., 14.271
Vic Coffey (32c), Caledonia, N.Y., 14.282
Leon Henderson (10), Laurel, Miss., 14.368
Ray Cook (53), Brasstown, N.C., 14.369
Kevin Weaver (B12), Gibson City, Ill., 14.369
Jared Landers (777), Batesville, Ark., 14.380
Dennis Franklin (2), Gaffney, S.C., 14.457
Chad Hollenbeck (4DS), Kingsley, Pa., 14.496
Mark Whitener (58), Middleburg, Fla., 14.521
Booper Bare (89), Rockbridge Baths, Va., 14.678
Chad Stapleton (32), Edinburgh, Ind., 14.697
Nick Davis (92), Gumboro, Del., 14.764
Mike Benedum (25), Bristol, W.Va., 14.772
Andy Bond (1cj), Coolville, Ohio, 14.943
Joe Denby (27), Tullahoma, Tenn., 15.419
Jay Brunson (23B), Dubberly, La., 15.595
Dustin Mitchell (D8), Pine Level, N.C., 16.397
Jim O’Hara (44), Moscow, Pa., no time

Feature lineup

Row 1: Moyer, Erb
Row 2: Blankenship, Johnson
Row 3: Owens, Satterlee
Row 4: Carrier, Francis
Row 5: Shirley, Hughes
Row 6: Pierce, Landers
Row 7: Bloomquist, Riggs
Row 8: Moran, Davis
Row 9: O'Neal, Whitener
Row 10: Jacobsen, Hollenbeck
Row 11: Pettyjohn, Cook
Row 12: Pearson, Moyer Jr.
Row 13: Coffey, Sheppard

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