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Daily Dirt 06/19/2024 18:53:04

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February 7
East Bay Raceway Park,
Gibsonton, FL
Sanction: Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (Wrisco Winternationals) - $5,000
Information provided by: Kevin Kovac (last updated February 8, 1:35 pm)
Dennis Erb survives poor start, tops East Bay foes
Wrisco Winternationals
  1. Dennis Erb Jr.
  2. Hudson O'Neal
  3. Tim McCreadie
  4. Shane Clanton
  5. Stormy Scott
  6. Ricky Thornton Jr.
  7. Devin Moran
  8. Tyler Erb
  9. Brandon Sheppard
  10. Jimmy Owens
  11. Spencer Hughes
  12. Tyler Bruening
  13. Earl Pearson Jr.
  14. Daulton Wilson
  15. Ashton Winger
  16. Chase Junghans
  17. Blake Spencer
  18. Kyle Hardy
  19. Max Blair
  20. Ross Robinson
  21. Matt Cosner
  22. Tanner English
  23. Ryan King
  24. Drake Troutman
  25. Brandon Overton
  26. Colton Flinner
  27. Garrett Alberson
  28. Kyle Bronson
presented by
Heath Lawson/heathlawsonphotos.com
Dennis Erb Jr. (28) hangs on as second-running Brandon Overton smashes the turn-two wall.
What won the race: Recovering after slipping back to fifth early, low-running Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., wedged under race-long leader Brandon Overton on the 19th lap and captured Monday's Wrisco Winternationals opener at East Bay Raceway Park. Erb, who started outside the front row, earned $5,000 in taking the checkers 1.033 seconds ahead of Hudson O'Neal.
Key notes: Erb has seven career victories at East Bay, most recently in 2015. ... Polesitter Brandon Overton led 18 laps but couldn't keep his car in the low groove after losing the point to winner Dennis Erb Jr. and fell back to fifth. Overton rallied back in the high groove and got back to second but smashed the turn-two wall on lap 26, ending his race and drawing the fourth and final caution ... Three other cautions slowed the action, including for third-running Ashton Winger's spin on lap 24. ... Five more Winternationals events are scheduled for Tuesday-Saturday.
On the move: Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., started 19th and finished fourth.
Winner's sponsors: Erb’s Rocket Chassis is powered by a Vic Hill Racing Engine and sponsored J.R. McBride Leasing, McBride Mack, VolMac Truck Sales and Service, Deegan’s Tire & Auto Repair, Ideal Ready Mix, M&M Painting and Construction, Keyser Mfg., Integra Racing Shocks, Collins Signs, Hoosier Racing Tire, VP Racing Fuels, Performance Rod & Custom and Allstar Performance.
Points chase: After East Bay Monday: 1. Devin Moran (1,220); 2. Brandon Sheppard (1,145): 3. Tim McCreadie (1,125); 4. Ricky Thornton Jr. (1,050); 5. Tyler Erb (1,020); 6. Hudson O’Neal (1,010); 7. Dennis Erb Jr. (1,000); 8. Jimmy Owens (965); 9. Shane Clanton (955); 10. Earl Pearson Jr. (935).
Current weather: Overcast, 54°F
Car count: 70
Fast qualifier: Brandon Overton
Time: 14.990 seconds
Polesitter: Brandon Overton
Dash winner: Matt Cosner
Heat race winners: Brandon Overton, Hudson O'Neal, Devin Moran, Dennis Erb Jr., Tyler Bruening, Stormy Scott
Consolation race winners: Shane Clanton, Colton Flinner
Provisional starters: Tyler Erb, Earl Pearson Jr.
Next series race: February 9, East Bay Raceway Park (Gibsonton, FL) $7,000
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.
From staff reports

GIBSONTON, Fla. — There are drivers who stick with the low groove. And then there's Dennis Erb Jr.

So when the 49-year-old Carpentersville, Ill., driver was scheduled to start outside the front row Monday at East Bay Raceway Park — a night when the outside groove was tenuous at best — it didn't bode well.

Indeed a poor start dropped Erb to fourth after one lap, then back to the fifth position a lap later as pole-starting Brandon Overton streaked away from the field.

But settling into the low groove, Erb valiantly rallied back, grabbed second on the 11th lap and then wedged under Overton in turn one on the 19th lap and led the rest of the Wrisco Winternationals opener on a night when 70 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series competitors packed the pits.

"It feels really good," Erb said following his seventh Winternationals victory and first since 2015. "We've struggled here in the past for a while, we've always had some good cars running up front. ... (We) fell back a little bit, but the car was working real good and we battled our way up there for the lead."

Erb survived three cautions over the final eight laps and took the checkers 1.033 seconds ahead of Hudson O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind., while reigning Lucas Oil champ Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., rallied from 11th to finish third. Hard charger Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., started 19th and finished fourth with Stormy Scott of Las Cruces, N.M., rounding out the top five.

Overton, the Evans, Ga., driver who led the first 18 laps, fell back to fifth after losing the lead to Erb, but raced back to second on lap 25 in a last-ditch attempt to make the high groove pay off. He pulled within two-tenths of a second of Erb, but his Wells Motorsports entry slid into the turn-two wall, ending his race.

Erb kept his cool despite his poor start.

"I was a little worried there at first, getting stuck out there (in the outside groove) and falling back. The racetrack was a little dirty up there and I really couldn't get going," he said. "But once I got back in line and I started rolling back up there and watching them guys push out (in the corners) a little bit ... my car was really good around that bottom. I was able to get back up to second and, the same thing with (Overton) there, I watched him going into (turn) one there and he kind of shoved up a little bit, and I was able to get underneath him."

Erb impatiently endured the late cautions in waiting for the checkered flag.

"I was just trying to hit my marks there at the end," he said. "You know, I knew that we had a strong field behind us and the longer the race was, my car was better. I just really didn't want to see them cautions at the end, but we were at least able to hang on there."

He dedicated the victory to late Hall of Famer and legendary chassis builder C.J. Rayburn, whose cars he drove for many years, including his 2009 and '14 victories at East Bay.

"Not having him down here this year, it's hurts a lot," Erb said, "but this one here is for him."

O'Neal, who was just the 22nd quickest qualifier in his 35-car time trial group, was glad to salvage the night, even if he couldn't duplicate his opening-round Winternationals victory from 2021. He started inside the second row and was never worse than fourth, but he couldn't find a way to the front.

"We'll take a second from how our night started," said O'Neal, congratulating Erb and his crew chief Heather Lyne for the victory. "You know, we had a good race car and we were able to get up there to Dennis a couple of times and the caution would come out or lapped traffic or whatever. So we'll give her another shot tomorrow."

McCreadie scored his second straight podium finish in working his way forward, including a jump from 11th to eighth on the first lap.

"Restarts were tough. My car just had no instant grip, so the last little bit I just tried to do the best not to mess up," he said. "I messed up like three laps in a row and Devin (Moran) got by me and actually showed me what I should've been doing the whole time as far as getting through (turns) one and two."

Besides the lap-26 caution for Overton, the 30-lapper was slowed by three other yellow flags, the first one at halfway when 17th-running Tyler Bruening slowed with nosepiece damage. Two more appeared on laps 23 and 24 when Tanner English ended up facing the wrong direction in turn two and again in turn two when third-running Ashton Winger spun in the high groove.

Action returns Tuesday evening for the second round of Wrisco Winternationals and another $5,000-to-win program. Hot laps are scheduled for 5 p.m. with racing at 7 p.m.

Notes: Erb has nine career Lucas Oil Series victories, seven of them at East Bay. ... All but one his eight career Georgia-Florida Speedweeks victories have come at East Bay; he won at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla., in 2012 on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series. ... Series points leader Devin Moran of Dresden, Ohio, was seventh for his worst finish of the season (the previous worst was fourth). He ran second early but faded in the second half of the race. ... Fourth-finishing Shane Clanton was the highest finishing driver who hasn't won at East Bay. ... Twenty-three drivers completed 30 laps.

Correction: Fixes Dennis Erb Jr.'s Speedweeks victory total to eight sted seven.

Feature lineup

Row 1: Brandon Overton, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 2: Hudson O’Neal, Tyler Bruening
Row 3: Devin Moran, Stormy Scott
Row 4: Ashton Winger, Jimmy Owens
Row 5: Tanner English, Daulton Wilson
Row 6: Tim McCreadie, Ricky Thornton Jr.
Row 7: Drake Troutman, Chase Junghans
Row 8: Max Blair, Blake Spencer
Row 9: Brandon Sheppard, Spencer Hughes
Row 10: Shane Clanton, Colton Flinner
Row 11: Ryan King, Kyle Bronson
Row 12: Tyler Erb, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 13: Kyle Hardy, Matt Cosner
Row 14: Ross Robinson, Garrett Alberson

Consolation results

(10 laps; top two transfer)

First consolation: Shane Clanton, Ryan King, Garrett Alberson, Brian Shirley, Freddie Carpenter, Jadon Frame, Cody Overton, Matt Cosner, Jason Hiett, Clinton Hersh, Bob Gardner, Joe Derby, Blair Nothdurft, Colten Burdette, Jason Miles, Kyle Hardy, Kerry King, Chad McClellan, Johnny Scott, Michael Lake, Jake O’Neil, Brenden Smith, Deshawn Gingerich, Brennon Willard. Scratched: Garrett Smith.

Second consolation: Colton Flinner, Kyle Bronson, Earl Pearson Jr., Dan Stone, Kody Evans, Mark Whitener, Josh Putnam, Ross Robinson, Trevor Collins, Dale Hollidge, Jimmy Sharpe Jr., Larry Greer, Logan Zarin, Todd Brennan, Kyle Lear, Adam Boyd, Tyler Erb, Josh Rice, Will Roland, John Henderson. Scratched: Kenny Monahan, Billy Boyd Sr., Jason Riggs, Tim Dohm, Jason Miller, Bryant Dickinson.

DirtonDirt.com Strawberry Dash (eight laps; winner transfers): Matt Cosner, Josh Putnam, Garrett Alberson, Blair Nothdurft, Dan Stone, Jake O'Neil. Scratched: Kody Evans, Mark Whitener.

Heat results

(Eight laps; top three transfer)

First heat: Brandon Overton, Ashton Winger, Drake Troutman, Shane Clanton, Ryan King, Jake O’Neil, Kyle Hardy, Jason Miles, Freddie Carpenter, Clinton Hersh, Michael Lake, Jason Hiett.

Second heat: Hudson O’Neal, Tanner English, Max Blair, Garrett Alberson, Brian Shirley, Jadon Frame, Mason Oberkramer, Garrett Smith, Kerry King, Cody Overton, Deshawn Gingerich, Brennon Willard.

Third heat: Devin Moran, Tim McCreadie, Brandon Sheppard, Matt Cosner, Blair Nothdurft, Colten Burdette, Brenden Smith, Johnny Scott, Chad McClellan, Joe Denby, Bob Gardner.

Fourth heat: Dennis Erb Jr., Jimmy Owens, Chase Junghans, Colton Flinner, Tyler Erb, Trevor Collins, John Henderson, Dale Hollidge, Todd Brennan, Tim Dohm, Jason Miller, Billy Boyd Sr.

Fifth heat: Tyler Bruening, Daulton Wilson, Blake Spencer, Kyle Bronson, Earl Pearson Jr., Kody Evans, Ross Robinson, Will Roland, Kyle Lear, Kenny Monahan, Bryant Dickinson, Larry Greer.

Sixth heat: Stormy Scott, Ricky Thornton Jr., Spencer Hughes, Dan Stone, Josh Rice, Josh Putnam, Mark Whitener, Jason Riggs, Jimmy Sharpe Jr., Logan Zarin, Adam Boyd.

Pre-race notes

Opening night of the Wrisco Winternationals comes on a day that saw skies turn sunny in the afternoon with temperatures reaching the high 60s. The weather should remain dry throughout the evening, but forecasts are calling for an extended period of rain beginning overnight and stretching most of Tuesday, threatening Night 2’s action. … Monday’s field numbers 70 entries, down a bit from last year’s 76-car opening-night turnout. … Several drivers are expected to join the action as the week progresses, including Frank Heckenast Jr. of Frankfort, Ill., whose hauler is in the pit area, and the Pennsylvania-based team of Boom Briggs and Josh Richards, who are expected to begin racing on Wednesday. … Teams that participated in Sunday night’s open practice reported an extremely slick East Bay surface. … Among first-time East Bay Winternationals competitors are Garrett Alberson of Las Cruces, N.M., Daulton Wilson of Fayetteville, N.C., Max Blair of Centerville, Pa., Cody Overton of Evans, Ga., and Dale Hollidge of Mechanicsville, Md. … Michael Lake of Uniontown, Pa., is making his first Winternationals appearance since 2018. The soon-to-be 21-year-old driver is behind the wheel of his grandfather Bobby Lake’s familiar No. 27. … Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., is spending the week turning wrenches for teenager Drake Troutman of Hyndman, Pa., who is climbing into his MB Customs Late Model after racing East Bay’s UMP modified Winternationals a couple weeks ago. … Freddie Carpenter of Parkersburg, W.Va., whose 2021 Winternationals assault was marred by a wild series of flips early in the week, is back at East Bay debuting a new Kryptonite machine. … World of Outlaws Late Model Series technical director Kenny Kenneda is in East Bay’s pit area collaborating with Lucas Oil Series tech head Steve Francis as the tours continue working to implement standardized Dirt Late Model rules, including the deck height/droop rule.

Time trials

First group

  1. Brandon Overton (76), Evans, Ga., 14.990
  2. Tanner English (81E), Benton, Ky., 15.287
  3. Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill., 15.296
  4. Kyle Hardy (99), Stephens City, Va., 15.453
  5. Max Blair (111V), Centerville, Pa., 15.499
  6. Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 15.508
  7. Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 15.530
  8. Brian Shirley (3S), Chatham, Ill., 15.611
  9. Devin Moran (9), Dresden, Ohio, 15.634
  10. Ashton Winger (89), Hampton, Ga., 15.707
  11. Mason Oberkramer (93), Brosley, Mo., 15.728
  12. Blair Nothdurft (76), Sioux Falls, S.D., 15.777
  13. Drake Troutman (7D), Hyndman, Pa., 15.830
  14. Garrett Alberson (58), Las Cruces, N.M., 15.842
  15. Matt Cosner (66C), Ridgeley, W.Va., 15.853
  16. Jake O’Neil (0), Tucson, Ariz., 15.865
  17. Cody Overton (97), Evans, Ga., 15.895
  18. Chad McClellan (119), Stoystown, Pa., 15.922
  19. Ryan King (1G), Seymour, Tenn., 15.944
  20. Jadon Frame (J27), Winchester, Tenn., 15.946
  21. Colten Burdette (44), Parkersburg, W.Va., 15.977
  22. Hudson O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., 15.994
  23. Johnny Scott (1ST), Las Cruces, N.M., 16.062
  24. Clinton Hersh (16H), Somerset, Pa., 16.091
  25. Freddie Carpenter (K), Parkersburg, W.Va., 16.118
  26. Garrett Smith (10), Eatonton, Ga., 16.130
  27. Brenden Smith (17SS), Dade City, Fla., 16.134
  28. Jason Hiett (19M), Oxford, Ala., 16.218
  29. Deshawn Gingerich (0g), Dover, Pa., 16.232
  30. Bob Gardner (4G), East Peoria, Ill., 16.288
  31. Jason Miles (503), Glenwood, Ark., 16.372
  32. Kerry King (KB0), Delmar, Del., 16.597
  33. Joe Denby (27D), Winchester, Tenn., 16.688
  34. Michael Lake (27), Uniontown, Pa., 16.738
  35. Brennon Willard (3W), Lebanon, Mo., no time

Second group

  1. Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 15.661
  2. Tyler Bruening (16), Decorah, Iowa, 15.760
  3. Stormy Scott (2s), Las Cruces, N.M., 15.801
  4. Tim Dohm (6T), Cross Lanes, W.Va., 15.899
  5. Daulton Wilson (18D), Fayetteville, N.C., 15.903
  6. Spencer Hughes (11H), Meridian, Miss., 15.904
  7. Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 15.907
  8. Blake Spencer (6S), St. Augustine, Fla., 15.953
  9. Ricky Thornton Jr. (20rt), Chandler, Ariz., 15.965
  10. Colton Flinner (48), Allison Park, Pa., 15.971
  11. Kody Evans (4G), Camden, Ohio, 15.987
  12. Josh Putnam (212), Florence, Ala., 16.034
  13. Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., 16.111
  14. Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., 16.169
  15. Dan Stone (2), Thompson, Pa., 16.184
  16. Tyler Erb (1), New Waverly, Texas, 16.191
  17. Earl Pearson Jr. (46), Jacksonville, Fla., 16.270
  18. Mark Whitener (58), Middleburg, Fla., 16.276
  19. Jason Miller (94), Winchester, Va., 16.293
  20. Will Roland (22R), Jasper, Ga., 16.318
  21. Josh Rice (11), Verona, Ky., 16.356
  22. Dale Hollidge (0), Mechanicsville, Md., 16.415
  23. Ross Robinson (7R), Georgetown, Del., 16.456
  24. Jason Riggs (81), College Grove, Tenn., 16.466
  25. John Henderson (2x), North Augusta, S.C., 16.493
  26. Kyle Lear (151), Severna Park, Md., 16.530
  27. Logan Zarin (1z), Moon Township, Pa., 16.548
  28. Todd Brennan (20B), Zanesville, Ohio, 16.598
  29. Larry Greer (9G), Bowling Green, Ky., 16.605
  30. Jimmy Sharpe Jr. (26JR), Vidalia, Ga., 16.610
  31. Trevor Collins (11AC), Seaford, Del., 16.624
  32. Bryant Dickinson (5*), Ionia, Mich., 16.702
  33. Adam Boyd (6b), Riverview, Fla., 17.294
  34. Bill Boyd Sr. (3B), Riverview, Fla., 17.437
  35. Ken Monahan (311), Lakeland, Fla., no time

Monday's schedule

(All times Eastern)

1:30 p.m. - Pits cleared
2 p.m. - Pits reopen
5 p.m. - Drivers' meeting
5:30 p.m. - Hot laps
- Time trials
7 p.m. - Invocation and national anthem
- Heat races (8 laps)
- Consolation races (10 laps)
- DirtonDirt.com Strawberry Dash presented by Berry Barn ( 6 laps)
- Feature (30 laps)

Feature lineup

Row 1: Overton, D. Erb
Row 2: O’Neal, Bruening
Row 3: Moran, S. Scott
Row 4: Winger, Owens
Row 5: English, Wilson
Row 6: McCreadie, Thornton
Row 7: Troutman, Junghans
Row 8: Blair, Spencer
Row 9: Sheppard, Hughes
Row 10: Clanton, Flinner
Row 11: King, Bronson
Row 12: T. Erb, Pearson
Row 13: Hardy, Cosner
Row 14: Robinson, Alberson
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