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Daily Dirt 12/11/2023 12:48:42

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July 17
Tri-City Speedway,
Granite City, IL
Sanction: Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (NAPA Know How 50) - $12,000
Information provided by: Series and track reports (last updated July 18, 11:24 am)
Tri-City is 'just right' as Erb grabs Lucas victory
NAPA Know How 50
  1. Tyler Erb
  2. Billy Moyer Jr.
  3. Jonathan Davenport
  4. Shane Clanton
  5. Tyler Bruening
  6. Rick Eckert
  7. Devin Moran
  8. Johnny Scott
  9. Tim McCreadie
  10. Josh Richards
  11. Earl Pearson Jr.
  12. Tanner English
  13. Hudson O'Neal
  14. Kyle Bronson
  15. Jimmy Owens
  16. Gordy Gundaker
  17. Shanon Buckingham
  18. Doug Drown
  19. Kolby Vandenbergh
  20. Cody Laney
  21. Mike Marlar
  22. Tony Toste
  23. Rodney Melvin
  24. Billy Laycock
  25. Stormy Scott
  26. Kyle Strickler
  27. Daryn Klein
presented by
Heath Lawson/heathlawsonphotos.com
Tyler Erb takes the checkered flag to win at Tri-City July 17.
What won the race: Tyler Erb of New Waverly, Texas, overtook front-row starter Billy Moyer Jr. on the 22nd lap Friday at Tri-City Speedway and grabbed his second Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory of the season. Erb, who repeated his Tri-City victory from last July, earned $12,000 in the Napa Know How 50.
Key notes: Front-row starter Kyle Strickler retired after a lap-six spin when he collided with Tyler Erb battling for second. ... Series points leader Jimmy Owens spun with a flat left-rear tire while running fifth after contact with fourth-finishing Shane Clanton. ... The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series visited Tri-City for the opening night of the tour’s weekend tripleheader. … It marked the 22nd visit in series history.
On the move: Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., started 23rd and finished ninth.
Winner's sponsors: Erb’s winning Best Performance Motorsports Rocket Chassis is powered by an Andy Durham Racing Engine and sponsored by New Point Lighting and Design, Roberts Bee Company, Bazell Race Fuels, Bulk Material Lift, Boxo USA, Franklin Enterprises, Sunoco, Industrial Resourcing Group, Keyser Mfg., and Valvoline.
Points chase: After Tri-City: 1. Jimmy Owens (4,525); 2. Jonathan Davenport (4,160); 3. Tyler Erb (4,120); 4. Tim McCreadie (4,080); 5. Josh Richards (4,050); 6. Devin Moran (3,975); 7. Kyle Bronson (3,945); 8. Shane Clanton (3,825); 9. Billy Moyer Jr. (3,625); 10. Tanner English (3,550); 11. Earl Pearson Jr. (3,390); 12. Shanon Buckingham (3,335); 13. Hudson O'Neal (3,305); 14. Tyler Bruening (3,195); 15. Stormy Scott (2,855).
Current weather: Clear, 73°F
Car count: 39
Fast qualifier: Kolby Vandenbergh
Time: 14.186 seconds
Polesitter: Kyle Strickler
Heat race winners: Kyle Strickler, Tyler Erb, Billy Moyer Jr., Devin Moran
Consolation race winners: Jimmy Owens, Johnny Scott
Provisional starters: Tim McCreadie, Kyle Bronson, Hudson O'Neal, Billy Laycock, Gordy Gundaker
Next series race: July 18, Lucas Oil Speedway (Wheatland, MO) $20,000
Editor's note: Corrects Moyer Jr.'s starting spot.
From series reports

GRANITE CITY, Ill. — There’s no doubt Tyler Erb loves of Tri-City Speedway. Like in the children’s story about Goldilocks, the track configuration is just right.

“It’s not too big … it’s not too small,” the New Waverly, Texas, driver said in a Goldilocks-inspired description of the 3/8-mile oval near St. Louis for the second straight season.

The track was “just right” for Erb to stalk early leader Billy Moyer Jr., slip by amid traffic on the 22nd lap, then led the rest of the NAPA Know How 50 for his second Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory in as many seasons at Tri-City.

Erb, who notched his second series victory of the season and ninth of his career, took the checkers 2.859 seconds ahead of Moyer at the checkers while reigning series champion Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., was third. Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., was fourth in his feature debut at Tri-City while Clanton’s Skyline Motorsports teammate Tyler Bruening of Decorah, Iowa, notched his first series top-five finish of the season.

Series points leader Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., who started 17th, was up to fifth on the 29th lap when he got high in the corner and contact from Clanton flattened his left-rear tire and sent his car spinning. He pitted for a new tire and ended up 15th.

Rugged conditions proved difficult for drivers to find racing room and a smooth line around the track, but Erb patiently tracked Moyer through the first half of the race before making his winning move.

“I knew I had to survive,” Erb said. “That was going to be half the battle. When we took off, I knew I had a really good car. I expected (the track) to come back the way it did. (Track co-owner Kevin Gundaker) had it rolled in really nice before we started.

“When I was in second, I knew I just needed to beat (the third-starting driver) there into the first corner and just keep following Billy. Man, it was a handful. He had a good car, but he kept messing a little bit off of (turns) three and four. I was just biding my time, biding my time, and when I thought it was the right time to go, I went. I know I rubbed him there a little bit, but it’s tight out there, there’s not a whole lot of room.”

Moyer, the Batesville, Ark., driver looking for his first career Lucas Oil victory, had difficulty with slower cars in trying to keep Erb behind him.

“I just didn’t judge lapped traffic right. They didn’t do us any favors there,” Moyer said. “But all in all, to run second with a heckuva crowd, I love racing in the St. Louis area, and the Lucas Series done a heckuva job getting the track (in shape). The Gundakers couldn’t help out with the rain. It’s part of it. So I’m glad they just worked hard to get us the best surface and the best show they could put on.”

Davenport, who battled a rough stretch in June, earned his third series podium finish of July at Tri-City after starting sixth.

“It really was (tough to pass). It kind of laned up right around the cushion there. It was even tough to pass lapped cars,” Davenport said. “I finally, I got to moving around a just little bit early, and I started going above the hole getting into (turn) one, and I think Randall (Edwards), Tyler’s crew chief, saw me and moved him up. He got going pretty good there and got by Junior in lapped traffic.

“I felt like we were a little better than Junior, but it was just so hard to pass. A top-three here at Granite City, we generally have pretty bad luck here, so if we’d have won that heat race and gotten to start outside pole, it might’ve been a different story.

“I’m just really proud of my guys. From a month ago to what we’re doing now, it’s a huge turnound,” Davenport added, saying the team “just needed a little bit of luck on our side. We finally got some speed and we’ll get this car back to victory lane before long.”

Besides the caution for Owens, the only other yellow appeared on the sixth lap when Kyle Strickler spun exiting turn two after making contact with Tyler Erb while they battled for the second spot. Strickler retired.

Series drivers headed west to Wheatland, Mo., after the race where Lucas Oil Speedway was hosting Saturday’s $20,000-to-win Show-Me 100, a makeup of May’s postponed event, and Sunday’s $12,000-to-win Diamond Nationals.

Notes: Erb gave the checkered flag to a young fan after the victory. … In victory lane, he joked with Best Performance Motorsports crew chief Randall Edwards about buying the track Kevin and Tammy Gundaker recently put up for sale. “If anybody wants to be an angel investor, we’ll take it,” Erb joked with Lucas Oil Racing TV pit reporter Dave Argabright. … Sixteen drivers completed 50 laps. … Rick Eckert of York, Pa., finished sixth as the top finishing non-Lucas Oil Series regular. … Daryn Klein of Fairview Heights, Ill., elected to start on the tail of the feature and was the first retiree.

Feature lineup

Row 1: Strickler, Moyer Jr.
Row 2: Erb, Moran
Row 3: Clanton, Davenport
Row 4: Pearson Jr., Bruening
Row 5: Vandenbergh, Eckert
Row 6: Melvin, Toste
Row 7: Laney, Richards
Row 8: English, S. Scott
Row 9: Owens, J. Scott
Row 10: Drown, Marlar
Row 11: Klein, Buckingham
Row 12: McCreadie, Bronson
Row 13: O'Neal, Laycock
Row 14: Gundaker

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