Kankakee County Speedway
Erb second at Kankakee, increases UMP lead
By Dennis YohnkaKankakee Motor Speedway
KANKAKEE, Ill. (Sept. 21) — It wasn't the battle that fans expected to be waged at the Kankakee Motor Speedway. The crowd wanted to seeï¿½Wes Steidinger andï¿½Dennis Erb Jr. duke it out in their late-season battle for the United Midwestern Promoters weekly championship, but fans settled for a Richie Hedrick-Erb battle instead.
Steidinger was caught up in an accident on lap three and his car left the track with the help of a tow truck. Later, Erb couldn't stop Hedrick's high-side charge and had to settle for second in the feature.
Erb's second-place finish helped him extend the points lead on Steidinger with just a handful of events remaining as they gun for the $20,000 first-place check.
"I never thought about trying to win this thing," Erb said. "If fact, people told me it couldn't be done. I was 600 points behind Wes when I decided that I could go after that. I do feel like it will make a difference when I go to sponsors and say I'm the only guy who ever won (the UMP Summernationals and the weekly crowns) in the same year."
One of Erb's few mistakes of 2007 was not moving to the top groove to stave off Hedrick's charge. But he's looking at the big picture. "When I saw (Steidinger) on the hook," Erb said, "I knew I didn't want to press the issue too much.
"We all go through the good breaks and the bad breaks and he's catching some of the bad ones now. I know that finishing is the key to this and there was no sense in trying to do something that might have torn up any equipment."
Jason Feger of Bloomington wound up third in the main event. He looked faster than Erb for a few laps when they dueled in the high groove. But Feger slid a bit too high and scuffed the wall around lap 20. That threw off his handling and he wound up holding off advances by fourth- and fifth-finishing Mike Provenzano and Joe Harlan.
Hedrick partially ripped off his car's rear spoiler in winning his heat race. Erb and Harlan were the other heat winners while Chris Dick and Brian Ruhlman won consolation races.