La Salle Speedway
Erb gets $5,000 win at La Salle's Thaw Brawl
By Betty GlynnLa Salle Speedway
La SALLE, Ill. (April 7) — Former track champion Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., took the lead from Bret Sievert of New Berlin, Wis., on the eight lap and never looked back for a $5,000 victory Saturday at La Salle Speedway.
The 39-year-old Erb, who started fourth at the quarter-mile oval, won the non-touring UMP DIRTcar-sanctioned event for his first home-state victory since August 2010. | Slideshow
Seventh-starting Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, rallied to finish second with Frank Heckenast Jr. of Frankfort, Ill., in third. Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., and Ryan Unzicker of El Paso, Ill., rounded out the top five on a night with 32 Super Late Model teams in the pits.
Brandon Sheppard and Sievert started on the front row with Sievert taking command early in the race. Erb took the second spot from Sheppard on the sixth lap, then moved into the lead two laps later.
Erb pulled away to a comfortable lead after a dozen laps while Sievert was holding his own in the runner-up position while Heckenast and Sheppard duked it out for third.
At the halfway point, Erb had nearly a half-track advantage as he worked lapped traffic. Birkhofer worked his way into second and cut into Erb's lead, but settled for the runner-up spot.
Notes: Erb's Bloomquist Race Car has a Vic Hill Racing Engine and sponsorship from McBride Mack, Petersen Aluminum and PRC. ... The event opened the season at La Salle. ... Drivers failing to make the feature: Jeff Larson, Bobby Pierce, Jay Sparks, Jeff Small, Jon Small, Jerry Lierly, Daren Friedman, Jason Jaggers, Mike Fryer, Aaron Ricketts and Lake Knutti. ... The next special event is May 12 for a $10,000-to-win Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event.
Thaw Brawl: (1) Dennis Erb Jr., (2) Brian Birkhofer, (3) Frank Heckenast Jr., (4) Shannon Babb, (5) Ryan Unzicker, (6) Bret Sievert, (7) Brian Shirley, (8) Kevin Weaver, (9) Brandon Sheppard, (10) Tyler Reddick, (11) Rich Bell, (12) Shawn Toczek, (13) Scott Bull, (14) Jay Morris, (15) Russ Scheffler, (16) Jason Feger, (17) Mike Spatola, (18) Mike Provenzano, (19) Tim Dimmick, (20) Torin Mettille, (21) Gary Schalmo. Fast qualifier (among 32 cars): Sievert, 13.272 seconds. Heat race winners: Sievert, Erb, Heckenast, Sheppard. Consolation winners: Mike Spatola, Scott Bull.