TAMPA, FL (February 7, 2009) – Dennis Erb Jr. made a sweeping move on the outside of Scott Bloomquist on lap 62 and then held off Billy Moyer after a late-race caution to win one of the biggest races of his career on Saturday Night at East Bay Raceway Park as he captured his first ever win at the track and his first career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win with the $12,000 first place prize on the final night of the DART Winternationals. The quiet 36-year-old second generation racer crossed the line first to the approval of the packed house as he held off Moyer, Bloomquist, Tyler Ivey and Chris Wall.
Terry Casey took the lead at the start of the 75 lap feature, with PRC Fast Qualifier Tyler Ivey, Brady Smith, Rick Eckert and Scott Bloomquist in tow. Smith passed Ivey for second on lap two as the youngster lost another spot this time to Bloomquist a lap later.
Casey was on the move, already seeing the tail end of the field by lap six with his rapid pace, allowing him to open up a good lead over Smith. Bloomquist started to turn up the heat on his fellow Team Zero member Smith as he was all over Smith in an exciting battle for second.
With the entire field setting a scorching tempo, the first caution came out for Steve Francis, who stopped on the track with a flat tire. Francis pitted and then returned to the race on the tail end of the field. The race went green for two more circuits until a three-car pileup slowed the action with 14 laps scored.
On the Delaware double-file restart, Casey was still the man on the point as he had held the lead from the start of the race, but things were about to change. Josh Richards, who seeking his fourth-straight win of the week was able to corral the second spot from Bloomquist as he then had his sights set on the leader as Bloomquist and Eckert were closing rapidly on the front running pack of Casey and Richards.
On the 21st lap, contact was made between Richards and Casey with both cars being eliminated from the event, as Richards was unable to continue and Casey was disqualified from the race for an under caution altercation.
On the restart, Bloomquist was the new leader of the race with Brady Smith in second followed by Moyer, 18th starting Dennis Erb Jr. and Mike Marlar who was on the move as he was up to fifth at this point in the race. Moyer put on a charge as he overhauled Smith for second on lap 32. The top five stayed the same for several more laps until Erb ventured to the top shelf of the oval to take third on lap 40.
Bloomquist and Moyer battled back and forth for the lead several times. The race slowed briefly with 43 laps in the books as Eric Jacobsen, who was running just inside of the top ten, slowed on the backstretch. During the caution period Marlar left the race, giving up his fourth place position in the race.
Bloomquist and Moyer kept the top two spots under control until Erb joined in the fray, the two-time and defending UMP Late Model National Champion was starting to make his presence known against two of the giants in racing history. Erb closed right up on Moyer on lap 54 and then a lap later he would make a successful pass on Moyer to take the second spot on lap 55. Erb, however, was not done yet as he has his sights set on Bloomquist, setting up the wily veteran. Erb stomped on the accelerator heading into turn number three as he took his race car to the outside of Bloomquist and cleanly made a move that brought the grandstand to its feet as he swept around Bloomquist to take over the lead.
Erb then opened up a wide lead over both Bloomquist and Moyer. He then had to re-focus after a caution for Bart Hartman with 72 laps complete setting up a three car battle not with Bloomquist, but Moyer whom had passed Bloomquist a few laps before the final caution flag of the race.
On the final restart, Erb set his sights on the win as he roared to the green flag. He was able to put enough distance between himself and Moyer and go on to win for the first time in his career at East Bay. Notching his first ever Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory much to the fans delight.
Standing in Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the first time, Erb did a post-race interview with SPEED and VERSUS who were on hand to tape the event. He then addressed the large crowd of spectators that had stayed for his on-track comments. “We really got clicking there and those two up front (Moyer and Bloomquist), I grew up watching them guys race and to pass both of them tells you how good our car was,” said the Illinois driver.
“The car was working well on top and that’s when I went around Bloomquist, I hated when that last caution came out and I knew if I kept my line, there at the end it would be tough for those guys to get around me, the car was bouncing around out there, but I held on and here we are, we’ve had some really big wins over the last couple of years and no doubt this is right up considering the competition here.”
Erb and his crew chief Heather Lyne celebrated his victory lane with several well-wishers as the driver of his self-owned Thomason Express, McBride Mack Truck Sales, Petersen Aluminum, PRC, VP Racing Fuels, Racing Gitcha Some and Reaber Transport C.J. Rayburn Race Cars Impala SS has a Rhyne Competition Engine under the hood providing the power.
Moyer came across the finish line in second to secure the 2009 DART Winternationals points title, which were for a total of the six nights of racing at East Bay. Moyer earned a $5,000 check plus product certificates. “I want to thank DART for doing this again for us drivers here at East Bay, I want to congratulate Dennis on the win, he deserved it,” said the Hall of Famer afterwards.
Bloomquist placed third in the Miller Brothers Coal, Vic Hill Racing Engines, Bloomquist Monte Carlo; he was followed by Tyler Ivey in the Crowder Disaster Recovery, Pro Power Engines, Barry Wright GTO; and Chris Wall in his C&M Gator Farm, Wall2Wall Performance Engines, MasterSbilt by Stuckey Monte Carlo SS.
Completing the top ten were Steve Casebolt, Rick Eckert, Brady Smith, Earl Pearson Jr. and Terry English.
In preliminary Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series action it was Tyler Ivey setting the pace in the PRC Time Trials with a lap of 14.703 seconds after coming out near the end of the 74 car entry list. Heat race winners were Terry Casey, Rick Eckert, Scott Bloomquist, Tyler Ivey, Brady Smith and Billy Moyer. The B-mains were won by Matt Miller, Bart Hartman, Chad Mahder and Terry English
The next stop for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will be at Brownstown Speedway in Brownstown, Indiana for the “Indiana Icebreaker” on Saturday Night, March 21st paying $10,000 to win. For more information you can visit the tracks website at www.brownstownspeedway.com.
To find out more about the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, log on to www.lucasdirt.com or call the series office at (951) 532-2503.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Race Summary Saturday Night, February 7, 2009 East Bay Raceway Park – Gibsonton, FL
PRC Fast Time: Tyler Ivey/14.703 seconds
Hawk Brake First Heat (10 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Terry Casey, Josh Richards, Mike Marlar, Eddie Carrier Jr., John Mason, Matt Miller, Donnie Moran, Jeep VanWormer, Tim Fuller, Tim Lance, Brad Neat, Bob Geiger, Butch Strait
Hawk Brake Second Heat (10 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Rick Eckert, Josh McGuire, Tim Isenberg, Bart Hartman, Jimmy Owens, Mike Collins, Jeff Beyers, Jayme Zidar, Rusty Schlenk, Dale McDowell, Steve Casebolt, Tim Dohm
AFCO Racing Products Third Heat (10 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Scott Bloomquist, dan Schlieper, Chris Wall, Scott James, Darren Miller, Tyler Reddick, Ricky Arms, Scott Slay, Mike Walker, Victor Lee, Shon Flanary, Russ Adams
Tiger Rear Ends Fourth Heat (10 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Tyler Ivey, Don O’Neal, Steve Francis, John Blankenship, Eric Wells, Chad Mahder, Tommy Kerr, Tommy Weder, Brandon Thirlby, Justin Rattliff, Mark Pettyjohn, Mark Andersen, Chuck Hummer
AFCO Racing Products Fifth Heat (10 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Brady Smith, Steve Shaver, Earl Pearson Jr., Terry English, David Breazeale, Dan Stone, Chris Shannon, Davey Johnson, AJ Kirkpatrick, Brad Eitniear, Wayne Chinn, Ray Cook
AFCO Racing Products Sixth Heat (10 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Billy Moyer, Eric Jacobsen, Dennis Erb Jr., Tyler Bruening, Joe Loudin, Jason McBride, Jeremy Faircloth, Jordan Bland, Travis Varnadore, Danny Mitchell, Freddy Smith, Clint Smith
Mason Racin’ Rebel Shock Dyno First B-Main (12 Laps-Winner Advances): Matt Miller, Scott James, Eddie Carrier Jr., Tyler Reddick, Victor Lee, Jeff Beyers, Jimmy Owens, Tim Lance, Jeep VanWormer, Scott Slay, Rusty Schlenk, Bob Geiger, Steve Casebolt – DNS, Russ Adams – DNS
Wiles Drive Shafts Second B-Main (12 Laps-Winner Advances): Bart Hartman, Mike Collins, Jayme Zidar, Tim Dohm, Dale McDowell, Mike Walker, Butch Strait, Brad Neat, Tim Fuller, Donnie Moran, Darren Miller, Ricky Arms, John Mason, Shon Flanary – DNS
Mason Racin’ Rebel Shock Dyno Third B-Main (12 Laps-Winner Advances): Chad Mahder, David Breazeale, Justin Rattliff, Tyler Bruening, Danny Mitchell, Jason McBride, Chris Shannon, Mark Andersen, John Blankenship, Clint Smith, AJ Kirkpatrick, Tommy Weder – DNS, Jordan Bland – DNS, Wayne Chinn – DNS
Wiles Drive Shafts Fourth B-Main (12 Laps-Winner Advances): Terry English, Tommy Kerr, Davey Johnson, Mark Pettyjohn, Brandon Thirlby, Brad Eitniear, Travis Varnadore, Chuck Hummer, Dan Stone, Jeremy Faircloth, Joe Loudin, Eric Wells, Freddy Smith – DNS, Ray Cook – DNS
PRC Strawberry Dash (7 Laps – Winner Advances): Tommy Kerr, Scott James, Chris Shannon, Joe Loudin, AJ Kirkpatrick, Mark Andersen, Tim Lance
33rd Annual Dart Winternationals Night 6 Feature Finish (75 Laps): Dennis Erb, Jr., Billy Moyer, Scott Bloomquist, Tyler Ivey, Chris Wall, Steve Casebolt, Rick Eckert, Brady Smith, Earl Pearson, Jr., Terry English, Bart Hartman, Steve Francis, Dan Schlieper, Eric Jacobsen, Mike Marlar, Matt Miller, Josh Richards, Steve Shaver, Tommy Kerr, Chad Mahder, Josh McGuire, Tim Isenberg, Justin Rattliff, Don O'Neal, (DQ) Terry Casey
Finish (Start) Car Number Driver Name Laps
DQ (1) 42 Terry Casey
Entries: 74 Caution Flags: 16 Lap Leaders: Terry Casey 1-21, Scott Bloomquist 22-60, Dennis Erb Jr. 61-75 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Steve Casebolt, Justin Rattliff PBM/Erson Cams Hard Charger of the Race: Dennis Erb Jr. (Started 18th and finished 1st– advanced 17 positions) Allstar Performance Performer of the Race: Tyler Ivey K&N Filters Clean Pass of the Race: Dennis Erb Jr. Quarter Master Rookie of the Race: none Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Race: Heather Lyne (Dennis Erb Jr.) Comp Cams Engine Builder of the Race: Rhyne Racing Engines Time of the Race: 1 hour, 10 minutes
33rd Annual Dart Winternationals Points Standings
1) Billy Moyer 1380
2) Josh Richards 1245
3) Rick Eckert 1205
4) Matt Miller 1165
5) Dennis Erb Jr. 1065
6) Brady Smith 1025
7) Steve Francis 940
8) Dan Schlieper 930 9) Eric Jacobsen 890 10) Tim Dohm 875