Miller & Erb Share Eldora Preliminaries
ROSSBURG, Ohio — Matt Miller and Dennis Erb Jr. scored $5,000 triumphs in the Twin 25-lap features that highlighted the second preliminary program of the Dirt Late Model Dream XIX Presented by Ferris Commercial Mowers at Eldora Speedway.
Miller, 41, was victorious for the second consecutive night, remaining perfect for the DIRTcar UMP-sanctioned weekend with a powerful march to the checkered flag in the A-Main reserved for the evening’s odd-numbered qualifiers.
The 40-year-old Erb, meanwhile, outdueled Chris Madden over the final five laps of the 25-lapper for even-numbered qualifiers to record his first win at the high-banked, half-mile oval since the October 2009 DIRTcar UMP Nationals.
Miller’s drive to victory in the first feature stamped him as a favorite to capture the $100,000 top prize in Saturday night’s 100-lap Dirt Late Model Dream by Ferris. He appeared even stronger than he did in winning a 25-lap preliminary event on Thursday night.
After bolting forward from the third starting spot to pass Steve Casebolt Jr. for the lead on lap three, Miller sailed away in veteran Buckeye State racer Rick Delong’s Rocket No. 3. He was never seriously challenged in a race that was slowed only twice by caution flags, on laps three and seven.
“This is pretty fun — I ain’t gonna lie to you,” said Miller, who won the Dream in 2005. “The car’s great and everything’s kind of working out right now. The car was better tonight, the track was slick and we’re getting a lot closer to where we need to be for 100 laps.”
Miller, who has started the Dream A-Main nine times since 2000, cruised across the finish line 2.175 seconds ahead of Jimmy Owens, who started seventh and battled for the runner-up spot with Casebolt until finally grabbing the position on lap 21. Casebolt settled for third place after leading laps 1-3 from the outside pole, giving former Dream winners a sweep of the podium.
Josh Richards, who won a preliminary feature on Thursday night, started from the pole position but slipped to fourth in the final rundown. Eighth-starter Brian Birkhofer finished fifth after overtaking Scott James on lap 22.