Erb Tames Volusia Speedway Park
BARBERVILLE, Fla. — Dennis Erb, Jr. tamed a demanding track to capture Thursday night’s 50-lap World of Outlaws Late Model Series A-Main at Volusia Speedway Park.
The 39-year-old DIRTcar UMP veteran overtook WoO LMS standout Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., for the lead on lap 28 and never looked back in the national tour’s first event of the 41st annual UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit Racing Equipment. He pocketed $10,000 for his first-ever triumph at the half-mile oval outside Daytona Beach.
It was Erb’s third career win on the WoO LMS. Both of his previous victories came in a one-week span of May 2007.
“This is a big win for us,” said Erb, a longtime owner/operator who campaigns a Team Zero by Bloomquist car with a Vic Hill engine under the hood. “The car’s been working real good the last couple nights and to get here in victory lane at Volusia for the first time really makes me excited.”
Scott Bloomquist, who swept last year’s pair of WoO LMS A-Mains run during the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit, passed Frank on lap 48 and went on to finish second. He crossed the finish line 1.935 seconds behind Erb.
Frank, who raced off the outside pole starting spot to lead laps 1-27, settled for a third-place finish in his Rocket machine. Steve Francis started and finished fourth in the Barry Wright house car and Jimmy Owens advanced from the 11th starting spot to place fifth.
Erb, who started from the pole position but was outgunned for the top spot by Frank at the race’s initial green flag, chased the 50-year-old WoO LMS regular through six caution flags and one red flag before finally making his winning move. He ducked underneath Frank exiting turn two and was in front for good as lap 28 was scored.
“We were just sitting back there trying to get a run on him,” Erb said of Frank. “We were looking for the right time to get by him. We were able to get up underneath him, and then after that I knew it was gonna be pretty tough to beat us because we had a pretty good car.”
Erb, who preceded his victory with finishes of second (Monday) and fifth (Tuesday) in DIRTcar UMP-sanctioned 30-lappers at Volusia, built a straightaway-plus advantage before the field was tightened on lap 47 by the the race’s seventh and final caution flag. Frank was unable to offer a challenge on the restart and ultimately lost second to Bloomquist on lap 48.
“I couldn’t get through (turns) one and two,” said Frank, who is winless on the WoO LMS since Aug. 22, 2009 (a span of 87 races). “I was horrible unless I hit it just right. I was trying to cut across the bottom, but it would just wash out because I was too tight.
“We’re tickled though. I wanna win, but we’ll take a top three at this place for the points.”
Bloomquist, 48, spent most of the distance running in third place. He reached the spot on lap 18 after starting sixth.
“We tightened our car up – and even though it wasn’t much, it was just too much,” said Bloomquist. “I just thought the couple adjustments I made would be alright, but it was just miserable tight.
“Considering that, I’m happy for Dennis to win, and I’m happy to run second.”
Seventy-nine cars were signed in for the event — the biggest dirt late model field of the 2012 UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit.
Dennis Erb, Jr., Scott Bloomquist, Chub Frank, Steve Francis, Jimmy Owens, Dale McDowell, Rick Eckert, Josh Richards, Darrell Lanigan, Shane Clanton, John Blankenship, Clint Smith, Mike Marlar, Frankie Heckenast, Jr., Bub McCool, Bub McCool, Vic Coffey, Jason Feger, Tim McCreadie, Earl Pearson, Jr., Steve Isenberg, Don O’Neal, Pat Doar, John Lobb, Dennis Franklin, Billy Moyer, Ryan Unzicker, Tyler Reddick, Jimmy Mars, Tim Fuller, Brady Smith.BREAKING NEWS: SPEED SPORT is back in print with a new monthly format! Subscribe for just $24.95. Special offer for former subscribers.