TAMPA, Fla. (February 6, 2023) – Tyler Erb scored his first win of the 2023 season on Monday night, capturing the first night of the 47th Annual Wieland Winternationals – presented by Lucas Oil.
Erb took the lead on lap two from Kyle Bronson and led the rest of the way to score his fifth career win at the “Clay by the Bay.”
Hudson O’Neal finished in second followed by 20th starting Tyler Millwood who claimed his first career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series podium. Brandon Overton, driving the John Henderson-owned No. 2x, was fourth, with last year’s opening night winner Dennis Erb Jr. rounding out the top five finishers.
Bronson led the first two laps from his pole starting spot before Erb passed him on the inside coming off turn number two. O’Neal then moved into second taking the spot away from Bronson. There were back-to-back cautions on lap 11 and 12 which kept the field bunched up behind Erb.
Early in the race the outside line proved beneficial for Brian Shirley who had moved from 12th to sixth and Ashton Winger who after starting sixth climbed to second on lap 12.
After the lap 12 caution, Winger had a great restart and went to the outside of Erb entering turn four before losing his momentum and falling several spots in the running order. There were cautions with 18 and 24 laps scored while Erb held the lead. On each of those subsequent restarts Erb kept his car glued to the bottom and went on to pick up the win.
In Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the 20th time in his career, Erb let out a sigh of relief to get to victory lane for the first time since the Gateway Dirt Nationals back in December. “It’s awesome to get this win. We ended last year on such a crazy note at the Dome. We unloaded at Vado with really high expectations and just struggled. I just can’t say enough about everybody that helps me. We complained to Eric [Brock] that we needed a new car, and Mark [Richards] built us a car in two days. Brunswick wasn’t good us; Bubba wasn’t good until the second night. We got things turned around I feel at All-Tech with our finish there.”
“I love East Bay,” Erb added. “I didn’t think it would be too good. The top down there was the only place I thought maybe I should have been in. I could tell, someone was close. I left Winger about as much room as you could. It was literally the wall, Winger, and me. It’s just East Bay you’ve got to know where to start.”
O’Neal said he felt good on the restarts. “I was getting caught in his [Erb’s] slime sometimes. I went to the top there for a while when it finally cleaned up there at the end. On that last restart I got clear of Overton and just got back to the bottom. I knew it was safe down there.”
Millwood earned the Todd Steel Buildings Hard Charger of the Race after coming to third. “I was running behind those guys, and I just said let’s go up there and see what happens and it worked. It was an awesome night.”
The winner’s Eric and Kelly Brock, Best Performance Motorsports-owned, Rocket Chassis is powered by Clements Racing Engines and sponsored by Bulk Material Lift, Lucas Oil Products, Bazell Race Fuels, Anthony’s Pizza, First Class Septic, Roberts Bee Company, Sunoco Race Fuels and Penske Shocks.
Completing the top ten ere Mark Whitener, Spencer Hughes, Ryan Gustin, Tanner English, and Eddie Carrier Jr.
Story - Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Photo - Heath Lawson