KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Tyler Erb topped the podium for the second night in a row at the Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals Presented by BRANDT Professional Agriculture.
The New Waverly, Texas, driver took the lead early for the second night in a row and was never seriously challenged. His win was worth $7,000 and was his third at the famous Knoxville Raceway.
Tim McCreadie emerged as the top point man and will start on the pole of Saturday’s 100-lap $50,000 to win championship event.
Brandon Sheppard led the 25-lap main event early over Tyler Bruening, Erb, Shannon Babb and Mike Marlar. Erb shot from third to first to lead lap three and never looked back. Bruening moved into second early, while Marlar took over fourth on lap eight.
Kyle Strickler moved into the top five by the eleventh lap. The leader entered lapped traffic with eight to go. Shortly after, Logan Martin slowed, bringing out the first caution of the feature. On the restart, Sheppard claimed second from Bruening and Tim McCreadie moved into the top five. McCreadie climbed to fourth with six to go, right before Strickler tagged the turn three wall while running sixth.
Erb pulled away again on the restart and survived a third one for a stopped Shannon Babb with two to go. Following Erb across the line were Sheppard, Bruening, McCreadie and Marlar.
“You never want to see a caution at the end like that, but we ran well enough last night that I didn’t want to commit myself to run the cushion,” said Erb. “I could tell somebody was getting a good run on the outside and I figured it was Shepp, but if I stayed on the inside of three and drove across it was going to be hard to get by me. I’m pumped to win here. I have a great car and a great crew. Racing is really fun when you have a great car and you can kind of maneuver. Once I got out front, I could set my pace and I felt the longer we went green the better I’d get.”
“I was good for a lap or two on the restarts, and then he would run away from me there,” said Sheppard of Erb. “He did a really good job. He’s been tough all weekend, and he’s going to be tough to beat tomorrow for sure. It was definitely a wild night for us. Thanks to everyone who helped us get back in the heat race. There’s a lot of good guys in this pit area.”
“I heard Brandon say he was good for a couple of laps after those restarts, and I felt the same way,” said Bruening. “I think Tyler was just a little bit better than everyone tonight and he deserved the win. We were super good tonight. The car has been good all weekend and I think we have something for them in that 100 laps tomorrow night.”
Feature (25 laps): 1. Tyler Erb (3); 2. Brandon Sheppard (1); 3. Tyler Bruening (2); 4. Tim McCreadie (8); 5. Mike Marlar (5); 6. Ricky Thornton Jr. (6); 7. Jimmy Owens (9); 8. Hudson O’Neal (19); 9. Kyle Bronson (14); 10. Frank Heckenast Jr. (12); 11. Chase Junghans (21); 12. Earl Pearson Jr. (22); 13. Shane Clanton (16); 14. Jonathan Davenport (7); 15. Chris Simpson (24); 16. Josh Richards (11); 17. Jason Feger (17); 18. Rich Bell (15); 19. Jeremiah Hurst (23); 20. Tony Jackson Jr. (13); 21. Shannon Babb (4); 22. Kyle Strickler (10); 23. Chad Simpson (18); 24. Logan Martin (20). Lap Leaders: Sheppard 1-2, Erb 3-25. Hard-charger: O’Neal.