Mlra34a 07 02 22 (226)mikeruefer
Dennis Erb Jr. (Mike Ruefer photo)

Erb Cashes In At Slocum Memorial

WEST BURLINGTON, Iowa — Dennis Erb Jr. scored a dominant victory on Saturday night in becoming the latest driver to etch their name in the record books as a winner of the 14th annual Slocum 50 at the 34 Raceway. 

The Carpentersville, Illinois, driver compiled a perfect night en route to the $10,555 pay day, setting fast time and leading every lap of the main event. Erb and Chad Simpson led the field to the green from the front row. 

The night’s first of seven cautions waved on lap two, and by that point it looked like Ryan Gustin would be Erb’s biggest challenger for the win as he quickly scooted by Simpson and into the runner up spot.  The next 14 laps would go green, quickly putting Erb deep into lapped traffic. 

Gustin and Simpson both made multiple efforts to use the lapped traffic to their advantage and sneak past for the lead, but it was to no avail leading up to the second caution on lap 16.

Tenth-starting Daniel Hilsabeck was the man on the move in the early going charging from 10th on the grid as high as third by lap 17 as he split both Chad and Chris Simpson on the restart. Hilsabeck would go on to finish in seventh and earn the Sunoco Race Fuels Rookie of the Race. 

A total of four cautions plagued the next nine laps, all the while Erb continued to prove to be the class of the field. With the night’s longest green-flag run of 23 laps underway, Erb jumped out to another two second advantage, but this time it would be Chad Simpson finding speed on the top side, forcing Erb to adjust his line as the two time series champion closed in on the top spot. 

Simpson cut the advantage to under a half second in a matter of laps, but Erb made the necessary on track adjustments and was able to hold off Simpson’s advancements leading up to the closing laps.  The night’s final caution would slow the pace with just three laps remaining, giving Simpson one more shot at the race leader. 

Erb would cruise in the final three laps to score his first career Lucas Oil MLRA victory by a margin of 1.531 seconds over Chad Simpson.  Gustin topped off the podium finishers in third while Chris Simpson and MLRA point leader Johnny Scott completed the top five.  

“The car was working real good,” noted Erb. “Those cautions I didn’t really want to see and it got a little dicey there for a little while, but once we were able to get some laps in the car was working really good so I’m proud of that. Heather (Lyne-Crew Chief) showed me they were starting to close in a little bit so I changed my line a little and the car picked up right after that.

“It’s been a good run here for us, and to come here tonight and win this race, we’ve been here quite a few times, and it’s really good to pick this one up.” 

Simpson’s runner up finish was his fourth consecutive MLRA podium finish in regular points events, which allowed him to further close the gap on the championship battle with Johnny Scott.

“There was a few laps out there I don’t think I was points racing I was going for that win,” stated Simpson. “The race track was bad fast tonight.”

The finish:

Feature (50 laps): 1. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[1]; 2. 25-Chad Simpson[2]; 3. 19R-Ryan Gustin[3]; 4. 32S-Chris Simpson[5]; 5. 1ST-Johnny Scott[6]; 6. 75-Terry Phillips[12]; 7. 22-Daniel Hilsabeck[10]; 8. 78S-Steve Stultz[21]; 9. 50C-Kayden Clatt[18]; 10. (DNF) 15V-Kolby Vandenbergh[4]; 11. (DNF) 93J-Jay Johnson[11]; 12. (DNF) 29D-Spencer Diercks[9]; 13. (DNF) 1X-Aaron Marrant[14]; 14. (DNF) 3-Brennon Willard[16]; 15. (DNF) 14M-Reid Millard[22]; 16. (DNF) 1S-Justin Reed[13]; 17. (DNF) 51F-Matt Furman[8]; 18. (DNF) 33F-Rickey Frankel[15]; 19. (DNF) 7B-Mark Burgtorf[17]; 20. (DNF) 42-Johnathan Huston[19]; 21. (DNF) 2M-Matthew Mickelson[26]; 22. (DNF) 78J-Johnny Spaw[24]; 23. (DNF) 44W-David Webster[23]; 24. (DNF) 12-Brandon Queen[25]; 25. (DNF) W56-Gary Webb[20]; 26. (DNF) 18-Shannon Babb[7]

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