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Tyler Erb (Mike Ruefer photo)

It’s All Tyler Erb In Summer Nationals Opener

PEORIA, Ill. — In his first race out on the DIRTcar Summer Nationals in 2024, Tyler Erb made a clear statement to his competition Wednesday night — he didn’t come to play games.

Erb, 27, won his fifth career Summer Nationals feature in dominant fashion, leading all 30 laps. He started alongside polesitter Dennis Erb Jr., ripped the high side around the banked quarter-mile bullring on lap one to snatch the lead, and never looked back as he raced to his first win on the Hell Tour in nearly two years.

“It feels good, it’s what it’s supposed to be,” Erb said. “When you do everything right that’s how it’s supposed to go. A lot of nights it doesn’t go like that so you gotta be happy when things go your way.”

After making only two appearances on the Hell Tour in the past two seasons due to his national tour commitments, Erb and the Best Performance Motorsports team recently decided not to continue down the same path for 2024 and instead settled on a pick-and-choose schedule for the rest of the season.

When deciding where next to race, it was simple for Erb.

“I like the Hell Tour, I like the race tracks,” he said.

Erb grabbed the lead on the opening lap and was forced to execute multiple clean restarts as the caution flag flew twice in the first seven laps. With past Summer Nationals champions Erb Jr. and Jason Feger behind him, Erb got the jump he needed to keep his lead.

“Racing a lot, I feel like I’m a seasoned veteran and that’s what you’re supposed to do,” Erb said. “Restarts is just another aspect of the race and you gotta make good decisions to be able to restart and maintain the lead.”

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Tyler Erb (Mike Ruefer photo)

The race’s final caution came on lap seven and after maintaining his lead on the restart, Erb started to build his lead on the rest of the field. Erb Jr. kept pace with the leader in the early going but Erb soon found his groove around the track, using the top, middle and bottom lanes to open a gap of over two seconds in the second half of the race.

“[Turns] one and two after the first couple of laps I pretty much knew where to be,” Erb said. “[Turns] three and four I wasn’t sure and then I seen the [infield] tires get pushed in and I just made the decision that I was gonna enter as low as possible and if somebody got a run they would have to cross me over.”

Despite catching lapped traffic on lap 18, Erb maintained his gap on Erb Jr. and the rest of the field, weaving inside and outside of the slower cars. He kept it clean in the final laps and crossed under the checkered flag to collect the $5,000 grand prize.

The finish:

Feature (30 Laps): 1. 1-Tyler Erb[2]; 2. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[1]; 3. 8-Dillon McCowan[6]; 4. 25-Jason Feger[3]; 5. 33-Kye Blight[4]; 6. 27-Rodney Melvin[8]; 7. T2-Brayton Wallace[12]; 8. 32-Bobby Pierce[16]; 9. 25W-Allen Weisser[18]; 10. 96-Tanner English[17]; 11. 22*-Max McLaughlin[14]; 12. 4G-Bob Gardner[11]; 13. 38J-Jake Little[10]; 14. 14JR-Trey Mills[15]; 15. 58-Tyler Clem[22]; 16. 38-Thomas Hunziker[19]; 17. 17-Andy Clark[21]; 18. D1-Turk Letizia[13]; 19. 22-Daniel Hilsabeck[5]; 20. 187-David McCoy[7]; 21. 30-Mark Voigt[9]; 22. 4D-Doug Tye[20]