West Burlington, IA (July 2nd, 2022) – Dennis Erb Jr. scored a dominating 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 enroute to the $10,555 pay day, scoring the Dirt On Dirt Fast Time award, the Slick Mist Pole Award, while leading every lap of the main event.
A total of 26 cars checked in for battle with Erb Jr. and Chad Simpson leading the field to the green from the front row. The nights 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 tenth on the grid as high as 3rd by lap 17 as he split both Chad and Chris Simpson on the restart. Hilsabeck would go on to finish in 7th and earn the Sunoco Race Fuels Rookie of the Race. A total of 4 cautions plagued the next nine laps, all the while Erb continued to prove to be the class of the field.
With the nights longest green flag run of twenty-three 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 of his XR1 Rocket following the main event from Cedar Creek Beef Jerky Victory Lane. “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.”
“I knew I was in trouble when the race started I was just way too tight, and we kinda got going there and got rolling. About lap 35 I kind of got myself into a good momentum and got rolling. It felt like I was catching Dennis and we had a good shot at him there a few times, but he was a better race car tonight and we’re just happy for 2nd.”
It’s a quick turn-a-round for the teams of the Lucas Oil MLRA, as they catch up with their counter parts from the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series for the co-sanctioned “Gopher 50” Presented by NAPA Auto Parts July 7th, 8th, & 9th at the Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, MN. Preliminary action on Thursday and Friday will feature complete $5,000 to win main events, setting the stage for Saturday nights $50,000 to win crown jewel event.
34 Raceway Contingencies 7/2/22
Lap Leaders – Dennis Erb Jr. (1 – 50 )
Cautions – 7
DirtonDirt.com “Overall Fast Time Award” – Dennis Erb Jr. ( 5.227 sec.)
Lucas Oil Slick Mist “Pole Award” – Dennis Erb Jr.
Outerwears Crew Chief of the Race – Heather Lyne
Hooker Harness “11th Place Finisher” – Spencer Diercks
Performance Bodies “Performer of the Race” – Dennis Erb Jr.
Sunoco “Rookie of the Race” – Daniel Hilsabeck
Swift Springs “Move of the Race” – Daniel Hilsabeck
Midwest Sheet Metal “Points Leader Spoiler Challenge” – Johnny Scott
A Feature Lucas Oil 50 Laps | 00:59:45.507 | Lucas Oil
- 28-Dennis Erb Jr; 2. 25-Chad Simpson; 3. 19R-Ryan Gustin; 4. 32S-Chris Simpson; 5. 1ST-Johnny Scott; 6. 75-Terry Phillips; 7. 22-Daniel Hilsabeck; 8. 78S-Steve Stultz; 9. 50C-Kayden Clatt; 10. (DNF) 15V-Kolby Vandenbergh; 11. (DNF) 93J-Jay Johnson; 12. (DNF) 29D-Spencer Diercks; 13. (DNF) 1X-Aaron Marrant; 14. (DNF) 3-Brennon Willard; 15. (DNF) 14M-Reid Millard; 16. (DNF) 1S-Justin Reed; 17. (DNF) 51F-Matt Furman; 18. (DNF) 33F-Rickey Frankel; 19. (DNF) 7B-Mark Burgtorf; 20. (DNF) 42-Johnathan Huston; 21. (DNF) 2M-Matthew Mickelson; 22. (DNF) 78J-Johnny Spaw; 23. (DNF) 44W-David Webster; 24. (DNF) 12-Brandon Queen; 25. (DNF) W56-Gary Webb; 26. (DNF) 18-Shannon Babb
Heat 1 My Race Pass 8 Laps | 00:04:18.694 | My Race Pass
- 28-Dennis Erb Jr; 2. 15V-Kolby Vandenbergh; 3. 18-Shannon Babb; 4. 22-Daniel Hilsabeck; 5. 1S-Justin Reed; 6. 3-Brennon Willard; 7. 42-Johnathan Huston; 8. 14M-Reid Millard; 9. 12-Brandon Queen
Heat 2 Hooker Harness 8 Laps | 00:03:53.556 | Hooker Harness
- 25-Chad Simpson; 2. 32S-Chris Simpson; 3. 51F-Matt Furman; 4. 93J-Jay Johnson; 5. 1X-Aaron Marrant; 6. 7B-Mark Burgtorf; 7. W56-Gary Webb; 8. 44W-David Webster; 9. (DNF) 2M-Matthew Mickelson
Heat 3 Midwest Sheet Metal 8 Laps | 00:02:49.247 | Midwest Sheet Metal
1. 19R-Ryan Gustin; 2. 1ST-Johnny Scott; 3. 29D-Spencer Diercks; 4. 75-Terry Phillips; 5. 33F-Rickey Frankel; 6. 50C-Kayden Clatt; 7. 78S-Steve Stultz; 8. (DNF) 78J-Johnny Spaw