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TERBO TIME: Erb Invades Summer Nationals, Wins Return to Racing at Red Hill
Points leader Pierce takes DNF, rookie Freeman posts career-best finish
SUMNER, IL – June 28, 2022 – In Red Hill Raceway’s return to racing for the first time in nearly 18 years Tuesday night, Tyler Erb made the most of his first DIRTcar Summer Nationals appearance in two seasons, dominating the evening for his fifth career Hell Tour victory.
On paper, the box scores show he led all 30 laps, green-to-checkered. But this was anything but a cakewalk victory for the 25-year-old from New Waverly, TX, as he held off a hungry field of multiple Summer Nationals champions behind him to collect the $5,000 check.
From the outside pole, Erb grabbed the lead on Lap 1 and began a wild chase with Summer Nationals points leader Bobby Pierce around the 3/8-mile. They reached lapped traffic only eight circuits in, creating an interesting obstacle for the leaders to navigate.
“I’d run hard, feel like we got a comfortable lead, and then hit lapped cars immediately – which kinda makes it hairy,” Erb said. “I’d try to wait, wait, then when I’d get to a lapped car, just pass them as fast as I can and not follow them for a lap or two.”
Erb defended through the halfway point with Pierce stalking closely behind him until Lap 16, when Pierce slowed coming out of Turn 4 and spun around; a small flame coming from under the hood. The reigning champion was pushed back to the pits, done for the night, scored in 13th-place.
That opened the door for four-time champion Brian Shirley to stake his claim for the lead, though he was largely unsuccessful. Over the final fourteen laps, Shirley gave Erb a few challenges for the top spot, but ultimately came up just one spot short.
“Randall [Edwards, crew chief] would show me a lead, then he’d close-up, show me a bit of a lead, then close-up,” Erb said. “With five-to-go, I swear I must’ve passed a lapped car or [Shirley] must’ve hit a hole, and he showed me a big lead, and the next lap I came by, he showed me [Shirley] was right on my butt.”
Shirley’s best chance came in the final laps, where Erb got held-up by a big pack of slower cars in multiple lanes right in front of him, slowing his pace enough to allow Shirley to close rapidly. Erb carefully navigated through them and even survived a last-ditch swipe at the lead out of Turn 4 by Shirley to hang on for the win.
“With five to go, the lapped cars were literally four-wide in front of me,” Erb said. “That was probably the sketchiest part of the whole deal. I just didn’t want to get tangled up with them.”
Summer Nationals rookie standout Payton Freeman came from eighth to finish third – a new personal best on the tour. Four-time champion Shannon Babb ran inside the top-five all night and came home fourth, while 2010 champion Jason Feger rounded out the top-five.
The Summer Nationals Late Model action continues Wednesday night at Benton Speedway in Benton, MO – returning for the first time since 1997. If you can’t be at the track, watch every lap live on DIRTVision.
ABBREVIATED RESULTS (view full results)
Feature 30 Laps | 00:16:45.654
1. 1-Tyler Erb; 2. 3S-Brian Shirley; 3. F1-Payton Freeman; 4. 18-Shannon Babb; 5. 25-Jason Feger; 6. 15- Christian Hanger; 7. 31AUS-Paul Stubber; 8. 14G-Joe Godsey; 9. 0-Deshawn Gingerich; 10. 30-Mark Voigt; 11. 17-Lee Williams; 12. 23NZ-Mick Quin; 13. 32-Bobby Pierce; 14. 86-Kyle Beard; 15. 15F-Richard Frost; 16. 44X-Devin McLean; 17. 26M-Brent McKinnon; 18. 81J-Jack Riggs; 19. 11K-Shannon Kuhn; 20. 14R-Jeff Roth; 21. 4D-Doug Tye; 22. 21-Billy Moyer Jr; 23. (DNS) 89-Ashton Winger; 24. (DNS) 44-Blaze Burwell
EIGHT IS GREAT: Hoffman Wins Eighth of Season at Red Hill Debut
Not only did Red Hill Raceway reopen its gates to the public for the first time in nearly 18 years Tuesday night, but it now has an honorable distinction of hosting two generations of UMP Modified stars on its front-stretch Victory Lane.
Nick Hoffman grew up watching father Darrell Hoffman race and win multiple times on the big 3/8-mile red dirt oval in the late 1990s through the early 2000s. Fast forward to 2022, and Nick himself now stands exactly where one of his racing heroes did with his trip to DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals Victory Lane for the eighth time in 10 races Tuesday night.
“A lot of times, he’d come over here and run, or we’d go down to Paducah and run a little bit,” Hoffman said, reminiscing on the days in the grandstands watching his father. “At this time, I would’ve been five, six, seven years old. I remember bits and pieces of this place.”
In short, Hoffman led all but one lap en route to his 64th career Summit Modified triumph. It was a dominating performance in which no driver challenged him once he got the lead throughout the 20-lap main event.
Several cautions were spread throughout the race, but Hoffman held strong out front by changing restart lanes.
“I restarted on the top almost every single time, except that last one where I moved out to the top to get a better run down the hill,” Hoffman said. “I just tried to change it up a little bit with it being a single-file restart; It makes it a little bit tougher being the leader.”
The Summit Modified action continues Wednesday night at Benton Speedway in Benton, MO – the second track debut in two days for the Modifieds. If you can’t be at the track, watch every lap live on DIRTVision.
ABBREVIATED RESULTS (view full results)
Feature 20 Laps | 00:26:46.562
1. 2-Nick Hoffman; 2. 8-Kyle Steffens; 3. 37-Everett Bradham; 4. 1S-Brian Shaw; 5. 95X-Marty Lindeman; 6. 55-justin Jones; 7. 95-Ed Roley; 8. 36-Kenny Wallace; 9. 7-Willie Gammill; 10. 69L-Josh Lemke; 11. 66- Michael Fox; 12. 77-Jim Shipman; 13. K9-Will Krup; 14. 81-Logan Mounce; 15. 24L-Lacey Risley; 16. 88- Bill Dugger; 17. 130-Chase Allen; 18. 79D-John DeMoss; 19. 71-Rick Frasure; 20. 92-Kenny Carmichael; 21. 16C-John Clippinger; 22. 71X-Dave Beck; 23. 30-Mike Beatty; 24. (DNS) 50-Tyler Weiss; 25. (DNS) 99D- Nathan Deisher