Texas native has four wins in 16 starts
By Phil Whipple - RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer. Photo: Heath Lawson
ST. MARYS, Ohio — As the popularity of dirt late model racing continues to explode across the Midwest and deep south, there are a handful of talented young drivers poised to become household names.
While veterans like Bloomquist, McDowell and Pearson still grab their fair share of the headlines, one particular young wheel-man from the Lone Star state is rising above the rest. Tyler Erb has been on a roll thus far in 2019, with four feature wins in 16 starts.
Erb, 22, of New Waverly, Texas, drives the No. 1 Best Performance Motorsports/New Point Lighting & Design/Rocket XR1/ Durham Racing Engines Super Late Model on the premier Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. This is Erb's first season with the veteran team based in St. Mary's, Ohio.
“Being able to work with Randall Edwards, Colby, and all the guys here has been huge for me,” Erb said. “It's been really nice to have great equipment and to be able to focus more on racing. It's nice not having to worry about the financial side of it and making all the pieces come together.”
These days, the driver is just as busy but can direct his attention to winning races and gaining points.
“I wake up every day now and think about racing, which is what it takes to win,” Erb added. “We had a lot of things go well for us at the beginning of the season. Instead of struggling to get going, we had a lot of speed right off bat. That makes it really exciting as we look forward to the rest of the year.”
Known affectionately as “Terbo” in dirt late model circles, Erb is popular among fans and has a huge core following around the south and Midwest. He loves interacting with those fans when time allows, yet his focus is often on the car as Hot Laps, Qualifying and the all-important A-Main arrives.
“The fans are the ones who love this sport and keep us moving forward,” Erb said. “I appreciate each and every one I have and try to spend as much time with them as I can. I owe it to them for the support. Without all of them, dirt late model racing wouldn't be where it is today.”
In 2019, competition on the premier Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series is tougher than ever. The mix of veterans and rising stars has depth beyond words, making wins and consistent top five finishes a huge challenge. Yet Erb and his well-organized squad are getting the job done.
“We have 60 or 70 races yet to go this year,” Erb added. “It's not like we're done by any means. We still have a ton of big races ahead of us. There are 10 to 15 'Crown Jewels' that our team has circled that we really want to win.”
This spring, as it has done across much of the country, rain has hampered Erb's plans several times.
“The rain has really slowed us down in recent weeks,” Erb explained. “When things get dried out, we plan to go after them hard again. I'm excited about what we can accomplish as the schedule gets busy. This a great opportunity for me, and I'm just doing my best to make the most of it.”
Bob Dillner is the voice of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series on MAVTV and the owner of Speed51.com, the nation's leading website for short track auto racing coverage and Live video production. He's watched Erb develop and knows the young Texan is on a hot streak.
“Tyler has a brash, no-holds barred style of driving, and I like that,” Dillner said. “He’s always been known as a throttle-masher, but in the past year I’ve seen him mature behind the wheel. The verdict is still out as to whether he can contend for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series title this year, but he will in years to come. Bottom line - Tyler Erb is part of the bright future of Dirt Late Model racing.”
Last Sunday, Erb competed in the inaugural Atomic 100 at Atomic Speedway in Chillicothe, Ohio. He won his Heat race, earning the pole for the $10,000-to-win 100-lap A Main. Erb paced the field on two occasions before a flat tire sent him to the pits. He rallied from the back of the field to earn a solid fourth-place finish. An example of the 'never give up' attitude in Tyler Erb.
The month of May will be a busy one as well for Erb and his Lucas Oil series rivals, with 10 races on the slate. The tour will visit the Tazewell (TN) Speedway on Friday, May 3, for the $12,000-to-win Russell Ford 50. On Sat., May 4, they'll compete in the annual Ralph Latham Memorial at Florence Speedway in Union, Kentucky.
“I'm just looking forward to the rest of this season. I have the right equipment, team and partners to succeed. I'll focus on driving and getting best results possible for everybody who makes this happen.”
To keep up with Tyler Erb and the Best Performance Motorsports squad throughout the 2019 season, be follow their social media pages and visit the team's Website at www.bestperformancemotorsports.com.
Photo Credit: Heath Lawson