OSHKOSH, WI — Earl Pearson Jr. survived a side-by-side battle with Dennis Erb Jr. to win his third Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series race of the season on Friday Night at Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway. Pearson’s Dunn-Benson Ford, Lucas Oil Products, Black Diamond Chassis #1 machine took the lead for good on lap 29.
Pearson’s win in the first series visit to the state of Wisconsin in nine years allows him to stay on top the series points standings. He captured the victory over Jimmy Mars, Erb, Devin Moran, and Jared Landers.
“This is the first-time we have ever been here; this is a really nice facility and race track. It looked like they had a heck of a crowd here tonight and I want to thank all of the fans for coming out tonight to support the series. I want to thank my crew and the track crew for all of their hard work; the track was just tremendous all night! Erb and I went door-to-door for what seemed liked forever. He ran me clean, and we gave each other plenty of room out there.”
“We were catching him [Erb] before the caution came out. Then, after we went green again, it was on. I’d lead a lap, and then Erb would, back and forth! This had to be great for the fans. We were able to finally get away from him and I also see that Mars got by him at the end. I’d also like to thank my car owners, Carlton and Kemp Lamm, my crew chief, John Pfeffer, Brian “Catfish” Lucas, and everybody else along with Lucas Oil Products, Midwest Sheet Metal, Moree’s Enterprises, Sunoco Race Fuels, Ohlins, and Andy Durham Racing Engines.”
Erb was looking to make a clean sweep of the night’s racing as he set overall fast time and won his heat to earn the outside-front-row for the 50 lap main event. Erb led the first 21 laps of the race until Pearson, who started third took the lead for the first time. The race was slowed by only one caution on lap 19 for debris.
Mars came on strong towards the end of the race. With his home state crowd on its feet, Mars bolted ahead of Erb on the final lap to grab second. “Yeah, that was a pretty exciting finish. We came up really well on the bottom. We were picking off cars every lap, but we just fell one more pass short for the win. I want to thank all these fans for coming out. It’s good to showcase these nice facilities we have here in Wisconsin. We don’t get too many big races like this around here anymore,” said the driver of the Deppe Enterprises, Mid-States Equipment, MB Customs Chevy.
“Our car started getting tight towards the end,” said Erb, who wound up third in the final rundown. “We had a really good car all night, and I thought if I got out in front it would be hard for them to catch me. I am really pleased with this McBride Mack, M&S Concrete, Jay Dickens Racing Engines, and Barry Wright Race Car. We get to go to LaSalle tomorrow night; one of the tracks I cut my teeth on!”
Completing the top ten were Don O’Neal, Brandon Sheppard, Chad Simpson, Scott Bloomquist, and Jason Feger.
Chris Brown received 75 hardship points after being unable to attend tonight’s event.
In preliminary action, Dennis Erb Jr. set the overall Miller Welders Fast Time (Group B) amongst the 29 entrants, with a lap of 14.959 seconds. Don O’Neal set the fastest time in Group A with a time of 15.099 seconds. Don O’Neal, Earl Pearson Jr., Dennis Erb Jr., and Chris Simpson won their respective heat races. Tim McCreadie and Steve Francis won their respective B-Mains.
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-Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Press Release. Photo credit: Rick Schwallie