It was a long time coming, and in 2022, it finally got here. One of Dirt Late Model racing’s hardest working and most steadfast competitors earned a long sought after national touring series title. For the first time in his career, Dennis Erb Jr. was crowned as the World of Outlaws Case Construction Late Model Series champion at the end of the 2022 campaign. It was a well-received achievement that served as both the realization of a goal and a relief for the 50-year-old driver.
“It’s real satisfying,” Erb declared in an interview with InsideDirtRacing.com. “It’s something that I always wanted to accomplish, and finally, we were able to get it done last year. It was a real good deal to be able to win that and I’m proud of our accomplishment.”
Not only was the 2016 Dirt Late Model Dream winner happy but there were many in the racing community who were glad to see the Carpentersville, Illinois racer hoist a championship trophy at the end of the season. It was a source of pride to know that so many were glad to see everything come together as it did.
“Yeah, I did,” he replied when asked if he felt the Dirt Late Model world rooting for him as the season played out. “I’ve had a lot of backing, a lot of people came up to me to congratulate me because we were able to do it along the way. I was proud to see the following for that. Like I said, it just feels real good to be able to go out there up and down the road doing this and be able to win that.”
After a hiatus of almost a month, the World of Outlaws Late Model Series is about to jump back into action with three consecutive points-paying features this weekend at Volusia Speedway Park. After finally bursting through the championship door in 2022, the three-time DIRTcar Summer Nationals champion would obviously love to earn a second WoO crown. At the same time, he is not putting undue pressure on himself.
“There’s no pressure to do it again but we’re definitely going to go out there and try our best to do it again,” he stated. “That’s something we want to do, keep running up front and hopefully go back and do it again. Winning it once isn’t nearly enough. You always want to go back out and do it one more time.”
Erb and crew chief Heather Lyne race a lot over the course of each season. The pair have rolled through the pit gate of a race track more than 90 times per season over the last four years. Even though the No. 28 Rocket Chassis is entered as a regular on the World of Outlaws circuit, a number of races outside that tour are contested by this team as well. Erb won a Castrol FloRacing Night in America Series event last year at Lincoln(IL) Speedway and Lucas Oil MLRA Series show at Iowa’s 34 Raceway to go along with his World of Outlaws triumphs.
How does a driver competing for a national series crown decide when and where to race away from his regular tour, especially as it became more and more apparent last year that he was a serious threat to win the championship?
“We just have to sit back and look at our schedules and see where we’re at and concentrate on the World of Outlaws again,” Erb explained. “That’s our main objective then we take a look and see which races are around and make sense to go to. Naturally, while we’re down here for SpeedWeeks, we’ll race as much as we can and try to get some things figured out.”
With all the big money races on the schedules of the last couple of seasons, drivers and teams have to carefully consider staying on the road and working through exhaustion when things are going well.
“Definitely, once you get going on a roll you want to keep the momentum rolling,” Erb pointed out. “You don’t really like to stop. Nowadays with the way the scheduling is, there really is no time to stop. We finish up in late November and get back at here in January. There’s not very much time to really reflect on last season or anything. We’ve just got to keep working and chipping away at it. Once we get going and things are going good, you want to keep rolling.”
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