‘Terbo’ Tyler Erb Making The Most Of His Best Chance

‘Terbo’ Tyler Erb Making The Most Of His Best Chance

by June 12, 2019 0 comments

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – It’s rare when when rides the quality of Best Performance Motorsports come along in dirt short-track racing. 

That’s the team whose cars and drivers have won the Dirt Track World Championship the past three years, with each victory worth $100,000.

In 2019, the fact that the Best cars have been entrusted to 22-year-old Tyler Erb says volumes about his potential.

So far, the native of New Waverly, Texas — population 1,100 — has shown the decision to hire him by team owner Eric Brock to be a solid choice.

Erb won Feb. 2 at Brunswick, Ga., in his debut in the green No. 1. He won his next two starts, which came at East Bay Raceway near Tampa, Fla., then finished out Georgia-Florida Speedweeks at East Bay with three second-place showings and one third.

“I just got to talking to (crew chief) Randall (Edwards) late last season and we got things worked out,” Erb said in recalling how he landed the primo job. “We all kind of wanted to achieve the same things and chase our dreams and all that.”

Erb’s next attempt to add to his strong 2019 start comes Thursday night when the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series invades Fayetteville Motor Speedway. The objective: To win the $10,000-to-win Dunn-Benson Ford/Wayne Gray Sr. Memorial presented by GETSCO. It’s the 15th event on a 50-race-plus schedule to decide the 2019 Lucas Oil national champion.

Erb, whose nickname is ‘Terbo,’ was something of an under-the-radar choice, mostly because of his age.

But he’s been in the 800-horsepower Super Late Model ranks since he was 15, and he won the fourth start in those vehicles in 2012 at Jones Motor Speedway in Chatham, La.

He’s now in his fourth season of crisscrossing the country and battling the nation’s top drivers. In 2016, he entered 77 events and produced a 12th-place showing as a rookie on the World of Outlaws Late Model circuit. 

Erb ramped that up to 82 races the following year, when he was sixth in Outlaws action, and last year raised his entries to 89 and an eighth-place Outlaws showing.

At the same time, Best Performance captured the Dirt Track World Championship in ’16 with Brandon Sheppard, then produced a repeat the following season with Josh Richards — a victory that saw Richards claim the Lucas Oil championship. Last year, Richards won the race for a second consecutive season and placed second in the points to Jonathan Davenport.

By the end of the 2018 Lucas campaign, Richards had made the decision to move on the Clint Bowyer Racing for ’19. His exit created a vacancy in one of the top rides in the business, and Erb emerged as the pick.

“I think what helped was that I was able to be successful kind of on my own without, let’s say, a smarter crew chief or a guru or something like that,” Erb said. “Making good decisions and winning big races, people get to noticing that.

“And they really like people who can do all aspects. I can drive the truck, work on the car, put motors in — just anything that has to do with racing, I feel like I can do. I feel like that separates me from other people my age.”

It didn’t take long in 2018 for Erb to begin to raise eyebrows and put him on people’s mind when seeking drivers for this year. In the American offseason, he was hired to drive in Australia during its summer and notched three victories. He came back to the U.S. to win a Lucas Oil preliminary at the Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals in September, and later that month swept Outlaws races on back-to-back nights at Atomic Speedway in Ohio.

Then came the Best Performance ride and a near-flawless start, and Erb followed his golden Speedweeks run with a $15,000 victory March 31 at La Salle, Ill., that was sanctioned by the American Ethanol Late Model Tour.

Erb’s pace slowed a bit in May with runs of seventh, 14, second, fifth, sixth and seventh. He was sixth in the most-recent Lucas race in Columbus, Miss., then took fifth in last Saturday’s Dream at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway.

He enters the Fayetteville race third in the standings behind a pair of multi-time Lucas Oil series champs, Davenport and Earl Pearson Jr.

Erb’s best outing in three trips to Fayetteville is a runner-up showing to Sheppard in the 2017 Outlaws race.

“I was really good that night — a race I should’ve won, but it just wasn’t our night to win,” Erb said. “I’m excited to be going there. It’s tricky and hard to pass, so I think qualifying is the main deal there. I just need to get it qualified good and give us a good starting spot.”

Erb is 390 points behind Davenport in the standings, but only 45 behind Pearson for the runner-up position. The Texan is confident he can get back on the type of roll he had to begin the season in order to make a strong bid to win the title.

Davenport “hasn’t had a bad night yet, but it’ll happen because everybody goes through ups and downs,” Erb said. “We’ve had things happen in Lucas races that kind of sucked and things on my part or someone else’s. I definitely think we should be able to give them a run for the money if we can put some good runs together. If it’s meant to be, it’ll be. If not, we’ll still try to do the best we can every single night and see how it plays out.”

The Lucas Oil cars are one of five divisions in action Thursday night. The Diet Mountain Dew Modified, Sportsman, Renegade and Legends classes will round out the program.

Pit gates will open at 3 p.m. and the grandstands will open to fans at 4. Drivers’ meetings will take place at 7 o’clock, followed at 7:30 by hot laps, time trials, heat races and features.

Source: Fayetteville Motor Speedway

Photo Credit: Heath Lawson/Fayetteville Motor Speedway

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