KNOXVILLE (LOLMDS) – For the second straight night, Tyler Erb won the 25-lap preliminary feature for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series at Knoxville Raceway. Erb took the lead on lap two from Brandon Sheppard and was able to hold him off in a 2-lap shootout, for his third career win at Knoxville.

The 24-year-old Texas native’s 15th career win in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series means he will start on the outside of the front row alongside Tim McCreadie for tomorrow night’s $50,000-to-win Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals presented by Brandt Professional Agriculture. Sheppard crossed the finish line in second followed by Tyler Bruening, Tim McCreadie, and Mike Marlar.

“You never want to see a caution like that,” said Erb who won his sixth Lucas Oil feature of the season. “We ran good enough last night that I didn’t really want to commit myself to running the cushion tonight. I just tried to practice in the heat running the bottom. I could tell somebody was getting a good run on the outside. I figured it was Sheppy. As long as I stayed to the inside getting into three, I didn’t think anyone could ever pass me the way I could drive in and go across. I am thrilled, this is awesome. I am pumped to win here.”

Sheppard started from the pole but fell back to third as both Erb and Bruening went around him on the second lap. Sheppard trailed Bruening until a lap 17 restart when Sheppard went by Bruening for the runner-up spot.

Sheppard tried to track down Erb; a caution flag with two laps to go was just the chance that Sheppard was waiting on. On the green-white-checker Erb was too strong, going on for the victory.

“Congratulations to Tyler and his whole team, they deserve it for sure. They have been doing a heck of a job this year. My guys did a heck of a job putting that thing back together during the heat race. It was definitely a wild night for us. I want to thank everybody who put that thing back together. It meant a lot to me to get back out there and get the heat win. It gave us a better starting spot than we would have had.”

Bruening, last year’s Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series runner-up in the Eibach Springs Rookie-of-the-Year chase, continues his impressive 2021 season coming home in third on Friday Night. “I heard Brandon [Sheppard] say he was good for a couple of laps after those restarts. I felt the same way. I think Tyler was just a little bit better than everybody tonight. He deserved to win. I think we will have something for them in the 100-lapper tomorrow night, hopefully we are up front.”

The winner’s Best Performance Motorsports, Rocket Chassis is powered by a Clements Racing Engine and sponsored by M&W Transport, Roberts Bee Company, Posi Flow, First Class Septic, Bazell Race fuels, Go Lithium, Lucas Oil Products, KBC Graphics, Keyser Manufacturing, and Midwest Sheet Metal.

Completing the top ten were Ricky Thornton Jr., Jimmy Owens, Hudson O’Neal, Kyle Bronson, and Frank Heckenast Jr.

Click HERE for full results from MyRacePass.com.

(Photo by Jim Marsh/Jim’s Photography [click HERE for more])

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