Race Weekend Central

This Day in Dirt: Dennis Erb Jr. Catfishes 2nd Flo Win in a Week, Ryan Godown Flips for 2nd Time in a Month

Dirt Racing’s Winning Moment: Dennis Erb Jr.’s trademark low-line proved unstoppable at Davenport Speedway in Iowa Wednesday night (May 17), as he scored his second Flo Racing Night in America victory in a week, keeping Hudson O’Neal at bay after winning a pitched battle with Mason Zeigler.

The Midwest swing of both Flo Racing and Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series events on Erb’s home turf have breathed new life into what so far had been a disappointing season for last year’s World of Outlaws late model champ, with Erb’s car the fastest on track for almost the entirety of Wednesday’s feature.


Dirt Racing’s Dramatic Moment: Ryan Godown went for a violent ride early in the Diamond State 50 feature at Delaware International Speedway, appearing to hit a rut in turn 1 that sent his trademark No. 26 tumbling.

Godown was fortunately uninjured in the incident.

What Dirt Racing Fans’ll Be Group Chatting About This Morning

Between winning two races in the last week and his run in with O’Neal, Dennis Erb Jr. is arguably the headline name in super late model racing, at least this week. The $64,000 question is whether this home-turf run can translate into actual momentum on the WoO tour, where Erb currently sits a distant ninth in points in what has been a very quiet start to his title defense. 

That tour, where Erb is running full time, has a six-race run coming through the Northeast and Ohio before returning to the Midwest and Erb is going to have to start running better in those races if he’s going to have a prayer of catching a much more stacked field than he bested a year ago. It bodes well for that tour to have their defending champ suddenly returning to relevance.

The DirtonDirt guys are no strangers to hyping up the venues that host Flo Racing Night in America events, but that went to another level this Wednesday, with two of their commentators labelling Davenport the nation’s top late model track. Yes, Davenport is good (their recent Lucas Oil MLRA race was stellar), but the stats from the feature didn’t bear out this hyperbole, with Erb dominant out front and the hard charger (Kyle Bronson going from 18th to sixth) having no bearing on the actual outcome of the race.

Davenport’s a great racetrack and Wednesday’s race was worth watching. But given 2023 has had literally four race of the year candidates in the super late model ranks, the hype can cool down a little

I don’t care what the intent was, Zeigler’s paint scheme Wednesday has to be viewed as a failure. Namely, because not only the car number, but the sponsors on said car, were literally illegible to anyone streaming the race on Flo. Duct tape numbers would have been more effective.

Getting away from Davenport, Eldora Speedway made news for banning the use of signal sticks from this year’s dirt late model Dream and their other super late model races (Dirtrackr’s Justin Fiedler speculated that the Dirt Track World Championship will allow them, as that event is a Lucas Oil event). Hooray. Nothing like a rule change that will be about as effective at ending signaling to drivers as the yellow-line rule is at preventing wrecks in NASCAR racing.

This spring has been a decent one for transparency in sprint car racing. In the best example of said transparency from promoters since Jacksonville Speedway’s now-famous Facebook post breaking down their operating costs and revenue from a weekly race, Brad Sweet and Kyle Larson both took time to do a post-event assessment from Wayne County Speedway after Tuesday’s High Limit Racing event. 

While not done to the level of granular detail that Jacksonville did, seeing promoters getting their names and faces out there is a best practice that any short track or racing series should emulate.

Dirt Racing’s Hero of the Day

The Diamond State 50 feature at Delaware Wednesday will hardly go down as a classic for the Short Track Super Series given Billy Pauch Jr.’s dominance at the front of the field, but Alex Yankowski’s 14th-to-second run at least made it so Pauch had to stay honest in the closing laps.

Dirt Racing’s Victim of the Night

Godown. See above. The flip he endured Wednesday was his second this month after enduring another hard crash at New Egypt Speedway two weekends ago.

Numbers Game


Number of dirt tracks to run an oval-track program in the U.S. Wednesday night.


The nation’s largest car count Wednesday night, Wingless Wednesday at Shellhammer Dirt Track in Pennsylvania.


The nation’s largest purse Wednesday night, paid to the Flo Racing late model winner at Davenport (Erb).

Up Next: Frontstretch will be back Monday morning (May 22) with coverage of the weekend’s dirt racing, which will see almost every national tour contesting events.

About the author

Richmond, Virginia native. Wake Forest University class of 2008. Affiliated with Frontstretch since 2008, as of today the site's first dirt racing commentator. Emphasis on commentary. Big race fan, bigger First Amendment advocate.

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