CONCORD, N.C. – The depth of the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series field grew again Tuesday, as 2022 series champion Dennis Erb Jr. announced plans to return for another title chase.
Erb Jr. is back for his sixth World of Outlaws season after finishing eighth in points last year with a win, eight top fives, and 20 top 10s.
Despite not mimicking his 2022 championship campaign last season, the Carpentersville, Ill., driver scored four wins in 101 races overall — three of which paid $20,000 to win or more.
“It wasn’t a bad season,” Erb said. “But it wasn’t what I was expecting. I had a little bit higher hopes than that. Some things just didn’t work out, and things happen that way. We’re just going to regroup here and start off 2024, and hopefully, we have a lot better season.”
While Erb didn’t have the finish he hoped for, he still had a consistent stretch that vaulted him into a battle for fourth in points at the end of the season. Between June 1 at Farmer City Raceway and Oct. 6 at Brownstown Speedway, Erb had 20 top 10s in a 23-race stretch.
That consistency has Erb looking ahead to a second championship this year.
“We got some things going toward the end of the year,” Erb said. “We had some good runs. But we definitely needed to be up closer. We were consistent, and I think that’s one of the main goals to win a championship. I think we’re where we need to be, but we need to keep that consistency rolling.”
One of the places he can get that consistency going is at Volusia Speedway Park when the season opens during the Sunshine Nationals, Jan. 17-20. In six races at Volusia in 2022, Erb only finished outside the top 10 once.
However, that was the opposite last year, as Erb’s best finish at Volusia was 11th in four races.
For Erb, it proved the importance of a fast start in Florida.
“You definitely need to get off to a good start,” Erb said. “Right off the bat, you have to be up front. That definitely helps out. I think last year with us, we definitely started off badly. Right at the beginning, in the first few races, we had some bad finishes, and things weren’t going our way. That really put us behind.
“To try and catch up with the way the points system is, it’s really hard, and I think we need to step it up to get in the top three spots more.”
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