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Erb Extends UMP DIRTcar Racing Late Model National Points Lead Over Steidinger With Two Weekends Of Action Remaining

By Kevin Kovac
EVANSVILLE , IN – Sept. 26, 2007 – Dennis Erb Jr.’s late-season surge continued last weekend, moving him closer to a career-first UMP DIRTcar Racing Late Model national championship.

On the strength of a victory and runner-up finish, Erb, 35, of Carpentersville , Ill. , extended his lead in the national standings to 36 points over 24-year-old Wes Steidinger of Fairbury , Ill. Just this weekend’s weekly-track action and the Oct. 5-6 UMP DIRTcar Racing Fall Nationals at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg , Ohio , remain in the points season.

Erb entered last weekend’s competition holding a slight four-point edge over Steidinger, who had his long run atop the standings end following the weekend of Sept. 14-16. But Erb’s advantage ballooned thanks to a pair of solid performances – a second-place finish on Sept. 21 at Kankakee ( Ill. ) Motor Speedway and a win on Sept. 22 at Kamp Motor Speedway in Boswell , Ind. (his 21st overall triumph of 2007).

Steidinger finished second to Erb at Kamp, but an early exit from Friday night’s A-Main at Kankakee due to an accident left him with a crushing 17th-place finish. The DNF continued a rough stretch for Steidinger, who had to take his favorite car back to C.J. Rayburn’s shop for repairs after it was damaged in a hard Sept. 15 crash at Kamp.

With the $20,000 UMP DIRTcar Racing national points title determined using a driver’s best 50 finishes (bonus points are also given on a one-point-per-car basis for fields of 21-40 cars), both Erb and Steidinger are looking to replace their lowest points totals to gain markers. Erb’s worst finish remaining in 63 starts is a ninth place with 58 points, and Steidinger’s worst finish in 72 starts is a seventh place with 66 points.

Erb is planning to chase UMP DIRTcar Racing national points this weekend at Kankakee (Friday), Kamp (Saturday) and Quad City Speedway in East Moline , Ill. (Sunday). Steidinger also has the Kankakee and Quad City shows on his schedule; he has a race at Peoria ( Ill. ) Speedway listed for Saturday, but it’s a non-point event that Erb also had on his schedule until replacing it with Kamp’s points event.

The bottom line is that Steidinger must right his ship with strong finishes this weekend – and hope that Erb doesn’t continue to roll up wins and seconds. If Steidinger can shave off a bit of Erb’s lead, then next weekend’s UMP DIRTcar Racing Fall Nationals at Eldora Speedway could become a dramatic points-season finale.

Erb, who finished second in the 2006 national points race, is looking to become the first driver to win the UMP DIRTcar Racing Summernationals and national points titles in the same season. Steidinger, meanwhile, is gunning for a career-first national title after finishing fifth in last year’s standings.

For more information UMP DIRTcar Racing, visit www.umpracing.com.

2007 UMP DIRTcar Racing Late Model National Points Standings as of Sept. 26 (Rank/Driver/Points/Races Counted – Maximum of 50):
1. Dennis Erb Jr. 3373 50
2. Wes Steidinger 3337 50
3. Randy Korte 3214 50
4. Steve Sheppard Jr. 3170 50
5. Jason Feger 2990 50
6. Kevin Cole 2905 50
7. Ryan Dauber 2637 50
8. Mike Hammerle 2632 50
9. Mike Schulte 2556 50
10. Kevin Weaver 2478 50
11. Richie Hedrick 2467 47
12. Rusty Griffaw 2429 50
13. Scott Bull 2422 50
14. Jeep VanWormer 2405 42
15. Brian Ruhlman 2401 43
16. Rusty Schlenk 2342 47
17. Rodney Melvin 2208 41
18. Don O’Neal 2154 36
19. Ed Dixon 2123 46
20. Shannon Babb 2107 35
21. Joe Harlan 2039 43
22. Rick DeLong 1930 34
23. Ryan Unzicker 1921 47
24. Mark Voigt 1904 44
25. Dustin Mooneyham 1902 42
26. Daren Friedman 1857 37
27. Brian Diveley 1827 36
28. Chris Dick 1778 41
29. Chris Shelton 1775 46
30. Billy Faust 1773 36
31. Billy Moyer 1770 30
32. Frankie Martin 1747 38
33. Michael Kloos 1704 38
34. Eric Smith 1689 33
35. Matt Taylor 1671 31
36. Mike Marlar 1656 29
37. Ted Loomis 1644 42
38. Mike Mataragas 1640 39
39. Frank Shickel Jr. 1634 37
40. Brad Looney 1630 32
41. Dusty Moore 1605 32
42. Bryan Collins 1603 32
43. Kerry Mathew 1601 38
44. Mark Faust 1577 30
45. Kevin Reeve 1574 32
46. Chad Zobrist 1573 35
47. Rick Salter 1523 30
48. Brandon McCormick 1520 30
49. Larry Jones 1516 33
50. Donny Walden 1512 39