The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and World of Outlaw Late Model Series remain the two biggest national touring options for late model drivers, teams and fans, falling in behind possibly only the World of Outlaws Sprint Car tour when it comes to overall dirt track racing prestige and popularity. Since 2005, when the LOLMDS was formed, the fight for the number one spot when it came to national series, has been fierce, competitive and overall healthy for the sport of late model racing, causing each divisions' leadership to remain on top of things and constantly coming up with ideas to move their respective touring series forward.
Drivers and teams have played a huge part in the appeal of both forms, from early stars like Billy Moyer, Scott Bloomquist, Tim McCreadie and Steve Francis trading WoOLMS titles during the mid-2000s, to Earl Pearson, Jr. coming out with a bang and taking four-straight LOLMDS trophies, to start the series' history, the early years of both were spent building and feeling out which direction they should be going in. Josh Richards burst in the scene as a young venom, taking his first WoO title in 2009, the first of four, which still remains the most ever, as that same year Scott Bloomquist took home his maiden of three LOLMDS championships.
Throughout the 2010s, Richards continued to dominate the World of Outlaw ranks, as Bloomquist and Jonathan Davenport largely traded titles back-and-forth, with stars like Jimmy Owens, who dominated a three-year stretch, from 2011-2013, getting in on the action and adding his own chapter to the history books. The Rocketman, previously known as Kid Rocket, couldn't just sit and watch the competition level of the LOLMDS without getting in on the fun himself, as he traded rides with Brandon Sheppard, going to Ohio's Best Performance Motorsports and taking on the Lucas Oil Late Model tour, for the first time, in 2017. The West Virginia native wasted no time in making his presence in the series felt, as he denied Scott Bloomquist of a historic fourth crown and Tim McCreadie of becoming a WoOLMS-LOLMDS cross-over champion, grabbing the title for himself and adding the finishing touches to something that we had rarely seen before. During that 2017 championship run, Josh became only the second driver ever to win a title in both the World of Outlaws Late Model Series and Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, with the other being Scott Bloomquist.
I'm sure you're thinking the same as we are right now, the drivers and story-lines, as well as the rivalries that come with them, has been what has made these two series great and interesting to follow over the course of the last few decades. Two drivers that could be set up to become the next two big superstars to compete and challenge for titles in their respective series are Tyler Erb (LOLMDS) and Ricky Weiss (WoOLMS). Erb and Weiss are both fast, have personalities that are far different but both appeal to the masses at a high level and enjoy a partnership with both major sponsors and chassis companies, with Tyler benefiting from Valvoline and Rocket Chassis/Best Performance Motorsports, as Ricky Weiss is partnered with Drydene Performance Products and receives a high amount of technical support from Team ZERO Race Cars/Scott Bloomquist Racing. These two young-guns enjoyed Rookie of the Year honors in their series during the 2019 season, with Tyler Erb finding victory-lane on a number of occasions, finishing fourth in series points, as Weiss took home 13-podium efforts and third-place championship finish, along with grabbing his first series win during the second event of 2020 at Vado Speedway.
There's no question that both Tyler Erb and Ricky Weiss will compete and more-than-likely win titles over the next decade in their respective series, which will link their career paths together in the history books and make fans hope one-day they'll race against each other for a championship crown.
- Mike Ruefer Photo