After a hard-fought battle at the Midwest’s premier 4/10-mile dirt track, two World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models drivers found relief from their own ongoing dry spells this weekend. Beginning with Frank Heckenast Jr. who received the best birthday present that any late model driver could ask for on Friday night at Jackson Motorplex. Thanks to finally racing into victory lane for the first time since 2015, the Illinois driver said that he is going to “enjoy this victory for a while for sure!”
Starting this race on the pole, each of Heckenast’s competitors felt that his car would be the one to beat. Despite this compliment, it would not take long before the No. 99 to fall back in the field. Although he would stay within the top 5 throughout this race, it was not until Lap 27 that Heckenast would be given the opportunity to race his way back to the top. Unfortunately, it would take Cade Dillard losing out on what looked like his second win of 2021 after his right rear wheel broke with 13 laps to go.
Although this was heartbreaking for Dillard, it was the miracle that Heckenast needed to race back to the top. Before doing so, he would have to take down the driver that every other driver hates to see in their rearview – The Rocket Brandon Sheppard.
“I was getting passed by Sheppard running the line I thought we should have been in, but then I totally changed up my driving style,” said Heckenast. “When I changed the way, I entered and came off the corner and changed my throttle position the car just started taking off.”
After taking off over Sheppard, Heckenast found a long-drawn-out dry spell come to an end. “This win feels so good,” said Heckenast. “I feel like when everything’s going right, something’s bound to happen, so I was just out there the last couple of laps hoping nothing bad would happen and I am so grateful that I could hang on for the win.”
Moving onto Saturday night, a veteran World of Outlaws driver would also be given the chance to break a losing streak and to have a bright spot in a rather difficult couple of weeks. After starting on the outside pole for the 50 Lap feature race, Dennis Erb Jr. said that he did not know if he would have what it takes to pull off the win. Despite this the driver that competitors began referring to as “The One-Man Band” dominated the first 40-laps of the race. As the laps begun winding down though the caution flags would begin to fly, which would mean that Erb would have to hold off challenges from Friday night’s victor Frank Heckenast Jr. and Brandon Sheppard on a restart with three laps to go. Sheppard threw a slide job to take the lead away but could not hold on as Erb dove to the bottom to wrestle the position away for good.
Although this would be Erb’s second victory of the season, this season is bringing out the driver’s first wins in several years and this win came at the absolute best time. “I lost my uncle a week ago as well as my dog here this week,” said Erb. “Needless to say, it has definitely been a good win for us tonight.”
As these two drivers continue to celebrate a resurgence, the rest of their World of Outlaws competitors will be given a chance to claim their own crowns at their four track tour this week, which begins tomorrow at Gondik Law Speedway. Stay tuned to RacingJunk for the latest news from the dirt.