Thornton Goes Back-to-Back in Iowa; Regains Championship Points Lead
WEST BURLINGTON, Iowa (May 20, 2023) – Ricky Thornton Jr. went to the lead on lap 18 of the CRST – The Transportation Solution 50 at 34 Raceway and never looked back to score his fifth series win of the season.
Thornton, who was also victorious on Friday night has now retaken the Big River Steel Chase for the Championship presented by ARP points lead heading into the Show-Me 100 weekend at Lucas Oil Speedway, May 25th-27th. With the $15,000 victory Thornton becomes the first series driver to eclipse the $100,000 mark in earnings this season.
Tim McCreadie, who ran second to Thornton on Friday night held the lead for the first 17 laps until Thornton made the pass for the lead and went on unchallenged for the rest of the race. Brandon Overton finished second with Spencer Hughes rounding out the Big River Steel Podium in third.
The remainder of the top five finishers were Earl Pearson Jr. and Chris Simpson.
With Thornton out front, McCreadie maintained the second spot but had lost several car lengths to the leader. A caution with 12 laps to go gave McCreadie a shot at Thornton. On the restart McCreadie jumped to the top groove heading into turns one and two, but his momentum was too much as he slipped off the track which allowed several drivers to get by and he fell to 12th in the running order.
The final caution appeared with nine laps remaining which set up a single-file restart. Thornton again showed his strength as he pulled away from Overton and Hughes as he went on record his tenth career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory.
Thornton has ridden a wave of emotions after winning on Friday night as he and his family escaped uninjured after his apparel trailer left the highway and flipped en route to 34 Raceway. “It’s definitely been all over the place [my emotions]. We won last night at Farley and when we left last night, I barely got the trailer off the road and then it flipped. Luckily me and my family was safe. I didn’t how good we would be here tonight. It’s nice to bounce back from that. I want to thank all the fans who bought stuff today, it helps us out.”
“There at the beginning of the race the track was really better than I thought it was, especially in one and two,” Thornton added. “I was trying to keep my pace and I was trying to keep my tires under me. Once I got to traffic you have to go where they are not. Once Tim committed to the top, I thought I would just stay on the bottom. It worked out for me. I think we went three-wide a couple of times getting through traffic.”
Overton, who sits third in the championship standings came home in the runner-up spot. “I have never been to these places so what to adjust or not adjust we weren’t sure. I couldn’t run down in there and steer, cause I would shove up the hill. That was a pretty good race from second on back. Congrats to those guys. It was an awesome track; it was my first time here. You could run through the bottom or middle.”
Hughes rounded out the podium with his third-place finish. “You definitely had to be real patient tonight. I wasn’t quite as good as Ricky and Brandon in the slick. I had to catch that last little bit of moisture down by the tires. I was able to do that. I caught some breaks on a couple of those restarts. We will take this finish and head to Wheatland with some momentum.”
The winner’s Todd and Vickie Burns-owned, SSI Motorsports, Longhorn Chassis is powered by a Clements Racing Engine and sponsored by Big River Steel, Hoker Trucking, Sub-Surface of Indiana, Dyno One, Inc., West Side Tractor Sales, D&E Outdoor Service, Certified Inspection Service Company, Inc., Sunoco Race Fuels, Bilstein Shocks, Midwest Sheet Metal, and Murty Farms.
Completing the top ten were Hudson O’Neal, Mason Zeigler, Tyler Erb, Jimmy Owens, and Max Blair.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
CRST, The Transportation Solutions 50
Saturday, May 20, 2023
34 Raceway – West Burlington, IA
Allstar Performance Time Trials
Fast Time Group A: Tyler Bruening / 15.026 seconds (overall)
Fast Time Group B: Earl Pearson, Jr. / 15.122 seconds
Penske Shocks Heat Race #1 Finish (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 39-Tim McCreadie; 2. 16-Tyler Bruening; 3. 99-Devin Moran; 4. 25C-Chad Simpson; 5. 58-Garrett Alberson; 6. 29-Spencer Diercks; 7. 93-Jay Johnson
Summit Racing Products Heat Race #2 Finish (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr; 2. 76-Brandon Overton; 3. 1H-Hudson O'Neal; 4. 111B-Max Blair; 5. 99B-Boom Briggs; 6. 17-Tim Simpson; 7. 12-Brandon Queen
Simpson Race Products Heat Race #3 (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 46-Earl Pearson Jr; 2. 11-Spencer Hughes; 3. 32-Chris Simpson; 4. 18D-Daulton Wilson; 5. 1T-Tyler Erb; 6. 7-Ross Robinson; 7. 33-Rickey Frankel
AP1 Insurance Heat Race #4 (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 20-Jimmy Owens; 2. 49-Jonathan Davenport; 3. 25Z-Mason Zeigler; 4. 22-Daniel Hilsabeck; 5. 49T-Jake Timm; 6. 51-Matt Furman; 7. (DNS) 42-Johnathan Huston
Fast Shafts B-Main Race #1 (10 Laps, Top 6 Transfer): 1. 58-Garrett Alberson; 2. 1T-Tyler Erb; 3. 49T-Jake Timm; 4. 99B-Boom Briggs; 5. 29-Spencer Diercks; 6. 7-Ross Robinson; 7. 51-Matt Furman; 8. 93-Jay Johnson; 9. 17-Tim Simpson; 10. 12-Brandon Queen; 11. (DNS) 33-Rickey Frankel; 12. (DNS) 42-Johnathan Huston
CRST, The Transportation Solution 50 Feature Finish (50 Laps):
Terminal Maintenance & Construction Pole Sitter: Tim McCreadie
Lap Leaders: Tim McCreadie (Laps 1-17); Ricky Thornton, Jr. (Laps 18-50)
Wieland Feature Winner: Ricky Thornton, Jr.
Arizona Sport Shirts Crown Jewel Cup Feature Winner: n/a
Brandon Ford TV Challenge Feature Winner: n/a
Margin of Victory: 1.741 seconds
Gorsuch Performance Solutions Cautions: Daulton Wilson (Lap 38); Jonathan Davenport (Lap 41)
Fast Time Provisional: Matt Furman; Rickey Frankel
Series Emergency Provisionals: n/a
Track Provisional: n/a
Big River Steel Podium Top 3: Ricky Thornton, Jr., Brandon Overton, Spencer Hughes
Penske Shocks Top 5: Ricky Thornton, Jr., Brandon Overton, Spencer Hughes, Earl Pearson, Jr., Chris Simpson
Todd Steel Buildings Hard Charger of the Race: Tyler Erb (Advanced 10 Positions)
Wilwood Brakes Lucky 7th Place Feature: Mason Zeigler
Deatherage Opticians Lucky 13th Place Feature: Devin Moran
Earnhardt Technologies Most Laps Led: Ricky Thornton, Jr. (33 Laps)
Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Ricky Thornton, Jr.
Midwest Sheet Metal Spoiler Challenge Point Leader: Hudson O’Neal
O’Reilly Auto Parts Rookie of the Race: Max Blair
Etchberger Trucking Fastest Lap of the Race: Tim McCreadie (Lap 2 – 15.876 seconds)
MD3 Tough Break of the Race: Tim McCreadie
Outerwears Crew Chief of the Race: Anthony Burroughs (Ricky Thornton, Jr.)
ARP Engine Builder of the Race: Clements Racing Engines
Miller Welders Chassis Builder of the Race: Longhorn Chassis
Dirt Draft Fastest in Hot Laps: Chris Simpson (15.3555 seconds)
Time of Race: 23 minutes 47 seconds
The Big River Steel Chase for the Championship Presented by ARP Point Standings:
Story - Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series