BROWNSTOWN, Ind. (April 19, 2023) —The 2023 Castrol® FloRacing Night in America campaign thundered into Brownstown (Ind.) Speedway on Wednesday night where Ricky Thornton Jr. led all 50 laps to snare the $23,023 victory.
Fending off an early challenge from Mike Marlar, Thornton pulled away and wasn't pressured the rest of the way. He gave credit to crew chief Anthony Burroughs and Kevin Rumley of Longhorn Chassis for providing him a winning race car.
"Luckily, Burroughs works his tail off, him and Rumley, they really turned our program around here toward the end of last year," Thornton said. "I felt like if I could've still went a little bit harder there at the end. I slowed myself down and tried to give myself a two- or three-car-length gap, that way if I had to race, I had the room to at least improve my pace. So it worked out for us. I gotta thank Marlar for running us clean — I knew he would."
The fourth-starting Marlar, the previous night's Castrol tour winner at Ohio's Eldora Speedway, finished 1.859 seconds behind Thornton, who started outside the front row and jumped into the early lead over polesitter Devin Moran of Dresden, Ohio. The fast-qualifying Moran settled for third with Hudson O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind.,, and Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., rounding out the top five.
While on a night when 56 Late Model teams packed the pits and nine preliminary races produced solid action, Thornton and other competitors had an inkling the track surface might develop the dreaded rubber strip in the main event. That meant Thornton knew getting the jump on Moran was critical.
"I was kind of watching that B-main there for the mods, and they were kind of around that middle," Thornton said. "So I knew I just had to get a good start and try to get myself out front and not give it away early. I figured it's gonna lock down, I didn't know exactly where. I was running right around the top and I moved down and then the lower I got, the better I got."
Thornton comfortably paced himself behind slower cars to protect his lead and, when the race's lone caution appeared on the 35th lap when Jordan Wever went over the banking, Thornton zipped away on the restart and completed his victory worry-free.
Marlar made a bid for his second straight series victory early, but ultimately settled for a runner-up performance.
"You know, the track was really, really racy all night long. It was just a little bit too dry when we started to feature there," Marlar said. "But we had a heck of a race there for a while, then it just got one-laned and it was pretty much over. But up until that point, me and him was having a whole lot of run there. I enjoy racing with Ricky. He's a really hard racer, and he's really good. It's fun racing him there and I'm just happy to be up here racing at the front.
"We keep coming to these races with 50, 60 cars, they're tough fields. We'll never complain about second when we're running good, that's for sure."
Moran was glad he found speed in his car after struggling in recent events.
"We've had a problem with the car, it ain't been running right. I talked to (engine builder) Jack (Cornett) and it was just a little bit of wiring and stuff we had to figure out," said Moran. "It felt like it ran a lot better and, obviously we got quick tonight so that was cool. Congrats to Ricky and Mikey and glad to be back on the podium."
Castrol® FloRacing Night in America action resumes on Wednesday and Thursday, May 10 - 11 with the first two rounds of the second annual Illinois Speedweek. The doubleheader opens at Spoon River Speedway (Banner, Ill.) on May 10 before invading Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway on May 11. Each night features a $23,023-to-win / $1,000-to-start Super Late Model program.
The total Super Late Model purse for each event surpasses the $68,000 mark, including a $23,023-to-win and $1,000-to-start main event payout.
The Super Late Model tire rule for the May 10 and 11 will be as follows:
Spoon River Speedway (Banner, Ill.) – May 10, 2023
Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway – May 11, 2023
Front Tires: Hoosier NLMT2, LM20, NLMT3, LM30
Left Rear: Hoosier NLMT2, LM20, NLMT3, LM30
Right Rear: NLMT3, LM30, NLMT4, LM40
*No 29.0 / 92.0 tires allowed on Left Rear or Front Tires at any series event
Complete series rules can be found at www.FloSeries.com .
Castrol® FloRacing Night in America Purse
1)$23,023 2)$11,000 3)$5,000 4)$4,000 5)$3,000 6)$2,500 7)$2,250 8)$2,000 9)$1,800 10)$1,500 11)$1,200 12)$1,150 13)$1,100 14)$1,050 15-22)$1,000
TOTAL - $68,573
Entry Fee: $100
Non-Qualifier Money: $50
Drivers, who plan to compete in any of the 2023 season events, are encouraged to register via the site or directly at https://www.myracepass.com/series/1997/registrations/6834 .
Advance registration will make check-in on the day of the show easier.
For more information on Castrol® FloRacing Night in America sponsors, visit the company websites at www.castrol.com; www.integrashocksandsprings.com; www.k1racegear.com; www.buzzeracing.com; www.eibach.com; www.sweetmanufacturing.com; www.springrithm.com; www.sunocoracefuels.com; www.eibach.com; www.coltmanfarms.com; www.poske.com; www.rocketchassis.com; www.dirtdraft.com; www.hoosiertire.com; www.fivestarbodies.com; and www.fkrodends.com.
For complete Castrol® FloRacing Night in America details, visit the series website at www.FloSeries.com. For other questions, contact Ben Shelton at email@example.com or 901-335-3037.
Castrol® FloRacing Night in America
Brownstown Speedway (Brownstown, Ind.)
April 19, 2023
A Feature 1 (50 Laps): 1. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr; 2. 157-Mike Marlar; 3. 99M-Devin Moran; 4. 1-Hudson O'Neal; 5. 28-Dennis Erb Jr; 6. 6-Kyle Larson; 7. 32-Bobby Pierce; 8. 39-Tim McCreadie; 9. 1T-Tyler Erb; 10. B5-Brandon Sheppard; 11. 46-Earl Pearson Jr; 12. 9-Nick Hoffman; 13. 49-Jonathan Davenport; 14. 11H-Spencer Hughes; 15. 40B-Kyle Bronson; 16. 96V-Tanner English; 17. 68-Adam Stricker; 18. 2S-Stormy Scott; 19. 12-Jason Jameson; 20. 7T-Drake Troutman; 21. 29J-Jordan Wever; 22. 18D-Daulton Wilson; 23. 24-Jared Bailey; 24. 76-Brandon Overton
Sunoco Race Fuels Qualifying Group A (and overall): Devin Moran (13.604 seconds)
Sunoco Race Fuels Qualifying Group B: Daulton Wilson (14.182 seconds)
Integra Racing Shocks Heat Race #1 Winner: Devin Moran
K1 Race Gear Heat Race #2 Winner: Kyle Larson
Buzze Racing Heat Race #3 Winner: Hudson O’Neal
Eibach Springs Heat Race #4 Winner: Ricky Thornton Jr.
Dave Poske Performance Parts Heat Race #5 Winner: Mike Marlar
Hoosier Tire Heat Race #6 Winner: Dennis Erb Jr.
Coltman Farms B-Main Winners: Drake Troutman, , Jonathan Davenport, Jordan Weaver
Trailer Queen Drive of the Night: Ricky Thornton Jr.
Tezos Hard Charger: Jonathan Davenport (19th-to-13th)
Hoosier Tire Drawing Winners: Garrett Smith, Garrett Alberson
$150 Cash Drawing Winners: Stormy Scott, Skyller Lewis
DNS: Ricky Weiss, Garrett Alberson, Josh Rice, Parker Martin, Logan Martin, Tyler Collins, Todd Cooney, Garrett Smith, Zak Blackwood, Mat Bex, Shannon Babb, Kyle Beard, Devin Gilpin, Chad Stapleton, Ross Robinson, Travis Stemler, Daniel Hilsabeck, Jeffrey Shackelford, Tristan Chamberlain, Keegan Cox, Seth Daniels, Jason Riggs, Austin Kirkpatrick, Dustin Linville, Kent Robinson, Jake Timm, Cory Lawler, Skyller Lewis, Mike Hildebrand, Billy Moyer, Jack Riggs, B.J. Gregory