Story By: LUCAS OIL LATE MODEL DIRT SERIES – PORT ROYAL, PA – Earl Pearson Jr. raced to the top position on lap 10 and held on for his first Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win since July of 2020. Pearson held off Ricky Thornton Jr. to take the richest dirt late model race in the history of Port Royal Speedway, earning a $50,000 payday in the Rumble by the River main event.
Thornton took home $20,000 for second place, as the defending Dirt Track World Champion finished just .612 seconds behind the 4-time Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series National Champion. Gregg Satterlee came from the 12th starting spot to finish third, with Jonathan Davenport and Daulton Wilson rounding out the top five drivers.
Thornton took the lead at the start of the race as Pearson, who started fourth, started making his move early and had climbed to second by lap five. Pearson then outdueled Thornton in the race for the lead to grab the top position on lap 10.
Pearson looked to be in control until Thornton started to close the gap with less than 10 laps to go. The green flag stretch of racing reached 44 consecutive laps before a caution with six to go would set-up a shootout between the two Lucas Oil regulars.
When the race restarted, Thornton made every effort to get by Pearson, but the 50-year-old Florida native was able to hold off the defending Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Rookie of the Year to take the victory.
Pearson, in Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the 40th time in his career, dedicated his win to his father who passed away last year. “It’s awful emotional for me, I lost my dad last year and this is for him and my mom and everybody up in Heaven looking down on me today. There’s no doubt they have been a huge part of everything I have done. This is for all of my family and friends back home and everybody that’s pulling for us. What a heck of a show that was. Thornton ran me awful clean, he got into me a little bit down there in four, but hey that was a heck of a race and I done all I could.”
“I didn’t know if I needed a caution or not,” Pearson added. “I have run good here several times. I like the big tracks and it paid off tonight. I absolutely had to change my line. I knew I had to go in low and let it drift up because he [Thornton] is a master of the slide jobs so if I didn’t block the line, I knew what he was going to do. He done a heck of a job. We were fast here in the spring and had speed last night. I love this place, it’s a beautiful place to come to. You can race all over it. They done a heck of a job with the racetrack last night after the rain. They do a heck of a job here.”
Thornton, who sits third in the championship points standings, had tracked down Pearson before the only caution of the race. “I really didn’t want that yellow. I felt like I could move around pretty good before that. I tried a Hail-Mary kind of slider, and I knew I wasn’t going to clear him. I wasn’t going to run him over. Earl raced all of us clean, so I made sure I left him a lane. We just didn’t have enough. I felt good in one and two and I could move around. He was kind of committed to the bottom. Overall, I mean it was a brand-new car for this weekend and we had a couple of good runs; we are excited for the rest of the year.”
Satterlee, who captured the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event at Port Royal in April and came into the race with nine overall wins at eight different tracks, charged from the outside of row number six to round out the podium. “We did nothing different there in the last part of the race. There were less cars in front of us and that allowed us to maneuver a little a bit more and we could race better. We had a good car tonight. We are happy to come up through there to get third. I was disappointed with myself in that heat race. I just needed to get a better starting spot.”
The winner’s Jason Papich-owned, Longhorn Chassis is powered by a Clements Racing Engine and sponsored by Lucas Oil Products, Tegeler Wrecker and Crane, Papich Construction, Etchberger Trucking, E3 Spark Plugs, Bilstein Shocks, Midwest Sheet Metal, Sunoco Race Fuels, Sierra Pacific Materials, C&D contractors and Developers Bonding, Duvall Electric, Millard Family Chapels, Remi Realty.
Completing the top ten were Jimmy Owens, Mike Marlar, Chris Ferguson, Brandon Sheppard, and Hudson O’Neal.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Rumble by the River
Saturday, August 27th, 2022
Port Royal Speedway – Port Royal, PA
Penske Race Shocks Heat Race #1 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 15K-Dale Hollidge; 2. 1-Brandon Sheppard; 3. 157-Mike Marlar; 4. 7-Ross Robinson; 5. 2D-Dan Stone; 6. 66C-Matt Cosner; 7. 21M-Chad Myers; 8. 11J-Jason Schmidt; 9. 22R-Russell Erwin
Summit Racing Equipment Heat Race #2 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr; 2. 49-Jonathan Davenport; 3. 119-Bryan Bernheisel; 4. 2JW-Justin Weaver; 5. 48-Colton Flinner; 6. 8-Kyle Strickler; 7. B2-Brian Booze; 8. 25K-Kody Lyter; 9. (DNS) 32J-Shaun Jones
Simpson Race Products Heat Race #3 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 22F-Chris Ferguson; 2. 18D-Daulton Wilson; 3. 72-Michael Norris; 4. 9Z-Mason Zeigler; 5. 11-Spencer Hughes; 6. 94-Jason Miller; 7. 1Z-Logan Zarin; 8. 06-Mike Lupfer; 9. 3-Tim Wilson
Ohlins Shocks Heat Race #4 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 46-Earl Pearson Jr; 2. 71-Hudson O’Neal; 3. 58-Garrett Alberson; 4. D19-Dillan Stake; 5. 9M-Hayes Mattern; 6. 32-Travis Stickley; 7. 05-Roy Deese Jr; 8. (DNS) 27-Jim Yoder
Wrisco Industries Heat Race #5 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 20-Jimmy Owens; 2. 4-Gary Stuhler; 3. 0E-Rick Eckert; 4. 2J-Jeff Rine; 5. 66JR-Eddie Carrier Jr; 6. 10G-Garrett Smith; 7. (DNS) 10M-Jared Miley; 8. (DNS) 15C-Jason Covert
Lucas Oil Heat Race #6 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 39-Tim McCreadie; 2. 22-Gregg Satterlee; 3. 1T-Tyler Erb; 4. 86-Austin Berry; 5. 72T-Tyler Emory; 6. 0G-Deshawn Gingerich; 7. (DNS) 18*-Dylan Cecce; 8. (DNS) 112-Brandon Little
FAST Shafts B-Main #1 Finish (10 Laps, Top 2 Transfer): 1. 9Z-Mason Zeigler; 2. 2JW-Justin Weaver; 3. 7-Ross Robinson; 4. 11-Spencer Hughes; 5. 48-Colton Flinner; 6. 8-Kyle Strickler; 7. 66C-Matt Cosner; 8. 94-Jason Miller; 9. 2D-Dan Stone; 10. 21M-Chad Myers; 11. 06-Mike Lupfer; 12. 1Z-Logan Zarin; 13. 22R-Russell Erwin; 14. 3-Tim Wilson; 15. B2-Brian Booze; 16. 25K-Kody Lyter; 17. 11J-Jason Schmidt; 18. (DNS) 32J-Shaun Jones
UNOH B-Main #2 Finish (10 Laps, Top 2 Transfer): 1. D19-Dillan Stake; 2. 9M-Hayes Mattern; 3. 66JR-Eddie Carrier Jr; 4. 10G-Garrett Smith; 5. 2J-Jeff Rine; 6. 72T-Tyler Emory; 7. 32-Travis Stickley; 8. 0G-Deshawn Gingerich; 9. 18*-Dylan Cecce; 10. (DNS) 86-Austin Berry; 11. (DNS) 05-Roy Deese Jr; 12. (DNS) 27-Jim Yoder; 13. (DNS) 10M-Jared Miley; 14. (DNS) 15C-Jason Covert; 15. (DNS) 112-Brandon Little
Rumble by the River Feature Finish (50 Laps):
Lap Leaders: Ricky Thornton, Jr. (Laps 1-9); Earl Pearson, Jr. (Laps 10-50)
Wrisco Feature Winner: Earl Pearson, Jr.
Arizona Sport Shirts Crown Jewel Cup Feature Winner: Earl Pearson, Jr.
Brandon Ford TV Challenge Feature Winner: Earl Pearson, Jr.
Margin of Victory: 0.612 seconds
Stop-Tech Cautions: Tyler Erb (Lap 44)
Series Provisionals: Spencer Hughes; Ross Robinson
Fast Time Provisional: n/a
Emergency Provisionals: n/a
Track Provisionals: Colton Flinner
Big River Steel Podium Top 3: Earl Pearson, Jr., Ricky Thornton, Jr., Gregg Satterlee
Penske Shocks Top 5: Earl Pearson, Jr., Ricky Thornton, Jr., Gregg Satterlee, Jonathan Davenport, Daulton Wilson
Optima Batteries Hard Charger of the Race: Colton Flinner (Advanced 10 Positions)
Hot Rod Processing Most Laps Led: Earl Pearson, Jr. (41 Laps)
Midwest Sheet Metal Spoiler Challenge Point Leader: Tim McCreadie
Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Earl Pearson, Jr.
O’Reilly Auto Parts Rookie of the Race: Daulton Wilson
Dirty Girl Racewear Fastest Lap of the Race: Ricky Thornton, Jr. (Lap 1 – 20.852 seconds)
DirtonDirt.com Tough Break of the Race: Russell Erwin
Outerwears Crew Chief of the Race: Tim Douglas (Earl Pearson, 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: Kyle Strickler (18.7876 seconds)
Time of Race: 21 minutes 54 seconds