Ricky Thornton Jr. Snares First Ralph Latham Memorial Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Triumph
Story By: BEN SHELTON / SSI MOTORSPORTS – MARTINSVILLE, IN – Ricky Thornton Jr. continued his winning ways on Saturday night with a $15,000 victory in the 37th running of the Ralph Latham Memorial.
His winning performance was achieved at Kentucky’s Florence Speedway behind the wheel of his SSI Motorsports / Hoker Trucking No. 20RT Dyno One Inc. / Excel Floor Covering / Sub-Surface of Indiana/ Longhorn Chassis/ Clements Racing Engine Super Late Model.
“Man this team is just so great, and I’m the lucky guy who gets to drive the car. I told my guys my goal was to come out and win tonight. The car took off after that one restart. I was able to get by Hud [O’Neal] and Brandon [Overton]. I thought it was going to be around the bottom longer than it was. It’s easy to knock the right rear off the car here,” Ricky shared in Victory Lane. “You can look at my quarter panel and see that. But at the end I just wanted to keep it off the wall and hit my marks because I knew those other guys were not going to give up. Overall, I am excited to get this win.”
Ricky Thornton Jr. returned the driver’s seat of the SSI Motorsports No. 20RT Super Late Model on Thursday evening at Atomic Speedway (Chillicothe, Ohio) as the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (LOLMDS) snapped their streak of rainouts with the ninth running of the Buckeye Spring 50.
Drawing 42 cars, Ricky recorded the fifth-fastest lap in his group before placing second in his heat race. With $12,000 on the line in the opening night feature, Thornton rebounded to finish 11th in the 50-lapper after getting spun on lap 11.
For Friday’s John Bradshaw Memorial at Ponderosa Speedway (Junction City, Ky.), Thornton’s runner-up finish in his heat placed him on the third row for the $12,000-to-win A-Main. Inching forward one spot in the 50-lap affair, Ricky chased Mike Marlar, Hudson O’Neal, Brandon Overton, and Jonathan Davenport to the checkers in finishing fifth.
In a field of 41 LOLMDS entries on Saturday at Florence Speedway (Union, Ky.) for the 37th annual Ralph Latham Memorial, Ricky followed up the fourth-fastest time in his qualifying group with a second-place run in his heat.
Advancing from the fourth row in the feature, Thornton whizzed past Hudson O’Neal for the lead on lap 23 and led the remainder of the 50-lapper to capture his eighth win of the season and a $15,000 paycheck.
He finished 2.554 seconds ahead of O’Neal with Brandon Overton, Garrett Alberson, and Tim McCreadie completing the top-five finishers.
Ricky is currently second in the latest LOLMDS point standings.
The team is now locked-and-loaded for a busy week, featuring high paydays in the Land of Lincoln with the second annual Illinois Speedweek. Festivities kick off with back-to-back $23,023-to-win Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (LOLMDS) events on Wednesday and Thursday at Spoon River Speedway (Banner, Ill.) and Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway.
From there the LOLMDS contingent invades two tracks for the first time ever as it visits Farmer City (Ill.) Speedway for a $25,000-to-win slate on Friday followed by a $30,000-to-win event at Fairbury (Ill.) Speedway on Saturday.