Story By: LUCAS OIL LATE MODEL DIRT SERIES – CONNEAUT, OH – Ricky Thornton Jr. led wire-to-wire in Friday night’s Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series “Great Lakes 50” at Raceway 7. Thornton earned $12,000 for his 22nd series win of the season.
Devin Moran finished in second followed by Jonathan Davenport, Tim McCreadie, and Daulton Wilson.
Thornton rolled from his outside front starting spot to take the lead at the drop of the green. After a multi-car accident before a lap was complete resulted in a complete restart, Thornton again would take the lead. Garrett Alberson gave chase in the second spot for the first 17 laps of the race until Hudson O’Neal was able to get by him the on the 18th circuit.
As O’Neal ran in the runner-up position, he was several car lengths back of Thornton, when Logan Roberson, who was running eighth slowed on lap 38 drawing a caution flag. O’Neal would bring out the last caution of the race with a left rear flat tire while running in third. Moran had just passed O’Neal for second when misfortune struck as he pitted for a new tire. O’Neal would then come back through the field to finish in seventh in the final rundown.
Moran could not stay with Thornton in the last 12 laps as Thornton dominated the rest of the way pulling out to a 4.196 seconds advantage at the checkers.
It was Thornton’s second ever appearance at the Northeast Ohio venue, scoring his 27th career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win.
“It’s pretty cool to come up here in the stands and see everybody. On that one restart I was more worried about Hud [O’Neal]. I saw him back there on the board. My crew guys were letting me know he was closing in before that yellow came out. It stinks that he got that flat, it ruined his night. Overall, it was a good night for us. I felt like we qualified as good as we were going to. For us to be able to win the heat and start on the front row of the feature, it shows how good my guys work, we had a good car all night,” said the Martinsville, Indiana resident who just celebrated his 33rd birthday on Thursday.
“The car was real good through traffic; I think we got stuck once behind somebody. I felt like I was really good. These long straightaways here are so different, by the time you get to the corner you really have to slow down more down the straightaway than the corner, so I had to figure that out a little bit. The racetrack was really good. I have only been here once before and that was a few years ago. I finished like sixth or seventh so to come out and win it tonight is pretty awesome. We look forward to tomorrow at Pittsburgh.”
Moran, with his second-place finish closes to within 15 points of Brandon Overton for the fourth position in the championship standings heading into the Pittsburgher Saturday night. “The pressure is on I love it. I didn’t know how I was going to run tonight. I have been here a couple of times and not done so good. I have never really been that good here. Obviously, I wasn’t that good compared to Ricky tonight, but we just squeezed out that second, so we have given ourselves a shot to get in the final four.”
Davenport rounded out the Big River Steel Podium in third as he maintains third place in the championship standings. “It wasn’t too bad tonight. It was a lot better than we have been running here lately. You know we have just been off a little bit this year. We have been working and getting a little better. We still aren’t as good as the 20RT car yet. We just kind of picked our way up through there tonight. We didn’t get a good start there in the heat race and it put us behind. We just capitalized on people’s mistakes when they would make one tonight to come out of here with a top three is good.”
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, Coltman Farms, Sub-Surface of Indiana, Dyno One Inc., West Side Tractor Sales Company, D&E Outside Services, Certified Inspection Services, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bilstein Shocks, Midwest Sheet Metal, Excel Floor Covering and Murty Farms.
Completing the top ten were Garrett Alberson, Hudson O’Neal, Max Blair, Spencer Hughes, and Boom Briggs.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Great Lakes 50
Friday, September 29, 2023
Raceway 7 – Monroe Center, OH
Allstar Performance Time Trials
Fast Time: Hudson O’Neal | 16.955 seconds
Penske Shocks Heat Race #1 Finish (8 Laps, All Transfer): 1. 58-Garrett Alberson; 2. 1H-Hudson O’Neal; 3. 39-Tim McCreadie; 4. 46-Earl Pearson Jr; 5. 99B-Boom Briggs; 6. 1T-Tyler Erb; 7. 99*-Logan Jaquay; 8. 9S-Kevin Santee
Summit Racing Products Heat Race #2 Finish (8 Laps, All Transfer): 1. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr; 2. 49-Jonathan Davenport; 3. 89-Logan Roberson; 4. 111L-Matthew Lux; 5. B22-Bump Hedman; 6. 7T-Drake Troutman; 7. 76-Brandon Overton; 8. 19-Bob Dorman
Simpson Race Products Heat Race #3 (8 Laps, All Transfer): 1. 99-Devin Moran; 2. 18D-Daulton Wilson; 3. 11-Spencer Hughes; 4. 7-Ross Robinson; 5. 111B-Max Blair; 6. 22B-Darrell Bossard; 7. 9-Breyton Santee; 8. (DNS) 24-Dylan Yoder
Great Lakes 50 Feature Finish (50 Laps):
Great Lakes 50 A-Main (50 Laps): 1. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr; 2. 99-Devin Moran; 3. 49-Jonathan Davenport; 4. 39-Tim McCreadie; 5. 18D-Daulton Wilson; 6. 58-Garrett Alberson; 7. 1H-Hudson O’Neal; 8. 111B-Max Blair; 9. 11-Spencer Hughes; 10. 99B-Boom Briggs; 11. 7-Ross Robinson; 12. 1T-Tyler Erb; 13. 76-Brandon Overton; 14. 46-Earl Pearson Jr; 15. 111L-Matthew Lux; 16. 19-Bob Dorman; 17. B22-Bump Hedman; 18. 89-Logan Roberson; 19. 22B-Darrell Bossard; 20. 99*-Logan Jaquay; 21. 9S-Kevin Santee; 22. 7T-Drake Troutman; 23. 9-Breyton Santee; 24. (DNS) 24-Dylan Yoder
Terminal Maintenance & Construction Pole Sitter: Garrett Alberson
Lap Leaders: Ricky Thornton, Jr. (Laps 1-50)
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: 4.196 seconds
Gorsuch Performance Solutions Cautions: Hudson O’Neal, Logan Roberson, Daulton Wilson (Initial Lap); Drake Troutman (Lap 3); Logan Roberson (Lap 38); Hudson O’Neal (Lap 39)
Fast Time Provisional: n/a
Series Emergency Provisionals: n/a
Track Provisional: n/a
Big River Steel Podium Top 3: Ricky Thornton, Jr., Devin Moran, Jonathan Davenport
Penske Shocks Top 5: Ricky Thornton, Jr., Devin Moran, Jonathan Davenport, Tim McCreadie, Daulton Wilson
Todd Steel Buildings Hard Charger of the Race: Max Blair (Advanced 7 Positions)
Wilwood Brakes Lucky 7th Place Feature: Hudson O’Neal
Deatherage Opticians Lucky 13th Place Feature: Brandon Overton
Earnhardt Technologies Most Laps Led: Ricky Thornton, Jr. (50 Laps)
Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Ricky Thornton, Jr.
Midwest Sheet Metal Spoiler Challenge Point Leader: Ricky Thornton, Jr.
O’Reilly Auto Parts Rookie of the Race: Max Blair
Etchberger Trucking Fastest Lap of the Race: Ricky Thornton, Jr. (Lap 1 – 17.760 seconds)
MD3 Tough Break of the Race: Hudson O’Neal
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: Ricky Thornton, Jr. (16.820 seconds)
Time of Race: 30 minutes 35 seconds
Qualifying (2 Laps): 1. 1H-Hudson O’Neal, 00:16.955; 2. 49-Jonathan Davenport, 00:17.058; 3. 99-Devin Moran, 00:17.094; 4. 99B-Boom Briggs, 00:17.133; 5. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr, 00:17.141; 6. 18D-Daulton Wilson, 00:17.162; 7. 58-Garrett Alberson, 00:17.175; 8. 111L-Matthew Lux, 00:17.257; 9. 7-Ross Robinson, 00:17.302; 10. 1T-Tyler Erb, 00:17.357; 11. 89-Logan Roberson, 00:17.365; 12. 11-Spencer Hughes, 00:17.369; 13. 39-Tim McCreadie, 00:17.400; 14. 7T-Drake Troutman, 00:17.406; 15. 111B-Max Blair, 00:17.565; 16. 46-Earl Pearson Jr, 00:17.585; 17. B22-Bump Hedman, 00:17.616; 18. 22B-Darrell Bossard, 00:17.740; 19. 99*-Logan Jaquay, 00:17.771; 20. 19-Bob Dorman, 00:18.044; 21. 9-Breyton Santee, 00:18.260; 22. 9S-Kevin Santee, 00:19.529; 23. 76-Brandon Overton, 00:59.997; 24. 24-Dylan Yoder, 00:59.999
Hot Laps – GROUP 1: 1. 18D-Daulton Wilson, 00:17.163; 2. 49-Jonathan Davenport, 00:17.220; 3. 11-Spencer Hughes, 00:17.437; 4. 1H-Hudson O’Neal, 00:17.466; 5. 111B-Max Blair, 00:17.471; 6. 22B-Darrell Bossard, 00:17.841; 7. 99B-Boom Briggs, 00:18.128; 8. (DNS) 7-Ross Robinson
Hot Laps – GROUP 2: 1. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr, 00:16.820; 2. 99-Devin Moran, 00:16.994; 3. 46-Earl Pearson Jr, 00:17.098; 4. 1T-Tyler Erb, 00:17.119; 5. 39-Tim McCreadie, 00:17.170; 6. 89-Logan Roberson, 00:17.307; 7. 9-Breyton Santee, 00:18.323; 8. 99*-Logan Jaquay, 00:18.614
Hot Laps – GROUP 3: 1. B22-Bump Hedman, 00:17.194; 2. 111L-Matthew Lux, 00:17.246; 3. 7T-Drake Troutman, 00:17.385; 4. 24-Dylan Yoder, 00:17.785; 5. 19-Bob Dorman, 00:17.912; 6. 76-Brandon Overton, 00:18.579; 7. (DNS) 58-Garrett Alberson; 8. (DNS) 9S-Kevin Santee