Story By: BEN SHELTON / SSI MOTORSPORTS – MARTINSVILLE, IN – Ricky Thornton Jr. notched his first win of the 2024 season on Saturday evening.
His maiden voyage to Victory Lane this year was worth $25,000 in Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (LOLMDS) competition at Georgia’s Golden Isles Speedway aboard his SSI Motorsports / Coltman Farms / Hoker Trucking No. 20RT Dyno One Inc. / Excel Floor Covering / Sub-Surface of Indiana / Longhorn Chassis / Clements Racing Engine Super Late Model.
Thornton Jr.’s path to his first win of the season didn’t come without some fireworks.
“When I got passed, I didn’t think I was going to get back to the front. I am not quite sure why the 49 and the 157 kept racing there. Mikey drove across my right front in three and is mad at me, and with JD I tried to cross him, and I probably shouldn’t have tried to stuff it in there. Everyone is already counting us out after one night, maybe the rest of the week will be elbows up.
“Despite everything else, I want to thank my team and all our sponsors for making these wins possible all night.”
Fresh off a pair of Top-5’s with the World of Outlaws (WoO) Case Late Model Series a week prior, Ricky Thornton Jr. returned to the driver’s seat of the SSI Motorsports No. 20RT Late Model on Thursday evening for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (LOLMDS) season opener at Golden Isles Speedway (Waynesville, Ga.).
Alongside a stacked field of 50 LOLMDS entries for night one of the General Tire Super Bowl of Racing, Thornton’s runner-up showing in his heat race positioned him on the fourth row for the opener. With a $10,000 top prize up for grabs, Ricky muscled forward three spots in the 40-lap affair to register a fourth-place finish, which came behind Hudson O’Neal, Jonathan Davenport, and Brandon Overton with Brandon Sheppard coming in fifth.
After wet weather washed out Friday’s program, Ricky backed up the fourth-fastest qualifying lap in his group on Saturday with an eight-lap heat race triumph. Elevated to the pole for feature after an illegal tire docked the initial pole-starter, Thornton survived furious challenges from Mike Marlar and Jonathan Davenport to secure his first win of 2024 and the $25,000 top prize.
The Chandler, Ariz., native ultimately led 48 of the 60 circuits to claim his 29th career LOLMDS victory. Madden, Davenport, Brandon Overton, and Devin Moran completed the Top-5 in the 60-lapper.
With only two events in the books, RTJ is currently tied with Jonathan Davenport and Hudson O’Neal atop the LOLMDS point standings.
Ricky continues his 2024 Speedweek endeavors this Tuesday and Wednesday with the Dixie Chopper Winter Nationals presented by E3 Spark Plugs at Ocala (Fla.) Speedway. Each night is highlighted by a $10,000-to-win main event.