Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Thornton and Blair Take Friday Night Prelims at Lernerville
SARVER, Pa. (June 23, 2023) – Ricky Thornton Jr. and Max Blair won two exciting feature events on Friday night at Lernerville Speedway. Thornton, the current Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series championship points leader won the first 25-lap main event and Max Blair, who currently sits atop the O’Reilly Auto Parts Rookie of the Year chase earned his first career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win by taking the 25-lap nightcap main event.
Thornton regained the lead from Jonathan Davenport with three laps to go to take the first feature which went down to the wire. Brandon Overton got by Davenport at the end to take the runner-up spot. Davenport crossed the finish line in third followed by Gregg Satterlee, and Hudson O’Neal.
Thornton led the first 21 laps until Davenport seized the point on lap 22. Thornton rebounded coming off turn four on lap 23 as he went on to pick up his first-ever win at Lernerville and his ninth this season with the series. “I just didn’t know where to be,” said Thornton in Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the 14th time in his career. “The lapped cars were all running around the bottom. I heard JD on the bottom, and I knew he was going to slide me. I about ruined his night over there in turn two. I didn’t really want to slide him. I just wanted to get alongside of him and then my right rear caught his left front. Hopefully I didn’t really ruin his night. I saw he ended up third.”
Thornton rebounded from a DNF in the first 25-lap feature of the day to post the win. “I mean it was my own fault earlier. I should have just settled for where I was at and instead, I made it a really long night for us tonight. I really had to perform tonight to put us in a good spot for tomorrow night.”
Overton made his second Big River Steel Podium of the day with his runner-up finish. “It was a heck of race. I got to watch a lot of it. Congrats to Ricky and JD. We are getting closer. We were a little bit better today and will try again tomorrow. The track just hasn’t gotten slow,” said the driver seeking his third-career Firecracker 100 win on Saturday night. “This place is always slow and slick. We haven’t seen that yet, so we are just going to have to get a good game plan for tomorrow and hopefully the rain stays away and it get slick.”
Davenport, who earlier in the day won one of the 25-lap features came home in third in his Friday night main event. “I got run off the track over there pretty much. I thought I cleared him [Thornton] pretty clean down here. It’s all right, it’s 50 grand tomorrow. But it is what it is. He’s got a fast car. We have been trying to throw everything at him to beat him. He’s been doing a good job. He was probably clear from his vantage point.”
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, D&E Outside Services, Certified Inspection Service Company, Inc., Sunoco Race Fuels, Bilstein Shocks, Midwest Sheet Metal, and Murty Farms.
Completing the top ten in the 25-lap Group A feature were Tyler Erb, Spencer Hughes, Darrell Bossard, Trevor Collins, and Chub Frank.
Like the first feature the second came down to the end with Blair holding off a hard-charging Daulton Wilson for the win. Devin Moran, who led the first 19 laps was third at the finish with Michael Norris passing Tyler Bruening on the final lap for fourth.
The 33-year-old Blair, a third-generation racer from Centerville, Pennsylvania, became the 15th different winner of the season with the series and the 89th different driver in series history to win a Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series race.
“Man, this is awesome. I don’t even know what to say. I started running Devin down a little bit there and I thought no way I was going to pass him - then I was thinking I was a little better than him and then I passed him. I messed up every corner for the next three laps so then I finally calmed myself down and just rode it to the end. I can’t thank Boom and Steve Briggs enough for giving me this opportunity of a lifetime. This is a great partnership and I think it’s going to be a really good fit.”
“I didn’t feel secure until I crossed the checkered flag. I felt like I had a car capable winning all day. We have been pretty good all weekend. Everybody thinks this is like my local racetrack it’s not. We have raced the Firecracker and I have been to the Stampede a couple of times, but I do love this place. I love coming here. Hats off to Lernerville they have worked their tails off to get these races in. There is a lot of places that wouldn’t have done what they did. We sure appreciate that too.”
Wilson equaled his best career finish with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series by coming home in second behind Blair. “We got hung up there on the outside and didn’t really know where to be. I finally got down on that bottom and I got to rotating around there pretty good. I didn’t realize what lap we were on until I seen the white. Hats off to Max he drove a good race and Devin, too.”
Moran rounded out the podium for the second time on Friday by taking home third in the last feature of the day. “I mean cautions just killed me right there. I felt like I could make really good time the whole race and then the top just slowly started going away. I got my tires a little hot, but Max and those guys did a great job and so did Daulton. I mean two third-place finishes today, were happy with that.”
The winner’s Briggs Transport-owned, Rocket Chassis is powered by a Clements Racing Engine and sponsored by Excess Storage, Corry Rubber Corporation, Meridien Hardwoods, Valvoline, Penske Racing Shocks, Creekside Auto Sales, Tucker Drums, Murphy’s Logging, C&J Dairy, Northeast Bus Service, Three Rivers Karting, Chub Frank Racing, and Privity Auto Wrecking.
Completing the top ten in the 25-lap Group B feature were Tim McCreadie, Colton Flinner, Garrett Alberson, Ryan Montgomery, and Logan Zarin.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
17th Annual Firecracker 100 Presented by Big River Steel Night #2
Friday, June 23, 2023
Lernerville Speedway – Sarver, PA
Allstar Performance Time Trials
Fast Time Group A: Brandon Overton | 15.736 seconds (overall)
Fast Time Group B: Michael Norris | 16.417 seconds
Penske Shocks Heat Race #1 – Group A Finish (8 Laps, All Transfer): 1. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr; 2. 76-Brandon Overton; 3. 22B-Darrell Bossard; 4. 1T-Tyler Erb; 5. 1*-Chub Frank; 6. 11T-Trevor Collins; 7. 20N-Nicholas Eck; 8. 96-Mike Smith
Summit Racing Products Heat Race #2 – Group A Finish (8 Laps, All Transfer): 1. 49-Jonathan Davenport; 2. 22-Gregg Satterlee; 3. 1H-Hudson O'Neal; 4. 46-Earl Pearson Jr; 5. 3RK-Daryl Charlier; 6. 1C-Alex Ferree; 7. B22-Bump Hedman; 8. AUS1-Brent Vosbergen
Simpson Race Products Heat Race #3 – Group A Finish (8 Laps, All Transfer): 1. 11-Spencer Hughes; 2. 29-Ken Schaltenbrand; 3. 7-Ross Robinson; 4. 77-Tyler Dietz; 5. 55-Benji Hicks; 6. 10L-Gary Lyle; 7. 8K-Kyle Strickler; 8. 20D-Doug Eck
Penske Shocks Heat Race #1 – Group B Finish (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 99-Devin Moran; 2. 10-Michael Norris; 3. 15K-Cody Overton; 4. 9Y-Levi Yetter; 5. J4-John Garvin Jr; 6. 11P-Joshua Powell; 7. 01-Ron Hall; 8. 14A-Dan Angelicchio
Summit Racing Products Heat Race #2 – Group B Finish (8 Laps, All Transfer): 1. 18D-Daulton Wilson; 2. 1Z-Logan Zarin; 3. 25Z-Mason Zeigler; 4. 25S-Cory Sines; 5. 9-Breyton Santee; 6. 4S-Ryan Montgomery; 7. 55C-Chris Schneider; 8. 97-Kevin Smith
Simpson Race Products Heat Race #3 – Group B Finish (8 Laps, All Transfer): 1. 111B-Max Blair; 2. 16-Tyler Bruening; 3. 39-Tim McCreadie; 4. 99B-Boom Briggs; 5. 58-Garrett Alberson; 6. 48-Colton Flinner; 7. 14-Braeden Dillinger; 8. 1L-Chuckie Lepsch; 9. 66-Todd Bachman
17th Annual Firecracker 100 Presented by Big River Steel Group A Feature Finish (25 Laps):
17th Annual Firecracker 100 Presented by Big River Steel Group B Feature Finish (25 Laps):
Group A Terminal Maintenance & Construction Pole Sitter: Ricky Thornton, Jr.
Group B Terminal Maintenance & Construction Pole Sitter: Devin Moran
Group A Lap Leaders: Ricky Thornton, Jr. (Laps 1-21); Jonathan Davenport (Lap 22); Ricky Thornton, Jr. (Laps 23-25)
Group B Lap Leaders: Devin Moran (Laps 1-19); Max Blair (Laps 20-25)
Group A Wieland Feature Winner: Ricky Thornton, Jr.
Group B Wieland Feature Winner: Max Blair
Arizona Sport Shirts Crown Jewel Cup Feature Winner: n/a
Brandon Ford TV Challenge Feature Winner: n/a
Group A Margin of Victory: 1.886 seconds
Group B Margin of Victory: 1.149 seconds
Group A Gorsuch Performance Solutions Cautions: Nicholas Eck (Lap 19); Earl Pearson, Jr. (Lap 20)
Group B Gorsuch Performance Solutions Cautions: Dan Angelicchio (Lap 1); Jared Miley (Lap 2); Chuckie Lepsch (Lap 7); John Garvin (Lap 12)
Series Provisionals: n/a
Fast Time Provisional: n/a
Series Emergency Provisionals: n/a
Track Provisional: n/a
Group A Big River Steel Podium Top 3: Ricky Thornton, Jr., Brandon Overton, Jonathan Davenport
Group B Big River Steel Podium Top 3: Max Blair, Daulton Wilson, Devin Moran
Group A Penske Shocks Top 5: Ricky Thornton, Jr., Brandon Overton, Jonathan Davenport, Gregg Satterlee, Hudson O’Neal
Group B Penske Shocks Top 5: Max Blair, Daulton Wilson, Devin Moran, Michael Norris, Tyler Bruening
Group A Todd Steel Buildings Hard Charger of the Race: Tyler Collins (Advanced 7 Positions)
Group B Todd Steel Buildings Hard Charger of the Race: Colton Flinner (Advanced 11 Positions)
Group A Wilwood Brakes Lucky 7th Place Feature: Spencer Hughes
Group B Wilwood Brakes Lucky 7th Place Feature: Colton Flinner
Group A Deatherage Opticians Lucky 13th Place Feature: Alex Ferree
Group B Deatherage Opticians Lucky 13th Place Feature: Boom Briggs
Group A Earnhardt Technologies Most Laps Led: Ricky Thornton, Jr. (24 Laps)
Group B Earnhardt Technologies Most Laps Led: Devin Moran (19 Laps)
Group A Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Ricky Thornton, Jr.
Group A Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Garrett Alberson
Midwest Sheet Metal Spoiler Challenge Point Leader: Ricky Thornton, Jr.
O’Reilly Auto Parts Rookie of the Race: Max Blair
Group A Etchberger Trucking Fastest Lap of the Race: Ricky Thornton, Jr. (Lap 2 – 15.849 seconds)
Group B Etchberger Trucking Fastest Lap of the Race: Max Blair (Lap 2 – 16.479 seconds)
Group A MD3 Tough Break of the Race: Earl Pearson, Jr.
Group B MD3 Tough Break of the Race: Mason Zeigler
Group A Outerwears Crew Chief of the Race: Anthony Burroughs (Ricky Thornton, Jr.)
Group B Outerwears Crew Chief of the Race: Rob Blair (Max Blair)
Group A ARP Engine Builder of the Race: Clements Racing Engines
Group B ARP Engine Builder of the Race: Clements Racing Engines
Group A Miller Welders Chassis Builder of the Race: Longhorn Chassis
Group B Miller Welders Chassis Builder of the Race: Rocket Chassis
Dirt Draft Fastest in Hot Laps: Max Blair (15.399 seconds)
Group A Time of Race: 17 minutes 02 seconds
Group B Time of Race: 19 minutes 48 seconds
Penske Shocks Heat #1 (10 Laps | Top 3 Transfer) Line-Up
Summit Racing Equipment Heat #2 (10 Laps | Top 3 Transfer) Line-Up
Simpson Race Products Heat #3 (10 Laps | Top 3 Transfer) Line-Up
AP1 Insurance Heat #4 (10 Laps | Top 3 Transfer) Line-Up
Lucas Oil Heat #5 (10 Laps | Top 3 Transfer) Line-Up
Lucas Oil Heat #6 (10 Laps | Top 3 Transfer) Line-Up
17th Annual Firecracker 100 Presented by Big River Steel Point Standings
Ties broken by highest points night first, then by fastest qualifying lap either day.
Submitted By: Jeremy Shields