Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series

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Late Race Pass Nets Thornton Tuesday Victory at Ocala


Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series

Late Race Pass Nets Thornton Tuesday Victory at Ocala

OCALA, Fla. (January 30, 2024) – Ricky Thornton Jr. passed Tyler Erb coming to the white flag on Tuesday night at Ocala Speedway to score his second consecutive Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win of the season in thrilling fashion.

Erb made one last lap attempt as the duo entered turn three, but Thornton was able to hold him off for his 30th career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory. Erb finished just 0.448 seconds behind at the line after he had led laps 3-38. Devin Moran charged from the eighth starting spot to finish third with pole sitter Jonathan Davenport coming home in fourth. Mike Marlar rounded out the top five.

Davenport took the lead at the start of the 40-lap race and led the first two circuits until Erb made a daring move for the lead heading into the third turn on lap three. Erb held a several car length lead during the race as cautions would allow the rest of the field to stay close on restarts.

The final caution of the race came out with 27 laps scored. Erb then managed to again stretch his lead out over the field, but without the assistance of a caution flag, Erb was having to contend with the back of the field. With five laps to go Erb had two cars running side-by-side in front of him which allowed Thornton to close the gap in the waning laps.

Thornton had cut which was at one point a ten car-length lead for Erb down to one car length. As the two came off of turn four heading to the white flag Thornton was able to sneak to the inside to take the lead which he held for another circuit around the 3/8ths mile oval for the $10,000 victory.

Thornton who won $25,000 on Saturday night at Golden Isles in the finale of the General Tire Super Bowl of Racing knew he was in a dog fight at Ocala as he earned a hard-fought victory.

“Man, I felt like I was stretching so much there in three and four. I felt like the top came in and the bottom cleaned up a little bit. He [Erb] got stuck behind that one lapped car there once off four and really without that I don’t think I would have gotten to him. We got into turn two and I got close and then in three he kind of shoved a little bit. I knew if I could get under him down the front straightaway you’ve got to throw a bomb down there. I watched him throw a bomb on JD down there. I didn’t’ know if it would work out for us. It’s pretty awesome.”

Erb, who looked to break through early in 2024 with the a win came home in second. “I don’t know. Maybe I should have punted four lapped cars. I hit one getting into one there halfway through the race. It wasn’t our night. We are leaps and bounds better than we have been. We are going to win a race before its all said and done. I lost on the white flag tonight. It’s not a good feeling for sure. I got through traffic five or six different times and then just right there at the end when I caught traffic in like three laps. They [the traffic] were just side-by-side and Ricky got a good run on me. I tried to cross him over in one and two, but there wasn’t much you could do.”

Moran, who last won at Ocala in 2022 rounded out the Big River Steel Podium in third. “Kudos to Bubba and his whole crew for working on this place. I have always liked coming here and racing. They have worked really hard in getting the crown off the racetrack. You know a lot of tracks we go to have that problem. They need to take notes when they do this. It makes for some awesome racing. It was a good race. I felt like I dug myself a hole early and we got this car up towards the front.”

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, Dyno One Inc., West Side Tractor Sales, Bilstein Shocks, MD Wraps, and Sunoco Race Fuels.

Completing the top ten were Tim McCreadie, Garrett Alberson, Hudson O’Neal, Drake Troutman, and Earl Pearson Jr.

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Race Summary
Winter Nationals | Night 1
Saturday, January 30, 2024
Ocala Speedway – Ocala, FL

Allstar Performance Time Trials
Fast Time Group A: Tanner English | 13.881 seconds (overall)
Fast Time Group B: Blair Nothdurft | 13.909 seconds

Penske Shocks Heat Race #1 Finish (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 49-Jonathan Davenport[2]; 2. 96V-Tanner English[1]; 3. 18D-Daulton Wilson[3]; 4. 46-Earl Pearson Jr[4]; 5. B5-Brandon Sheppard[5]; 6. 79-Donald McIntosh[7]; 7. 111-Max Blair[6]; 8. 99B-Boom Briggs[8]; 9. 81F-Jadon Frame[9]; 10. 93-Cory Lawler[10]

Summit Racing Products Heat Race #2 Finish (8Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[1]; 2. 39-Tim McCreadie[4]; 3. 58-Garrett Alberson[2]; 4. 6-Clay Harris[3]; 5. 3S-Brian Shirley[5]; 6. 81J-Jack Riggs[6]; 7. 5-Mark Whitener[7]; 8. 17SS-Brenden Smith[8]; 9. 4G-Bob Gardner[9]; 10. 0-Ryan Scott[10]

Earnhardt Technologies Heat Race #3 Finish (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 1T-Tyler Erb[2]; 2. 1-Hudson O'Neal[3]; 3. 7T-Drake Troutman[4]; 4. 76N-Blair Nothdurft[1]; 5. 66C-Matt Cosner[5]; 6. 40B-Kyle Bronson[7]; 7. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[6]; 8. 25-Tony Jackson Jr[8]; 9. 8-Dillon McCowan[10]; 10. 28B-Carson Brown[9]

Simpson Race Products Heat Race #4 Finish (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 157-Mike Marlar[1]; 2. 99-Devin Moran[5]; 3. 7-Ross Robinson[6]; 4. 19M-Spencer Hughes[3]; 5. 174-Ethan Dotson[8]; 6. 20-Jimmy Owens[4]; 7. 75-Daniel Adam[7]; 8. 2*-Logan Hitt[10]; 9. 97-Cody Overton[2]; 10. 128-Kylan Garner[9]

Fast Shafts B-Main Race #1 Finish (10 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. B5-Brandon Sheppard[1]; 2. 79-Donald McIntosh[3]; 3. 111-Max Blair[5]; 4. 5-Mark Whitener[6]; 5. 81J-Jack Riggs[4]; 6. 81F-Jadon Frame[9]; 7. 17SS-Brenden Smith[8]; 8. 4G-Bob Gardner[10]; 9. 0-Ryan Scott[12]; 10. 93-Cory Lawler[11]; 11. 99B-Boom Briggs[7]; 12. 3S-Brian Shirley[2]

UNOH B-Main Race #2 Finish (10 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. B5-Brandon Sheppard[1]; 2. 79-Donald McIntosh[3]; 3. 111-Max Blair[5]; 4. 5-Mark Whitener[6]; 5. 81J-Jack Riggs[4]; 6. 81F-Jadon Frame[9]; 7. 17SS-Brenden Smith[8]; 8. 4G-Bob Gardner[10]; 9. 0-Ryan Scott[12]; 10. 93-Cory Lawler[11]; 11. 99B-Boom Briggs[7]; 12. 3S-Brian Shirley[2]

Winter Nationals | Night 1 Feature Finish (40 Laps):
Feature Finish

Race Statistics
Entrants: 40
Victory Fuel Pole Sitter: Jonathan Davenport
Lap Leaders: Jonathan Davenport (Laps 1-2); Tyler Erb (Laps 3-38); Ricky Thornton, Jr. (Laps 39-40)
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: 0.449 seconds
Dave Warren Powersports Cautions: Donald McIntosh (Lap 19); Daulton Wilson, Kyle Bronson (Lap 19 restart); Ross Robinson (Lap 27)
Series Provisionals: Boom Briggs; Brian Shirley
Fast Time Provisional: n/a
Series Emergency Provisionals: Dillon McCowan; Bob Gardner; Cory Lawler; Brenden Smith
Track Provisional: n/a
Big River Steel Podium Top 3: Ricky Thornton, Jr., Tyler Erb, Devin Moran
Penske Shocks Top 5: Ricky Thornton, Jr., Tyler Erb, Devin Moran, Jonathan Davenport, Mike Marlar
Todd Steel Buildings Hard Charger of the Race: Brian Shirley (Advanced 11 Positions)
Wilwood Brakes Lucky 7th Place Feature: Garrett Alberson
Deatherage Opticians Lucky 13th Place Feature: Brian Shirley
MD3 Most Laps Led: Tyler Erb (36 Laps)
Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Ricky Thornton, Jr.
Midwest Sheet Metal Spoiler Challenge Point Leader: Jonathan Davenport; Hudson O’Neal; Ricky Thornton, Jr.
O’Reilly Auto Parts Rookie of the Race: n/a
Coltman Farms Fastest Lap of the Race: Tyler Erb (Lap 21 – 15.563 seconds)
Slicker Graphics Slickest Move of the Race: Tyler Erb
Miller Welders Hard Luck Award: Ross Robinson
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: Devin Moran (14.0437 seconds)
Time of Race: 20 minutes 37 seconds

Big River Steel Chase for the Championship Presented by ARP Point Standings:
Point Standings

Submitted By: Jeremy Shields

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