Ricky Thornton Jr

Georgetown Speedway (Georgetown, DE) – Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series – Melvin Joseph Memorial – August 24th, 2023. (Heath Lawson photo)


Ricky Thornton Jr

Late rally lifts RTJ to Melvin Joseph Memorial at Georgetown

Racing through a weekend that had more than its fair share of highs and lows, Ricky Thornton Jr.’s highwater mark was a $18,049 triumph on Thursday night in Georgetown Speedway’s Melvin L Joseph Memorial behind the wheel of 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.

On Friday at Port Royal Speedway during prelims for the fourth annual Rumble by the River Thornton Jr. raced to a podium finish, but mechanical woes on Saturday night plagued the Arizona native.

“The first half of the feature at Georgetown [Speedway] on Thursday we battled the handle a little, but this hot rod came to life late and we went from sixth to the lead in the closing laps to get the big win. We had a fast car to start the weekend at Port Royal Speedway on Friday, and even won our heat on Saturday despite a mechanical issue. We changed motors for the feature and had come from 25th to third before we ran into more mechanical issues that knocked us out. I hate it for Todd and Vicky Burns because it was an expensive night. I know it’s part of the deal sometimes, but I just hate that it was such a costly night,” Thornton Jr. said. “We’re getting ready for Portsmouth [Raceway] and Tyler County [Speedway] this week, and hopefully the mechanical gremlins are behind us.”

SSI Motorsports and Ricky Thornton Jr. embarked on an eastern swing with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (LOLMDS) on Thursday afternoon as the series invaded Georgetown (Del.) Speedway for the Melvin L. Joseph Memorial.

Amongst a field of 30 cars, Thornton secured his spot into the main event with an eight-lap heat race victory. After losing ground early in the race, Ricky found the high groove to his liking as he went from sixth-to-third on lap 36.

Powering ahead of pacesetter Brandon Overton five circuits later, Thornton paced the final nine laps to claim the $18,049 Melvin Joseph Memorial payday and record-breaking 16th Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory in a single season. He finished 2.84 seconds ahead of Overton with Mike Marlar rounding out the podium.

For the doubleheader Rumble by the River on Friday and Saturday at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway, Ricky’s third-place finish in his heat race positioned him on the fourth row for Friday's preliminary feature.

With $5,000 on the line, Thornton rebounded after losing ground in his heat with an eighth-to-third charge in the 25-lapper.

On Saturday, Thornton Jr. started the night with a heat race win but discovered a motor issue before the main event that forced him to the tag the tail for the feature and forfeit his fifth-starting spot.

Rolling off 25th for the $50,000-to-win Rumble by the River finale, Ricky wheeled his way up to second before the team found a hole in his radiator during a lap-40 caution, ending his night early.

Following Saturday night’s program Ricky received a $7,500 bonus from UNOH as the current LOLMDS point leader.

Thornton holds a 290-point lead atop the latest series standings.

Full results from the events are available at www.LucasDirt.com.

SSI Motorsports and Ricky Thornton Jr. now lead the LOLMDS contingent into battle this weekend in a pair of events in Ohio and West Virginia. The action opens on Saturday at Portsmouth (Ohio) Raceway Park with a $15,000-to-win event before rolling into Tyler County Speedway (Middlebourne, W.V.) on Sunday for the 2023 edition of the Hillbilly Hundred, which posts a $30,000 winner’s check.

Article Credit: Heath Lawson image

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