Ricky Thornton Jr

Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA) – Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series – Knoxville Nationals – September 14th-16th, 2023. (Heath Lawson photo)
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9/16/2023

9/16/2023

Ricky Thornton Jr


RTJ pulls off Lucas Oil Knoxville Nationals sweep at Knoxville

Joining Billy Moyer as the only other driver to accomplish the coveted feat, Ricky Thornton Jr. swept all three nights of the Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals over the weekend at Knoxville Raceway 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. collected over $64,000 in winnings at the legendary Iowa oval after breaking out the broom as his 2023-win total grew to 31.

“It’s awesome honestly, you try to be the best you can I mean it’s been a dream season for me. I didn’t know if we were going to be good enough honestly. I saw (Kyle) Bronson coming and (Christopher) Jayco was telling me to move up. I saw him (Bronson) getting closer and closer and I thought man I’ve got to move up. I don’t know, but after that I drove my heart out and it worked out.”

Thornton had to patiently wait through several red and caution flag breaks during the race.

“I had big time concerns because you never know. When we got back racing, I tried to get the tires as hot as I could. I figured if mine was going to seal up everyone else’s was too. Hats off to this team they bust their butts.

“It’s pretty cool to have the Lucas Oil season we have had to break’s Scott’s(Bloomquist) season record for wins and to tie Billy (Moyer) for sweeping the weekend, he is the greatest of all-time in our sport. It’s pretty awesome. I think we are going to celebrate and get right back to work for Brownstown (Speedway) next weekend.”

Ricky’s busy week in the Midwest opened on Thursday as he returned to action with the Castrol FloRacing Night in America miniseries. With the tour’s summer break in the rearview Thornton Jr. entered the SSI Motorsports No. 20RT into battle at Fairbury Speedway (Fairbury, Ill.) on Tuesday for the track's fourth annual One for the Road.

Starting the $23,023-to-win A-Main in 10th via a fourth-place run in his heat race, Thornton advanced forward four spots in the 50-lap affair to register a sixth-place finish.

Action shifted northwest on Thursday for the opening round of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway. Thornton qualified fastest in his group but had to start on the third row of his heat based on the invert.

With a sixth-to-third heat showing positioning him eighth on the starting grid for Thursday night’s preliminary feature, Ricky dove underneath Brandon Overton on the final lap and stormed to his 18th LOLMDS win of the season and 29th overall. He earned $7,000 ahead of Daulton Wilson and Overton.

Backing up a heat race win with a flag-to-flag victory in Friday's preliminary feature, Thornton cruised to his second win in as many nights and another $7,000 payday.

Starting on the pole of Saturday night's Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals finale, Ricky repelled an early challenge from Mike Marlar before setting sail on lap 23 and leading the remaining 53 circuits, en route to his 31st win of the 2023 campaign.

He won by more than a four-second margin over Marlar to claim the $50,000 top prize.

On the heels of a three-win weekend, Thornton now holds a 350-point advantage atop the latest LOLMDS point standings.

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

Next on tap for SSI Motorsports is a short trip to Brownstown (Ind.) Speedway this weekend for a Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (LOLMDS) doubleheader. Action opens on Friday with the second annual C.J. Rayburn Memorial, which posts a $10,000 top prize. Then on Saturday, the 44th annual Jackson 100 takes center stage with an event record $30,000 on the line.

For more information on the weekend, please visit www.BrownstownSpeedway.com.


Article Credit: Heath Lawson image

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