Ricky Thornton Jr
RTJ takes Lucas Oil victory at Bubba Raceway Park, earns $10,000
After a trio of podium finishes to start the 2023 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series season Ricky Thornton Jr. topped the fourth round of competition in his SSI Motorsports / Hoker Trucking No. 20RT Dyno One Inc. / Excel Floor Covering / Sub-Surface of Indiana/ Longhorn Chassis/ Clements Racing Engine.
His first trip to Lucas Oil Victory Lane in 2023 came on Sunday night at Florida’s Bubba Raceway Park.
“It’s pretty awesome to win here,” said Thornton Jr. in Lucas Oil Victory Lane on Sunday night at Bubba Raceway Park. “I love coming to this place. It’s so technical and different compared to all the other places we go to. I got the jump on the start on Devin [Moran]. I felt like I was running as hard as I needed to and then he slid me. He was running way harder than I wanted to go and I thought let him go and I will just keep pace with him. I don’t know what happened to him on that restart he went down into one and it didn’t turn.
“I got the lead back and just kind of held on, under that red my left front went flat,” Thornton added. “Luckily it didn’t put me in the fence. Overall, it was a good night. I had big time flashbacks from the last two nights. My crew guy was telling me that Max [Blair] was getting closer and I thought here we go again. On the last lap I screwed up off two and four. I felt like I was going to put it in the fence and give it away again. Overall, I am good, and we are happy we really have had a good Speedweeks so far.”
Kicking off his pursuit for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (LOLMDS) championship, Ricky Thornton Jr. was one of 50 Late Models amassed in the pit area at Golden Isles Speedway (Brunswick, Ga.) on Thursday afternoon as the Super Bowl of Racing opened the season for the tour.
Following the second-fastest lap in his 25-car group, Thornton outran Daulton Wilson in his heat race to pick up the eight-lap victory. With $10,000 on the line in the feature, Ricky carried a steady pace in the 40-lapper to register a third-place finish. He chased race-long pacesetter Brandon Overton and Tim McCreadie to the checkers.
For another $10,000-to-win program on Friday, Ricky secured his spot into the A-Main with a heat triumph. Starting the feature in second, Thornton shadowed early leader Brandon Overton for the first half of the race before making a move into lead on lap 30. Unable to turn back a charging Kyle Larson in the waning laps, Ricky recorded a runner-up finish, which came behind Larson with Brandon Overton coming in third.
On Saturday, Thornton started the night on the right foot again as he timed in second-fastest in his group before placing first in his heat. Starting the $25,000-to-win Super Bowl of Racing finale in fourth, Ricky slid ahead of pole-starting Brandon Overton on lap 22 to assume command of the top spot. Falling short of the win in another nail biter in the final laps, Thornton settled with a runner-up finish in the 60-lapper, trailing Overton across the line with Tanner English rounding out the podium.
In a field of 39 LOLMDS entries on Sunday afternoon at Bubba Raceway Park (Ocala, Fla.), Ricky locked his spot into the show with a heat win over Max Blair. Regaining the lead from fellow front-row starter Devin Moran on the 15th circuit of the feature, Thornton held off Max Blair to capture his first win of the season and a $10,000 payday. He recorded his fifth career Lucas Oil triumph ahead of Blair, Ashton Winger, Hudson O’Neal, and Brandon Sheppard.
LOLMDS action continued on Monday evening at the uniquely-shaped, 3/8-mile oval. With a second-place finish in his heat race, Ricky earned the fifth-starting spot for the feature. He fell back to sixth early in the feature. Late in the race he climbed to the fifth position before contact with two laps to go relegated him to the back of the pack. Thornton Jr. was credited with a disappointing 19th-place finish.
Ricky currently sits second in the LOLMDS point standings.
Full results from the weekend are available at www.LucasDirt.com.
After a three-day break, the LOLMDS portion of Speedweeks continues on Friday and Saturday at All-Tech Raceway (Lake City, Fla.) with a $12,000-to-win slate and a $15,000-to-win program.
Article Credit: Heath Lawson image