Canyon Speedway Park
Thornton avoids pitfalls, wraps up Canyon sweep
By Ryan NeuharthDirtonDirt.com correspondent
PEORIA, Ariz. (May 30) — Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., overcame a flurry of pitfalls at Canyon Speedway Park to complete his sweep of the Total Seal Southwest Dirt Racing Association's Memorial Day weekend. The 30-lapper paid $1,000 and gave the series rookie four victories in five 2010 series races.
Thornton survived six restarts between laps 21 and 23, a hard-charging Cody Barnett, a near-disastrous spin on lap 27 and Lonnie Parker Jr.'s last-lap Hail Mary for his third straight SWDRA victory.
Parker, of El Mirage, Ariz., settled for second followed by Cory Hemphill of Phoenix, Ariz. Tucson, Ariz., drivers Jeremy Thornton and Brad Williams rounded out the top five.
New Mexico interloper Butch Reid and Brad Whitfield started on the front row while Parker and Anthony Madrid engaged in a lane-swapping duel with Williams, Ricky Thornton Jr., California brothers Cody and Chris Barnett and Saturday's runner-up, Jason Noll.
Reid could never build a lead because of frequent yellows in the race eventually slowed by 11 cautions. Ricky Thornton Jr. came to life on a lap-12 restart and used the race’s longest green-flag stretch to jump on the high side and charge to the front. He got up to second on the 15th lap, then dove inside in turn one a lap later to take command.
After the stretch of cautions between laps 21-23, Thornton appeared ready to cruise to victory when the final yellow wave on lap 26. Parker, negotiating the cushion in chasing Thornton, moved low to close on the leader with three laps remaining.
Thornton got sideways and nearly stalled in turn four, allowing Parker to set up a last-lap dash to the checkers. Parker returned to the high side but his turn-four rally fell short at the finish line.
SWDRA @ Canyon: (1) Ricky Thornton Jr., (2) Lonnie Parker Jr., (3) Cory Hemphill, (4) Jeremy Thornton, (5) Brad Williams, (6) Karl Tipton, (7) Brad Whitfield, (8) Mike Tathinen, (9) John Cornell, (10) Justin Thornton, (11) John Romero, (12) Alan Bowers, (13) Jimmy Jelvik, (14) Bruce Duckett, (15) James Chavez Jr., (16) Butch Reid, (17) Tommy Hussak III, (18) Marc Herrera, (19) Cody Barnett, (20) Anthony Madrid, (21) Frank Waschiewicz, (22) Jason Noll, (23) Chris Barnett, (24) Art Lacy. Heat race winners: Cody Barnett, Williams, Madrid.