Canyon Speedway Park
Parker's pass on final lap ends Thornton's streak
By Ryan NeuharthDirtonDirt.com correspondent
PEORIA, Ariz. (June 26) — With a combination of patience, good fortune and well-timed aggression at Canyon Speedway Park, 18th-starting Lonnie Parker Jr. of El Mirage, Ariz., halted Ricky Thornton Jr.’s four-race win steak with a dramatic victory Saturday on the Total Seal Southwest Dirt Racing Association. Parker, a six-time SWDRA champion, tracked down Thornton on the last lap and beat him off turn four for a $1,000 victory.
Thornton, a Late Model rookie from Chandler, Ariz., was denied his sixth SWDRA victory of the season while Parker notched his second victory. They’re the only two drivers to win on the Arizona-based series this year. Brad Williams of Tucson, Ariz., was third followed by Karl Tipton of Gilbert, Ariz., and Mike Tahtinen of Casa Grande, Ariz.
Thornton started third but took the lead at the outset, locking his car to the inside hub and going by front-row starters Williams and Joey Moriarty. Thornton and Williams engaged in a classic duel up front while a series of early yellows helped Parker crack the top 10 by the 10th lap.
Williams stayed right with Thornton, repeatedly sticking is car’s nose to the inside exiting turn four. Williams led lap 20 as the frontrunners negotiated traffic, but Thornton jumped into a rapidly improving high groove to recapture the top spot by charging through a group of three-wide lapped cars on lap 23.
Parker, also working the high groove, moving within striking distance of the leaders when third-running Anthony Madrid dropped out and the fourth-running Moriarty brought out the final yellow on lap 27.
Parker overtook Williams on the backstretch on lap 28, and when Thornton pushed high coming to the white flag, the lead duo was locked together entering turn one for the final time.
Thornton maintained a slight advantage down the backstretch as Parker blasted into turn three on the cushion. Thornton, entering low, tried to slide in front of the hustling Parker, but Parker’s momentum carried him between Thornton and the frontstretch wall for the victory.
Total Seal SWDRA @ Canyon: (1) Lonnie Parker Jr, (2) Ricky Thornton Jr., (3) Brad Williams, (4) Karl Tipton, (5) Mike Tahtinen, (6) Art Lacy, (7) Keith Noyes, (8) Cory Hemphill, (9) John Romero, (10) Tommy Hussak III, (11) John Cornell, (12) Justin Thornton, (13) Joey Moriarty, (14) Anthony Madrid, (15) Keith McKinney, (16) Brad Whitfield, (17) Bruce Duckett, (18) Jerry Fincher. Heat race winners (among 18 cars): Duckett, Lacy, Williams.