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Daily Dirt 07/14/2024 21:28:35

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July 25
Off Road Speedway,
Norfolk, NE
Sanction: XR Super Series (Elkhorn 100) - $100,000
Information provided by: Series and track reports (last updated July 26, 9:24 pm)
Thornton outduels Pierce for Off Road's $100,000
Elkhorn 100
  1. Ricky Thornton Jr.
  2. Bobby Pierce
  3. Kyle Bronson
  4. Brandon Sheppard
  5. Daulton Wilson
  6. Tanner English
  7. Chase Junghans
  8. Devin Moran
  9. Brian Shirley
  10. Dennis Erb Jr.
  11. Brandon Overton
  12. Jonathan Davenport
  13. Brent Larson
  14. Tyler Erb
  15. Daniel Hilsabeck
  16. Dillon McCowan
  17. Matt Cosner
  18. Ben Sukup
  19. Hudson O'Neal
  20. Ryan Gustin
  21. Shane Clanton
  22. Ethan Dotson
  23. Tad Pospisil
  24. Morgan Bagley
  25. Tim McCreadie
  26. Junior Coover
  27. Tyler Bruening
presented by
Samantha Freese
The SSI Motorsports team celebrates the $100,000 victory.
What won the race: Recovering from a slipup amid traffic that allowed Bobby Pierce to take command on lap 64, Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., regained the lead from Pierce on lap 81 Tuesday at Off Road Speedway and raced to a whopping $100,000 victory in the XR Super Series-sanctioned Elkhorn 100. Pierce, who led laps 64-80, finished 1.114 seconds back at the checkers while Kyle Bronson finished third.
Key notes: Ricky Thornton Jr. matched his richest career payday. ... The 100-lapper was slowed by 10 cautions, including one for third-running Hudson O'Neal's backstretch spin after contact with Thornton, who had brushed the concrete wall. ... The event drew a track-record crowd. ... Every entrant started the main event (except for Tyler Stevens, who scratched). ... The event was postponed by rain April 14-15 and rescheduled as a summer event. ... Devin Moran and Wilson split Monday’s $5,000-to-win semifeatures to earn front-row starting spots.
On the move: Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., started 12th and finished fourth.
Winner's sponsors: Thornton’s SSI Motorsports Longhorn Chassis is powered by a Clements engine and sponsored by Dyno One, Hoker Trucking, Certified Inspection Service, High Performance Lubricants, Big River Steel, Van Meter Insurance Group, Murty Farms, D&E Outside Services, West Side Tractor Sales, Bilstein Shocks, FK Rod Ends, Allstar Performance, Barnes Pumps, Performance Bodies, Winters Performance, Strange Oval, Accu-Force, Quickcar, Sunoco Race Fuels and Sub-Surface of Indiana.
Points chase: After Off Road: 1. Bobby Pierce (449); 2. Hudson O'Neal (417); 3. Ricky Thornton Jr. (410); 4. Devin Moran (382); 5. Tyler Erb (367); 6. Tanner English (366); 7. Brian Shirley (364); 8. Daulton Wilson (363); 9. Jonathan Davenport (360); 10. Brandon Sheppard (354).
Current weather: Clear, 81°F
Car count: 28
Polesitter: Devin Moran
Consolation race winners: Ryan Gustin, Brandon Sheppard
Next series race: August 7, Gondik Law Speedway (Superior, WI) $20,000
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.
From staff reports

NORFOLK, Neb. — What was Ricky Thornton Jr.'s key to twice regaining the lead from competitors en route to a $100,000 XR Super Series victory in Tuesday's Elkhorn 100 at Off Road Speedway?

"A whole lot of everything," the Chandler, Ariz., driver said in victory lane after leading 46 laps — including the final 20 — to match his richest career payday and grab his first XRSS triumph.

A lot of speed. A lot of patience. A lot of luck. A lot of persistence. It all came together to give his SSI Motorsports team a lot of money as DirtonDirt.com's top-ranked driver captured his 18th overall victory of the season.

"It's been a grind. We haven't really had the best luck here in these XR shows, so it's finally nice to finally get one," the 32-year-old Thornton said. "It's definitely pretty sweet. You don't get to race for 100-grand very often."

Thornton took the checkers 1.114 seconds ahead of fellow second-row starter Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., who slipped by Thornton amid traffic on the 64th lap but lost the point to the winner on a restart after a series of cautions. Kyle Bronson of Brandon, Fla., grabbed a third-place finish with 12th-starting Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., fourth.

Outside front row starter Daulton Wilson of Fayetteville, N.C., who led 37 of the first 41 laps and lost a back-and-forth duel with Thornton before the halfway point, ended up fifth after winning a $5,000 semifeature Monday at the third-mile oval. Polesitter Devin Moran of Dresden, Ohio, also a semifeature winner 24 hours earlier, was never a factor in finishing eighth.

Hudson O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind., was a contender in his Rocket Chassis house car, but his race ended with 21 laps remaining when he spun on the backstretch after contact with Thornton, whose scrape with the backstretch wall triggered the contact.

At the 100-lapper's outset, Wilson paced the field early with Pierce and Thornton taking turns in the second spot. Thornton edged ahead on lap 35, but Wilson fought back on the outside in a side-by-side duel as he regained the point on lap 39. Thornton inched back ahead three laps later, then pulled away to lead comfortably through the race's middle stages while Pierce took second from Wilson on lap 53.

Thornton was still cruising until coming upon lapped traffic, and when he lost momentum getting into turn one on the 64th lap, it opened the door for Pierce to sneak by and take the lead.

"I was looking for the track to kind of slow down there at the beginning. It did, and then I felt like I had really (good) pace, and then I got behind Brent Larson. Really just couldn't get by him; he was kind of all over the place."

It was Larson who drew a lap-65 caution, but not before Pierce — while trying to go around him on the backstretch — made significant contact with Larson's car. During the ensuing caution, Pierce furled his left fist and shook it in anger as he rolled past Larson's machine.

"I don't know if he hurt the left-tire (tire) in that back straightaway deal, but I felt like after that I was a little bit better than he was in (turns) three and four," Thornton said. "Before that he was better than I was, so it worked out for us."

O'Neal's departure marked the first of three consecutive cautions, and when the race finally got rolling again, Thornton regained the lead from Pierce on lap 81 and led the rest of the way.

"Just the all the cautions, I think, probably killed our momentum," said Pierce, who won June 25's World of Outlaws Case Late Model Series stop at the same track. "I couldn't get going on them restarts quite like Ricky could. I couldn't really turn and then I couldn't take off and the longer it went, I got better, but I knew from the beginning he was probably the better car (or) driver there. He was rolling through that middle-bottom better than I was.

"Man, I thought we had it there when we got him in lapped traffic, but then the lapped traffic bit me. I was pretty mad, I'm not gonna lie. But it is what it is. We fought through it and got second. Congrats to Ricky on the win. A heckuva driver, he is. We've been knocking 'em off lately and I really wanted to beat him tonight — obviously a lot of money on the line — but he (ran) a heck of a race."

The 100-lapper was slowed by 10 cautions, most significantly for O'Neal's lap-80 demise. Other contenders were involved in a caution on the ensuing restart in turns three and four when Jonathan Davenport and Wilson tangled, sending Davenport's car for a spin and causing a beating and banging among several competitors.

The first yellow dropped when the initial start was called back, then a lap-five yellow fell when Tyler Bruening slowed exiting turn four. The lap-five yellow turned into a brief red flag when Tanner English's Viper Motorsports entry was leaking fuel during the caution period. Track workers lit the spilled fuel on the track, burning it off the surface; his tank's overflow was apparently spilling the fuel.

A lap-15 caution flew when Tyler Erb's car was facing the wrong direction in turn two.

Three cautions appeared on laps 28-30, first for a slowing Shane Clanton, again for a Chase Junghans-Daniel Hilsabeck tangle in turn three and then for Brent Larson's spin.

After a long green-flag run, Larson slowed for a lap-65 caution and O'Neal's spin drew another yellow 15 laps later. The final caution appeared for Daniel Hilsabeck's spin on a lap-80 restart.

Notes: Thornton won $100,000 for the second time in his career. ... The first came Oct. 16, 2021, at Portsmouth (Ohio) Raceway Park in the Dirt Track World Championship on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. ... Thornton's previous richest victories in 2023 came with $50,000 paydays on the Lucas Oil Series at Smoky Mountain Speedway in Maryville, Tenn., and Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa., for the Firecracker 100. ... Runner-up Bobby Pierce moved into the series points leader over Hudson O'Neal. ... Pierce said his car had a tiny oil leak near the oil cooler the team was going to have to investigate, but he didn't say it caused any issues during the race. ... Chase Junghans of Manhattan, Kan., started 17th and finished seventh. ... Three hometown drivers were in the main event with only Ben Sukup running at the finish in 18th; Tad Pospisil and Junior Coover retired. ... Outside front-row starter Daulton Wilson stopped on the backstretch during parade laps to get a new battery for his Raceceiver one-way communication device. ... Track workers scraped the turn-one wall of dirt during the lap-28 caution (and again later in the race) so drivers had better visibility of the concrete; that lengthy caution included the removal of debris in turns three and four.

Feature lineup

(100 laps)

Row 1: Devin Moran, Daulton Wilson
Row 2: Bobby Pierce, Ricky Thornton Jr.
Row 3: Kyle Bronson, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 4: Jonathan Davenport, Hudson O'Neal
Row 5: Tanner English, Shane Clanton
Row 6: Ryan Gustin, Brandon Sheppard
Row 7: Tyler Erb, Brandon Overton
Row 8: Brian Shirley, Tyler Bruening
Row 9: Chase Junghans, Matt Cosner
Row 10: Tim McCreadie, Brent Larson
Row 11: Daniel Hilsabeck, Tad Pospisil
Row 12: Ben Sukup, Ethan Dotson
Row 13: Junior Coover, Dillon McCowan
Row 14: Morgan Bagley

Consolation race results

(Eight laps; all transfer)

First consolation: Ryan Gustin, Tyler Erb, Brian Shirley, Chase Junghans, Tim McCreadie, Daniel Hilsabeck, Ben Sukup, Junior Coover. Scratched: Tyler Stevens.

Second consolation: Brandon Sheppard, Brandon Overton, Tyler Bruening, Matt Cosner, Brent Larson, Tad Pospisil, Ethan Dotson, Dillon McCowan, Morgan Bagley.

Consolation race lineups

(12 laps; top five transfer)

First consolation
Row 1: Tyler Erb, Ryan Gustin
Row 2: Brian Shirley, Chase Junghans
Row 3: Daniel Hilsabeck, Tim McCreadie
Row 4: Ben Sukup, Junior Coover
Row 5: Tyler Stevens
Second consolation
Row 1: Brandon Sheppard, Brandon Overton
Row 2: Matt Cosner, Tyler Bruening
Row 3: Brent Larson, Tad Pospisil
Row 4: Morgan Bagley, Dillon McCowan
Row 5: Ethan Dotson

Tuesday’s schedule

(All times local)
1 p.m. - Pits open, driver registration/draw begins
2 p.m. - Grandstands open
2:30 p.m. - Pre-race technical inspection (new cars only)
7:30 p.m. - Drivers’ meeting
7:55 p.m. - Opening ceremonies
8 p.m. - On-track activity
- Super Late Model hot laps
Track prep
8:30 p.m. - Super Late Model consolations (12 laps)
- Elkhorn 100 main event (100 laps)

Feature lineup

Row 1: Moran, Wilson
Row 2: Pierce, Thornton
Row 3: Bronson, D. Erb
Row 4: Davenport, O'Neal
Row 5: English, Clanton
Row 6: Gustin, Sheppard
Row 7: T. Erb, Overton
Row 8: Shirley, Bruening
Row 9: Junghans, Cosner
Row 10: McCreadie, B. Larson
Row 11: Hilsabeck, Pospisil
Row 12: Sukup, Dotson
Row 13: Coover, McDowan
Row 14: Bagley

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