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Daily Dirt 06/19/2024 17:18:59

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September 14
Knoxville Raceway,
Knoxville, IA
Sanction: Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (Knoxville Lucas Oil Nationals prelim night) - $7,000
Information provided by: Kevin Kovac, series and track reports (last updated September 15, 3:52 pm)
Thornton tops Knoxville opener with last-lap pass
Knoxville Lucas Oil Nationals prelim night
  1. Ricky Thornton Jr.
  2. Daulton Wilson
  3. Brandon Overton
  4. Devin Moran
  5. Mike Marlar
  6. Chris Ferguson
  7. Tyler Erb
  8. Ryan Gustin
  9. Brandon Sheppard
  10. Earl Pearson Jr.
  11. Chris Simpson
  12. Chad Simpson
  13. Spencer Hughes
  14. Billy Moyer
  15. Tim McCreadie
  16. Tim Lance
  17. Hudson O'Neal
  18. Max Blair
  19. Kyle Bronson
  20. Daniel Hilsabeck
  21. Tyler Bruening
  22. Chase Junghans
  23. Jonathan Davenport
  24. Brian Shirley
presented by
Heath Lawson/heathlawsonphotos.com
Ricky Thornton Jr. celebrates his last-lap victory.
What won the race: Executing a slider on Brandon Overton at the exit of turn two, eighth-starting Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., led the final lap to win Thursday's first $7,000 Knoxville Lucas Oil Nationals preliminary night at Knoxville Raceway. Thornton notched his 14th full-field Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory of the season and the 18th of his career as the last among four leaders of the 25-lapper.
Quotable: “I was driving pretty hard, I was a little too tight there early,” Thornton said. “Right when I got by (Chris Ferguson), Hudson (O’Neal) and Earl (Pearson Jr.), I just kinda blew through the middle of (turn) one and it suck pretty good, so I figured if we had a late restart, I was gonna try it. I felt like I got a good run and (Overton) blocked me there in turn three after the restart, let Daulton (Wilson) get by and I thought Daulton was gonna drive by both of us. In the end it worked out, it’s pretty awesome, I’ve always wanted to be here (at Knoxville Raceway victory lane).”
Key notes: Pole-starting Daulton Wilson led twice for 19 laps (1-16, 18-20) before slipping to third on lap 24, then rebounding to claim the runner-up spot by 0.003 of a second over Brandon Overton; Wilson finished 0.517 of a second behind Thornton. ... Eleventh-starting Overton, of Evans, Ga., led laps 21-24 before settling for third. ... Fourth-starting Jonathan Davenport overtook Wilson exiting turn four on lap 17, made slight contact with the wall exiting the corner and then believed he had a cut right-front tire when he entered turn one and made heavy contact with the guardrail on lap 18; his Double L car suffered significant damage. ... Hudson O'Neal drew the second and final caution when he spun from sixth on lap 22; he finished 17th. ... Three-time Knoxville Lucas Oil Nationals winner Mike Marlar improved two positions and completed the top five. ... Ryan Gustin gained 10 spots and finished eighth. ... Sixth-running Brian Shirley retired with a broken rear end on the fifth lap. ... Thursday's 17-minute feature saw 19 competitors complete 25 laps with 22 running at the finish.
On the move: Tyler Erb of New Waverly, Texas, started 17th and finished seventh.
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: Before Knoxville: 1. Ricky Thornton Jr. (7,075); 2. Hudson O’Neal (6,755); 3. Jonathan Davenport (6,465); 4. Brandon Overton (6,355); 5. Tim McCreadie (6,275); 6. Devin Moran (6,235); 7. Daulton Wilson (5,790); 8. Tyler Erb (5,665); 9. Max Blair (5,385); 10. Earl Pearson Jr. (5,320).
Current weather: Broken Clouds, 70°F
Car count: 40
Fast qualifier: Mike Marlar
Time: 17.109 seconds
Polesitter: Daulton Wilson
Heat race winners: Max Blair, Chris Ferguson, Jonathan Davenport, Chad Simpson
Consolation race winners: Chris Simpson, Tim McCreadie
Next series race: September 15, Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA) $7,000
Editor's note: Corrects tire Davenport believes might’ve gone flat.
From staff reports

KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Updates from Thursday’s Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville Raceway, featuring a 25-lap, $7,000-to-win main event for Lucas Oil Series-sanctioned Super Late Models (results unofficial):


Executing a slider on Brandon Overton at the exit of turn two, eighth-starting Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., led the final lap to win Thursday's first $7,000 Knoxville Lucas Oil Nationals preliminary night at Knoxville Raceway. Thornton notched his 14th full-field Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory of the season and the 18th of his career. Pole-starting Daulton Wilson led twice for 19 laps (1-16, 18-20) before slipping to third on lap 24, then rebounding to claim the runner-up spot by 0.003 of a second over Brandon Overton; Wilson finished 0.517 of a second behind Thornton. Eleventh-starting Overton, of Evans, Ga., led laps 21-24 before slipping to third from first on the final lap.

Feature lineup

(25 laps)
Row 1: Daulton Wilson, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 2: Devin Moran, Jonathan Davenport
Row 3: Chris Ferguson, Hudson O'Neal
Row 4: Mike Marlar, Ricky Thornton Jr.
Row 5: Brian Shirley, Spencer Hughes
Row 6: Brandon Overton, Brandon Sheppard
Row 7: Max Blair, Chad Simpson
Row 8: Kyle Bronson, Daniel Hilsabeck
Row 9: Tyler Erb, Ryan Gustin
Row 10: Chase Junghans, Tyler Bruening
Row 11: Chris Simpson, Tim McCreadie
Row 12: Billy Moyer, Tim Lance

Consolation race results

(15 laps; top two transfer)

First consolation: Chris Simpson, Billy Moyer, Garrett Alberson, Ross Robinson, Frank Heckenast Jr., Boom Briggs, Al Humphrey, Luke Merfeld, Charlie McKenna. Scratched: Rich Bell

Second consolation: Tim McCreadie, Tim Lance, Todd Cooney, Justin Zeitner, Ricky Weiss, Matt Furman, Cory Hedgecock, Aaron Marrant, Tim Simpson, Junior Coover.

Heat race recap

Third-starting Max Blair took the lead on a lap-five restart and paced the final eight circuits to win the first heat race by 0.673 of a second over fifth-starting Devin Moran. After leading the first four laps, Tyler Erb faded to finish fifth, grabbing the final transfer spot. Fast qualifier Mike Marlar recovered to finish fourth after slowing on lap four to draw the race’s lone caution. … Sixth-starting Chris Ferguson passed race-long leader Chase Junghans on lap 11 and led the final two laps to win heat two by 0.806 of a second. … Fifth-starting Jonathan Davenport used a last-lap pass to win heat three by 0.235 of a second over third-starting Brandon Sheppard, who led 10 laps. Sixth-starting Ricky Thornton Jr. finished third, while second-starting Daniel Hilsabeck held on for the final transfer position after leading lap one. … Third-starting Chad Simpson took the lead on lap 11 and paced the final two circuits to win the fourth and final heat race by 0.205 of a second over fourth-starting Spencer Hughes. Ryan Gustin used a last-lap pass to take third while Tyler Bruening faded to finish fourth after leading the first 10 laps. Hudson O’Neal tangled with Todd Cooney in the early laps, but recovered to finish fifth.

Heat race results

(12 laps; top five transfer)

First heat: Max Blair, Devin Moran, Brian Shirley, Mike Marlar, Tyler Erb, Chris Simpson, Billy Moyer, Luke Merfeld, Frank Heckenast Jr., Boom Briggs.

Second heat: Chris Ferguson, Chase Junghans, Kyle Bronson, Brandon Overton, Daulton Wilson, Garrett Alberson, Ross Robinson, Al Humphrey, Rich Bell. Scratched: Charlie McKenna

Third heat: Jonathan Davenport, Brandon Sheppard, Ricky Thornton Jr., Earl Pearson Jr., Daniel Hilsabeck, Justin Zeitner, Tim McCreadie, Tim Lance, Junior Coover, Ricky Weiss.

Fourth heat: Chad Simpson, Spencer Hughes, Ryan Gustin, Tyler Bruening, Hudson O'Neal, Cory Hedgecock, Matt Furman, Todd Cooney, Aaron Marrant, Tim Simpson.

Pre-race notes

The 19th Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals kicks off Thursday night after a day that saw temperatures rise to about 80 degrees. No rain appears in Thursday’s forecast. … The 40-car field is the smallest in the history of the event, falling below the 48 entries in each of the past two years. The high-water mark was the first two editions with 97 cars in 2004 and 96 in ’05; the event had a six-year stretch from 2006-11 where a loose invitational format restricted the fields (average of 60.5 cars) while the other 12 events averaged 68.5 cars. … Hoosier Tire dirt oval product manager Shanon Rush is in attendance and spoke at the drivers’ meeting to address concerns over the right-front tire failures that became an issue during last week’s World 100 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. He said Hoosier technicians analyzed the problem tires and afterward the company distributed a product bulletin in advance of the Knoxville Nationals recommending that “teams should increase right front air pressure to a minimum of 15 PSI” and “reduce right front camber based on their chassis builder’s recommendations.” … The qualifying format for the preliminary programs will include four 12-lap heats with the top six qualifiers from each time-trials group inverted. The 20 heat-race transfers will get their qualifying times back and the four faster qualifiers from each group will be inverted for the 25-lap feature with the remainder starting straight up. … Chris Ferguson of Mount Holly, N.C., and Cory Hedgecock of Loudon, Tenn., are making their Knoxville debuts; Hedgecock is driving Iowa racer Jason Rauen’s No. 98. … Devin Moran of Dresden, Ohio, is racing with the light blue Dementia Awareness scheme he brought out at the World 100, but he has the body on a different car after his Eldora entry was ended early in Saturday’s 100-lapper by a turn-three crash that left his Longhorn Chassis needing frame repairs. … Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., is again running his car with the No. 4 wrap he debuted at Eldora in honor of his childhood racing hero Ed Basey. … Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., will chase victory in his native state’s premier Dirt Late Model event after missing last week’s World 100 due to mechanical problems with his hauler that weren’t fixed until it was too late for him to head to Eldora.

Time trials

First group   
1. Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., 17.109
2. Chris Ferguson (22), Mount Holly, N.C., 17.214
3. Devin Moran (99), Dresden, Ohio, 17.325
4. Daulton Wilson (18D), Fayetteville, N.C. 17.352
5. Brian Shirley (8), Chatham, Ill., 17.412
6. Brandon Overton (4), Evans, Ga., 17.434
7. Max Blair (111B), Centerville, Pa., 17.531
8. Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., 17.746
9. Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, 17.776
10. Garrett Alberson (58), Las Cruces, N.M., 17.829
11. Tyler Erb (1), New Waverly, Texas, 17.836
12. Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., 17.890
13. Boom Briggs (99B), Bear Lake, Pa., 17.960
14. Charlie McKenna (22M), Ames, Iowa, 18.051
15. Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 18.221
16. Rich Bell (21B), Sheffield, Ill., 18.268
17. Luke Merfeld (21M), Dubuque, Iowa, 18.351
18. Ross Robinson (7R), Georgetown, Del., 18.519
19. Frank Heckenast Jr. (99Jr), Frankfort, Ill., 18.542
20. Al Humphrey (6), Giltner, Neb., 18.871
Second group   
1. Ricky Thornton Jr. (20RT), Chandler, Ariz., 17.396
2. Hudson O’Neal (1), Martinsville, Ind., 17.676
3. Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., 17.755
4. Todd Cooney (30), Des Moines, Iowa, 17.806
5. Earl Pearson Jr. (46), Jacksonville, Fla., 17.915
6. Spencer Hughes (11H), Meridian, Miss., 17.980
7. Brandon Sheppard (b5), New Berlin, Ill., 17.999
8. Chad Simpson (25), Mount Vernon, Iowa, 18.119
9. Daniel Hilsabeck (22H), Adel, Iowa, 18.123
10. Ryan Gustin (19R), Marshalltown, Iowa, 18.158
11. Ricky Weiss (7W), Headingley, Manitoba, 18.169
12. Tyler Bruening (16), Decorah, Iowa, 18.254
13. Justin Zeitner (62), Malvern, Iowa, 18.288
14. Cory Hedgecock (23), Sevierville, Tenn., 18.326
15. Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 18.387
16. Aaron Marrant (1x), Richmond, Mo., 18.649
17. Tim Lance (48), Brimfield, Ill., 18.686
18. Matt Furman (51), Iowa City, Iowa, 18.975
19. Junior Coover (10C), Norfolk, Neb., 19.257
20. Tim Simpson (17), Iowa City, Iowa, 19.345

Thursday’s schedule

(All times local)

8 a.m. - Ticket office opens
2-5:45 p.m. - Registration and technical inspection
2:30 p.m. - Pits open
4:30 p.m. - Suites open
5:30 p.m. - Grandstands open
6:15 p.m. - Drivers’ meeting
6:45 p.m. - On-track activity begins
- Late Model hot laps
- Late Model time trials (2 laps)
Opening ceremonies
- Late Model heat races (12 laps)
- Late Model consolations (15 laps)
- Late Model feature (25 laps)

Feature lineup

Row 1: Wilson, Pearson Jr.
Row 2: Moran, Davenport
Row 3: Ch. Ferguson, O'Neal
Row 4: Marlar, Thornton Jr.
Row 5: Shirley, Hughes
Row 6: Overton, Sheppard
Row 7: Blair, Chad Simpson
Row 8: Bronson, Hilsabeck
Row 9: T. Erb, Gustin
Row 10: Junghans, Bruening
Row 11: Chris Simpson, McCreadie
Row 12: Moyer, Lance

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