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Daily Dirt 07/23/2024 15:11:43

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June 22
Lernerville Speedway,
Sarver, PA
Sanction: Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (Firecracker 100) - $50,000
Information provided by: Kyle McFadden, series and track reports (last updated June 23, 6:52 am)
Back-to-back Thornton sizzles at Firecracker
Firecracker 100
  1. Ricky Thornton Jr.
  2. Devin Moran
  3. Mike Marlar
  4. Jonathan Davenport
  5. Drake Troutman
  6. Tim McCreadie
  7. Garrett Alberson
  8. Mason Zeigler
  9. Hudson O'Neal
  10. Gregg Satterlee
  11. Daulton Wilson
  12. Max Blair
  13. Ross Robinson
  14. Tyler Wyant
  15. Clay Harris
  16. Cory Lawler
  17. Carson Ferguson
  18. Tyler Dietz
  19. Boom Briggs
  20. Logan Zarin
  21. Brenden Smith
  22. Michael Norris
  23. Colton Flinner
  24. John Garvin Jr.
  25. Spencer Hughes
  26. Jimmy Owens
  27. Trevor Collins
  28. Ken Schaltenbrand
presented by
Heath Lawson/heathlawsonphotos.com
Ricky Thornton Jr. whoops it up in victory lane at Lernerville.
What won the race: Wrestling the lead away from Mike Marlar just before halfway, Ricky Thornton Jr. led the final 56 laps Saturday at Lernerville Speedway to become the first back-to-back winner of the Firecracker 100 to earn $50,000 on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. The dominating Thornton pulled away and wasn't challenged the rest of the way for his 10th full-field series victory of the season. Devin Moran rallied from 16th to finish 12.335 seconds behind as the runner-up with Marlar third.
Key notes: Thornton, the series points leader, has 33 career Lucas Oil victories. ... He's the fifth multitime winner of the Lernerville's biggest Late Model event. ... Lap leaders: Thornton 1-2, 38, 45-100; Drake Troutman 3-4; and Mike Marlar 5-37 and 39-44. ... The pole-starting Troutman was fifth in his first 100-lapper in the division. ... The feature was slowed by three cautions, all in the first 12 laps. ... The most serious was for a multicar pileup in turn two on the 12th lap with Spencer Hughes, Jimmy Owens, Logan Zarin, Tyler Wyant and Boom Briggs among those involved. ... Other cautions: Trevor Collins spun in turn two on the fourth lap while Colton Flinner slipped over the turn-three banking for a lap-11 yellow.
On the move: Runner-up Devin Moran of Dresden, Ohio, started 16th.
Winner's sponsors: Thornton’s SSI Motorsports Longhorn Chassis is powered by a Clements Racing Engine and carries sponsorship from Dyno One, Hoker Trucking LLC, Coltman Farms Racing, Sub-Surface of Indiana, Big River Steel, Murty Farms, High Performance Lubricants, West Side Tractor Sales, Bilstein, Sunoco Race Fuels, FK Rod Ends, Allstar Performance, Dirt Car Lift, Midwest Sheet Metal and EMD Wraps.
Points chase: After Lernerville: 1. Ricky Thornton Jr. (3,720); 2. Jonathan Davenport (3,495); 3. Devin Moran (3,335); 4. Tim McCreadie (3,135); 5. Mike Marlar (3,100); 6. Hudson O'Neal (3,030); 7. Garrett Alberson (3,015); 8. Daulton Wilson (2,985); 9. Jimmy Owens (2,915); 10. Max Blair (2,560); 11. Brandon Sheppard (2,550); 12. Ross Robinson (2,450).
Current weather: Scattered Clouds, 81°F
Car count: 53
Polesitter: Drake Troutman
Heat race winners: Drake Troutman, Ricky Thornton Jr., Jonathan Davenport, Mike Marlar, Mason Zeigler, Garrett Alberson
Consolation race winners: Spencer Hughes, Ross Robinson
Provisional starters: Brenden Smith, Cory Lawler, Tyler Dietz, Ken Schaltenbrand
Next series race: July 5, Portsmouth Raceway Park (Portsmouth, OH) $20,000
Editor's note: Corrects that Thornton is the race's first back-to-back winner, not first repeat winner.
From staff reports

SARVER, Pa. — After winning a Thursday semifeature at Lernerville Speedway, Ricky Thornton Jr. was a tick off in Friday's action, settling for a third-place finish in the final preliminary for the 18th annual Firecracker 100 presented by Big River Steel weekend. His SSI Motorsports team plotted to improve for Saturday's $50,000-to-win finale.

"We threw a couple of things at it tonight to try to get a little bit better from last night," Thornton said. "And I think it helped."

Thornton's understatement of Lernerville Speedway's big weekend came after he absolutely dominated the second half of Saturday's century grind, wrestling the lead from Mike Marlar for good on the 45th lap and pulled away, never to be seen again by his pursuers.

The 33-year-old Arizona native piloting the Indiana-based SSI entry won by a mindboggling 12.3 seconds, lapping all but seven competitors and becoming the first driver to win the 4/10-mile oval's biggest Dirt Late Model event in consecutive seasons.

"It's awesome to be able to do this back-to-back," said the second-starting Thornton, who notched his series-leading 10th full-field Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory of the season in extending his points lead.

Devin Moran of Dresden, Ohio, rallied past everyone except Thornton, scoring a runner-up finish while Winfield, Tenn.'s Marlar settled for third after leading twice for 39 laps. Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., was fourth and upstart polesitter Drake Troutman of Hyndman, Pa., was in line for a podium finish most of the way before slipping to fifth as the top home-state finisher in his first division 100-lapper.

Thornton had concern over his powerplant late in the race, but he continued to expand his lead all the same.

"Honestly, with 15 (laps) to go, something happened in the motor, and I really couldn't run as hard as I wanted to," he said. "I don't know if it dropped the valve or what. I feel like I slowed down a ton but, I don't know. It was really good. I was just kind of waiting for (the track surface) to finally slow down a little bit and, it was weird, the slower the track got. the better traction I had."

While communications from his crew let him know he had a lead — he wasn't sure how big — Thornton tried to judge his progress by the cars he was lapping.

"There was a few times I'd get to a lapped car and I couldn't never really drive hard enough to get by him," Thornton said. "And then I'm like, 'Man, I feel like I'm really slowing my pace down,' and then my (spotter) just kind of let me know like, 'Yeah, you got a little bit of the lead.' He didn't really tell me I had that big of a lead, but I mean, it's hard.

"One time I tried to slow down in (turns) three and four and I actually about went off the top. So I just got in a good rhythm there and just tried to (pace himself with faster lapped drivers). "They had a good enough pace at that point where if the guys behind me are gonna catch me, they were gonna have to really be good."

And no one was good enough, although Moran made impressive progress in rallying to second, gaiining eight of those positions without the aid of a caution.

"I'm mainly just bummed I messed up in the heat race and starting 16th (in the feature) when Ricky's on the front row is almost impossible," Moran said. "I shouldn't be bummed because we ran second, but I just know how good of a race car we had and didn't give ourselves a chance."

Moran likely never got a good look at Thornton's fleet No. 20rt, but he had other vision problems, too, when he didn't have enough plastic visor shields that allows driver to clear away splotches of mud.

"I ran out of tearoffs and about 10 laps there (running) back in the field," he said. "I was hoping they'd give us (a chance to replace them) but then we didn't have any cautions the rest of the race. So to come up through there without any cautions is pretty cool, and yeah, we'll take it."

While the pole-starting Troutman took the point on laps 3-4 after Thornton led the first two laps, it was Marlar who appeared to be Thornton's strongest competition in the first half of the race, leading laps 5-44 except when Thornton barely nosed ahead to lead lap 38. But Marlar knew his car wasn't as good at leaving the corner as his top competition.

"I just can't complete the corner. (Thornton) and Devin's cars definitely from the center (of the corner) out, turn left and get that straight line down straightaway. And I'm headed the wrong way all the time on exit," the third-finishing Marlar said. "I know I am and I bend the car and manipulate it, but then you roast the back tires off doing that. So I knew I was in trouble and I was just trying to do what I could do, but I was struggling pretty bad there. Those guys were just better, you know?"

"We've had three pretty rough weeks. We went down to Longhorn and kind of updated our car a little bit and worked on our program some. Definitely I think that's showing some progress."

The 100-lapper was slowed by three cautions, all in the first 12 laps. The most serious came for a multicar pileup in turn two on the 12th lap with Spencer Hughes, Jimmy Owens, Logan Zarin, Tyler Wyant and Boom Briggs among those involved. Before that Trevor Collins spun in turn two on the fourth lap while Colton Flinner slipped over the turn-three banking for a lap-11 yellow.

18th annual Firecracker 100 presented by Big River Steel
Pos. Driver (car no.), hometown, chassis, earnings
1. Ricky Thornton Jr. (20rt), Chandler, Ariz., Longhorn, $50,000
2. Devin Moran (99), Dresden, Ohio, Longhorn, $20,000
3. Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., Longhorn, $10,000
4. Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., Longhorn, $8,000
5. Drake Troutman (7), Hyndman, Pa., Longhorn, $6,000
6. Tim McCreadie (1), Watertown, N.Y., Rocket, $5,000
7. Garrett Alberson (58), Las Cruces, N.M., Longhorn, $4,000
8. Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa., Rocket, $3,000
9. Hudson O'Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., Longhorn, $2,750
10. Gregg Satterlee (22), Indiana, Pa., Rocket, $2,600
11. Daulton Wilson (18D), Fayetteville, N.C., Longhorn, $2,500
12. Max Blair (111), Centerville, Pa., Longhorn, $2,475
13. Ross Robinson (7), Georgetown, Del., Rocket, $2,450
14. Tyler Wyant (24), Oil City, Pa., Kryptonie $2,425
15. Clay Harris (6), Jupiter, Fla., Rocket, $2,400
16. Cory Lawler (93), Hanover, Pa., Rocket, $2,375
17. Carson Ferguson (93), Lincolnton, N.C., Longhorn, $2,350
18. Tyler Dietz (00), Saxonburg, Pa., Longhorn, $2,325
19. Boom Briggs (99B), Bear Lake, Pa., Rocket, $2,300
20. Logan Zarin (1z), Moon Township, Pa., Rocket, $2,250
21. Brenden Smith (17ss), Dade City Fla., Rocket, $2,200
22. Michael Norris (72), Sarver, Pa., Rocket, $2,150
23. Colton Flinner (48), Allison Park, Pa., Longhorn, $2,100
24. John Garvin Jr. (10), Sarver, Pa., Rocket, $2,050
25. Spencer Hughes (19m), Meridian, Miss., Rocket $2,000
26. Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., Rocket, $2,000
27. Trevor Collins (11), Seaford, Del., Rocket, $2,000
28. Ken Schaltenbrand (29), Sarver, Pa., Longhorn, $2,000
Lap leaders: Thornton 1-2, 38, 45-100; Troutman 3-4; Marlar 5-37, 39-44
Preliminary feature winners: Thornton, Davenport, Troutman, Moran
Heat race winners (among 53 cars): Troutman, Thornton, Davenport, Marlar, Zeigler, Alberson
Consolation winners: Hughes, Robinson
Provisional starters: Smith, Lawler, Dietz, Schaltenbrand

Feature lineup

(100 laps)

Row 1: Drake Troutman, Ricky Thornton Jr.
Row 2: Jonathan Davenport, Mike Marlar
Row 3: Mason Zeigler, Garrett Alberson
Row 4: Carson Ferguson, Tim McCreadie
Row 5: Hudson O'Neal, Daulton Wilson
Row 6: Gregg Satterlee, Jimmy Owens
Row 7: Clay Harris, Max Blair
Row 8: Tyler Wyant, Devin Moran
Row 9: Michael Norris, Boom Briggs
Row 10: Spencer Hughes, Ross Robinson
Row 11: Colton Flinner, Logan Zarin
Row 12: John Garvin Jr., Trevor Collins
Row 13: Brenden Smith, Cory Lawler
Row 14: Tyler Dietz, Ken Schaltenbrand

Consolation race results

(12 laps; top three transfer)

First consolation: Spencer Hughes, Colton Flinner, John Garvin Jr., Chub Frank, Cory Lawler, Bump Hedman, Bo Lockwood, Jared Miley, Levi Yetter, Jamie Lathroum, Joshua Powell, Brenden Smith, Breyton Santee. Scratched: Forrest Trent, Alex Ferree, Ryan Payne.

Second consolation: Ross Robinson, Logan Zarin, Trevor Collins, Dan Stone, Michael Duritsky, Dan Angelicchio, Gary Lyle, Chad Green, Tyler Dietz. Scratched: Tony White, Ken Schaltenbrand, Brock Pinkerous.

Heat race recap

Continuing his impressive weekend, Hyndman, Pa.’s Drake Troutman streaked to a four-second victory over fellow series rookies Carson Ferguson and Clay Harris in the opening heat race to earn the Firecracker 100 pole: “Man, this car has been really good all weekend,” Troutman told pit reporter Ben Shelton. “We went through it this week and found a few things wrong. Just super proud of my guys for working their tails. I think the track is going to be pretty good late in the race. Pace ourselves for the first 70 and try to give it hell the final 30.” … Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., started second but faded to finish fifth and will now have to transfer through the B-main. The 62-year-old Frank has never missed a Firecracker feature. … Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., prevailed in a three-caution second heat over Tim McCreadie and Max Blair. Levi Yetter, Ryan Payne and Forrest Trent drew stoppages for separate incidents in the second heat. … Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., held off a lurking Hudson O’Neal to win the third heat that saw Lernerville regular Alex Ferree flip viciously over the turn-three banking. Ferree emerged OK. … Davenport said he’s “still throwing stuff” setup-wise at his car “because we aren’t as good as we need to be,” adding “we need just a little more, I guess.” … Tyler Wyant passed Jamie Lathroum in the final laps of the third heat for the final transfer spot. … Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., topped the fourth heat in flag-to-flag fashion with Daulton Wilson and Devin Moran filing behind. … Chalk Hill, Pa.’s Mason Zeigler pulled out a narrow victory over Gregg Satterlee and Michael Norris in the fifth heat as 0.449 of a second separated the three at the finish. … Making his first Lucas Oil Series appearance and sixth-ever Super Late Model start, 14-year-old Brock Pinkerous drew the only caution in the fifth heat when he jumped the turn three cushion. The RUSH Series points leader finished seventh. … Garrett Alberson of Las Cruces, N.M., captured the sixth and final heat over Jimmy Owens and Boom Briggs. Third-starting Ken Schaltenbrand of Server, Pa., slowed out of a transfer spot on lap two with an apparent mechanical failure. … The first heat went green at 8:22 p.m. with the final heat taking the checkers at 9:08.

Heat race results

(10 laps; top three transfer)

First heat: Drake Troutman, Carson Ferguson, Clay Harris, Spencer Hughes, Chub Frank, John Garvin Jr., Bo Lockwood, Brenden Smith. Scratched: Joshua Powell.

Second heat: Ricky Thornton Jr.,Tim McCreadie, Max Blair, Colton Flinner, Bump Hedman, Levi Yetter, Forrest Trent, Ryan Payne. Scratched: Zachary Kane.

Third heat: Jonathan Davenport, Hudson O'Neal, Tyler Wyant, Cory Lawler, Jamie Lathroum, Breyton Santee, Alex Ferree, Jared Miley. Scratched: Eric Hohol.

Fourth heat: Mike Marlar, Daulton Wilson, Devin Moran, Logan Zarin, Trevor Collins, Gary Lyle, Chad Green, Tyler Dietz. Scratched: Joe Petyak.

Fifth heat: Mason Zeigler, Gregg Satterlee, Michael Norris, Ross Robinson, Dan Stone, Michael Duritsky, Brock Pinkerous. Scratched: Kyle Lukon, Randy Wyant.

Sixth heat: Garrett Alberson, Jimmy Owens, Boom Briggs, Dan Anglelicchio, Tony White, Ken Schaltenbrand. Scratched: Jon Lee, Denny Fenton.

Correction: Fixes first heat finish.

Heat race lineups

(10 laps; top three transfer)

First heat
Row 1: Drake Troutman, Chub Frank
Row 2: Carson Ferguson, Spencer Hughes
Row 3: Clay Harris, John Garvin Jr.
Row 4: Brenden Smith, Bo Lockwood
Row 5: Joshua Powell
Second heat
Row 1: Ricky Thornton Jr., Tim McCreadie
Row 2: Max Blair, Colton Flinner
Row 3: Forrest Trent, Levi Yetter
Row 4: Ryan Payne, Bump Hedman
Row 5: Zachary Kane
Third heat
Row 1: Jonathan Davenport, Hudson O’Neal
Row 2: Tyler Wyant, Jared Miley
Row 3: Cory Lawler, Jamie Lathroum
Row 4: Breyton Santee, Alex Ferree
Row 5: Eric Hohol
Fourth heat
Row 1: Mike Marlar, Devin Moran
Row 2: Daulton Wilson, Trevor Collins
Row 3: Logan Zarin, Tyler Dietz
Row 4: Gary Lyle, Chad Green
Row 5: Joe Petyak
Fifth heat
Row 1: Ross Robinson, Mason Zeigler
Row 2: Michael Norris, Gregg Satterlee
Row 3: Michael Duritsky, Dan Stone
Row 4: Brock Pinkerous, Kyle Lukon
Row 5: Randy Wyant
Sixth heat
Row 1: Garrett Alberson, Jimmy Owens
Row 2: Ken Schaltenbrand, Dan Angelicchio
Row 3: Jon Lee, Boom Briggs
Row 4: Denny Fenton, Tony White

Saturday’s schedule

(All times local)
2 p.m. - Pits open
3 p.m. - Grandstands open
4:30-5:15 p.m. - Drivers’ autograph session
6:30 p.m. - Drivers’ meeting
7 p.m. - On-track activity
- RUSH Crate hot laps
- Lucas Oil Series hot laps
Opening ceremonies
- RUSH Crate consolations (12 laps)
- Lucas Oil heats (10 laps)
- Lucas Oil consolations (12 laps)
- RUSH Crate locked-in A-main hot laps
Lucas Oil Series driver introductions
Feature events
- Lucas Oil Firecracker 100
- RUSH Crate Bill Emig Memorial (50 laps)
- RUSH Crate non-qualifiers' race

Feature lineup

Row 1: Troutman, Thornton
Row 2: Davenport, Marlar
Row 3: Zeigler, Alberson
Row 4: Ferguson, McCreadie
Row 5: O'Neal, Wilson
Row 6: Satterlee, Owens
Row 7: Harris, Blair
Row 8: Wyant, Moran
Row 9: Norris, Briggs
Row 10: Hughes, Robinson
Row 11: Flinner, Zarin
Row 12: Garvin, Collins
Row 13: Smith, Lawler
Row 14: Dietz, Schaltenbrand

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