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Daily Dirt 03/23/2023 19:46:23

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October 16
Portsmouth Raceway Park,
Portsmouth, OH
Sanction: Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (Dirt Track World Championship) - $100,000
Information provided by: Kevin Kovac and series reports (last updated October 19, 11:17 am)
Thornton tops Overton, wins $100,000 DTWC
Dirt Track World Championship
  1. Ricky Thornton Jr.
  2. Brandon Overton
  3. Jonathan Davenport
  4. Mike Marlar
  5. Tim McCreadie
  6. Tyler Erb
  7. Earl Pearson Jr.
  8. Spencer Hughes
  9. Hudson O'Neal
  10. Jimmy Owens
  11. Dennis Erb Jr.
  12. Josh Richards
  13. Tanner English
  14. Scott Bloomquist
  15. Jason Jameson
  16. Devin Moran
  17. Mason Zeigler
  18. Boom Briggs
  19. Shane Clanton
  20. Stormy Scott
  21. Ryan Gustin
  22. Josh Rice
  23. Kyle Bronson
  24. Dustin Linville
  25. Devin Gilpin
  26. Brandon Fouts
presented by
Heath Lawson/heathlawsonphotos.com
Ricky Thornton Jr. (20rt) slips by Brandon Overton (76) on lap 83.
What won the race: Sneaking past Brandon Overton on the 83rd lap, polesitter Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., grabbed his richest career victory with a $100,000 payday in Saturday's 41st annual General Tire Dirt Track World Championship presented by Optima Batteries. Thornton dropped back to fourth early but fought back to lead lap 52 over Overton, then grabbed the lead exiting turn two shortly after a late restart. He won by 2.144 seconds over the top-ranked Overton who was seeking his third six-figure payday of 2021.
Key notes: Thornton finished second in last year's DTWC. ... Chris Ferguson of Mount Holly N.C., won a heat race but was disqualified when his team was involved in an altercation with four-time DTWC winner Brandon Sheppard's team after his fifth heat victory. ... Before the tour finale, Tim McCreadie was honored for his first Lucas Oil championship, a $75,000 payout. ... Rain washed out Friday's action, time trials and heat races for the Late Models were reset for Saturday afternoon.
On the move: Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., started 17th and finished third.
Winner's sponsors: Thornton’s SSI Motorsports Longhorn Chassis is powered by a Clements engine and sponsored by Hoker Trucking, Dyno One, Excel Floor Covering, Certified Inspection Service, D&E Outside Services, Dienes-Nitz Solutions & Powdercoating, Sub-Surface of Indiana, West Side Tractor Sales, Shelby Materials and Slicker Graphics.
Points chase: Final: 1. Tim McCreadie (7,355); 2. Hudson O’Neal (6,815); 3. Jonathan Davenport (6,640); 4. Jimmy Owens (6,515); 5. Tyler Erb (6,445); 6. Kyle Bronson (6,410); 7. Ricky Thornton Jr. (6,230); 8. Josh Richards (6,165); 9. Shane Clanton (5,905); 10. Earl Pearson Jr. (5,875).
Current weather: Broken Clouds, 54°F
Car count: 60
Fast qualifier: Ricky Thornton Jr.
Time: 15.254 seconds
Polesitter: Ricky Thornton Jr.
Heat race winners: Ricky Thornton Jr., Spencer Hughes, Kyle Bronson, Devin Moran, Chris Ferguson, Scott Bloomquist
Consolation race winners: Tyler Erb, Dustin Linville
Provisional starters: Josh Richards, Earl Pearson Jr., Brandon Fouts, Josh Rice
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.
From staff reports

PORTSMOUTH, Ohio — Arizona native Ricky Thornton Jr. notched one of his biggest career paydays at last year's General Tire Dirt Track World Championship with a second-place finish. Moving up one spot lifted him into the stratosphere of dirt racers with six-figure paydays.

Regaining the lead from top-ranked Brandon Overton on a lap-82 restart, Thornton led the rest of the way for a $100,000 victory Saturday at Portsmouth Raceway Park in capping his Rookie of the Year season on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.

"It's wild. I mean, I can't even explain it," said Thornton, who lives in Adel, Iowa, and races out of the Morgantown, Ind., shop of SSI Motorsports. "We were lucky enough to run second last year and to be able to (win) it this year, we're the only ones that kind of gambled on tires. So this is awesome. I've gotta thank (car owners) Todd and Vicki (Burns) and just everyone that helps."

Evans, Ga.'s Overton, gunning for his third six-figure payday of his stellar 28-victory season, settled for second, 2.144 seconds behind at the 3/8-mile oval that hosted a lengthy day of action after Friday's preliminaries were rained out. Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., rallied from 17th to third while Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., and Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y. — honored earlier in the evening for his first Lucas Oil championship — rounded out the top five.

Devin Moran of Dresden, Ohio, started outside the front row and led the first 35 laps, but he faded after Overton took command and the lone home-state starter in the 100-lapper retired with 10 laps remaining.

Moran's nifty first-lap move dropped Thornton to second on the opening lap, and the polesitter found himself in fourth behind Moran and Tennesseans Jimmy Owens and Scott Bloomquist by the fifth circuit. After losing one more spot on lap 10, Thornton turned things around and worked the high side to overtake Bloomquist and Owens on laps 16 and 17 before the eighth-starting Overton got rolling.

With Moran still out front, the charging Overton took second from Thornton on the 26th lap, but when Overton took the points 10 laps later, Thornton also dispatched Moran and began chasing the sport's No. 1-ranked driver.

Thornton briefly slipped ahead of Overton with a low-side move on the 52nd lap, but Overton's high-side momentum carried him back ahead on the next lap, and Thornton wasn't able to serious challenge again until the race's late stages.

A series of three cautions from laps 80-84 bunched the field and Thornton used a lap-82 restart to slip under Overton in turn one and emerged as the leader exiting turn two. He kept Overton in check on the next restart and pulled away in the closing laps.

"I was kind of worried, I really didn't want those yellows, but then I could get a really good run off of (turn) four on the start, and he'd kind of leave a half a lane getting into (turn) one," said Thornton, who notched his third career Lucas Oil victory and second of the season. "Finally that start I stayed with him down the front straightaway and I'm like, 'It's now or never.' It's a $100,000. I'd wreck my mom to win."

Overton didn't have an answer for Thornton and took the defeat in stride.

"I guess I just didn't get going enough (on the restart). He had a headful of steam when we got down in (turn one). It is what it is. Sometimes you just run second. Congrats to them guys, they did a good job and they gambled on tires and it paid off, you know," Overton said. "What do you do? I don't think nobody's going to feel bad for me for losing. It is what it is. We've had a helluva year and we'll take our second and head to the house.

"You kind of get spoiled. You get these big ones, you know, one after (another), and when you run second, it sucks, but I've been on the other end of it when you can barely make it (and) run 10th or 11th or whatever."

Davenport's rallied from the eighth row petered out late in the race as he reached the podium but couldn't catch the frontrunners.

"Me and Brandon pretty much had the same (tires) but Ricky was a little bit different, so he was definitely better later in the race when (the track surface) took rubber," Davenport said. "We just wore ours down and really didn't have no tread to go (in the late laps). The top in (turns) three and four died just a little too early before I could get up there and surprise 'em."

Preliminary struggles left him with a hole couldn't dig out of in starting 17th.

"That put us way back in the field, but my guys Jason and Vinny and Clint and Matt gave me a great Nutrien Ag Longhorn, and you know, we did all we could," he said. "We picked our battles when we could and tried to manage the tires as good as we could. Congratulations to Ricky, that's pretty awesome."

Thornton couldn't agree more.

"I've always wanted to be a Late Model driver and I think this kind of solidifies it," he said in victory lane, already thinking about 2022. "We're excited to be able to run the whole Lucas Series and be able to come and run this. It's pretty awesome and we look forward to the future."

Seven cautions slowed the action, including the first slowdown on the 23rd when Devin Gilpin spun in turn one and collected Bloomquist, who was running fourth.

A lap-25 caution flew when Dustin Linville's damaged car slowed and another yellow on lap 30 for a slowing Kyle Bronson, who broke a driveshaft, while lap-36 yellow dropped for a slowing Josh Rice.

The final three cautions came in quick succession when Bloomquist slowed with a flat right-rear tire (lap 80), provisional starter Josh Richards had a flat left-rear (lap 82) and Jason Jameson came to a stop (lap 84).

Notes: Thornton notched his fifth overall victory of 2021 and first since May 14. ... His other Lucas Oil victory this season came Feb. 1 at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla. ... Series runner-up Hudson O'Neal bent a right-front tie rod that his team tried to repair during a lap-30 caution. ... Chris Ferguson of Mount Holly, N.C., crossed the line first in the fifth heat race to earn the apparent fourth starting spot in the 100-lapper, but he was disqualified from his heat finish after a pitside altercation with the team of Brandon Sheppard. Sheppard, who was fifth in the heat won by Ferguson, was also disqualified. ... A tribute car for late Kentucky driver Jackie Boggs, a former Portsmouth standout, paced the four-wide parade laps. ... Ryan Gustin was racing on his 31st birthday but retired on the lap-37 caution with brake issues.

41st General Tire Dirt Track World Championship presented by Optima Batteries
Driver (car no.), hometown, chassis, earnings

1. Ricky Thornton Jr. (20rt), Chandler, Ariz., Longhorn, $100,000
2. Brandon Overton (76), Evans, Ga., Longhorn, $20,000
3. Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., Longhorn, $10,000
4. Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., Longhorn, $7,000
5. Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., Longhorn, $5,000
6. Tyler Erb (1), New Waverly, Texas, Rocket, $3,500
7. Earl Pearson Jr. (46), Jacksonville, Fla., Longhorn, $3,200
8. Spencer Hughes (11), Meridian, Miss., Longhorn, $3,000
9. Hudson O'Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., Rocket, $2,800
10. Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., Rocket, $2,500
11. Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., Rocket, $2,450
12. Josh Richards (14), Shinnston, W.Va., Rocket, $2,400
13. Tanner English (81E), Benton, Ky., Rocket, $2,350
14. Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., Team Zero, $2,300
15. Jason Jameson (12), Lawrenceburg, Ind., Rocket, $2,250
16. Devin Moran (9), Dresden, Ohio, Longhorn, $2,200
17. Mason Zeigler (9z), Chalk Hill, Pa., Rocket, $2,150
18. Boom Briggs (99B), Bear Lake, Pa., Rocket, $2,100
19. Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., Capital, $2,075
20. Stormy Scott (2s), Las Cruces, N.M., Longhorn, $2,060
21. Ryan Gustin (19r), Marshalltown, Iowa, Rocket, $2,050
22. Josh Rice (11), Verona, Ky., Rocket, $2,040
23. Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., Rocket, $2,030
24: Dustin Linville (D8), Lancaster, Ky., Swartz, $2,020
25: Devin Gilpin (1G), Columbus, Ind., Rocket, $2,010
26: Brandon Fouts (81), Kite, Ky., Swartz, $2,000
DQ: Chris Ferguson (22), Mount Holly, N.C., Team Zero (DNS after altercation in pits following heat action)
Lap leaders: Moran 1-35; Overton 36-51, 53-82; Thornton 52, 83-100
Fast qualifier (among 60 cars): Thornton, 15.254
Heat race winners: Thornton, Hughes, Bronson, Moran, Chris Ferguson, Bloomquist
Consolation winners: T. Erb, Linville
Provisional starters: Richards, Pearson, Fouts, Rice
Non-qualifiers’ race winner: TBD

Feature lineup

Row 1: Ricky Thornton Jr., Devin Moran
Row 2: Spencer Hughes, Jimmy Owens
Row 3: Kyle Bronson, Scott Bloomquist
Row 4: Mason Zeigler, Brandon Overton
Row 5: Shane Clanton, Devin Gilpin
Row 6: Tanner English, Mike Marlar
Row 7: Tim McCreadie, Jason Jameson
Row 8: Ryan Gustin, Boom Briggs
Row 9: Jonathan Davenport, Hudson O'Neal
Row 10: Tyler Erb, Dustin Linville
Row 11: Dennis Erb Jr., Stormy Scott
Row 12: Josh Richards, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 13: Brandon Fouts, Josh Rice

Consolation race results

(10 laps; top two transfer)

First consolation: Tyler Erb, Dennis Erb Jr., Josh Rice, Josh Richards, Jared Hawkins, Zack Dohm, Ronnie Whitt, Kevin Wagner, Nathon Loney, Anthony Kinkade, Jerry Bowersock, Brandon Fouts, Todd Brennan, Robby Hensley, Ryan Markham, Robert Starret, Richie Edwards, Jon Hodgkiss, Dean Bowen, Corey Lewis. Scratched: K.C. Burdette.

Second consolation: Dustin Linville, Stormy Scott, Steve Casebolt, Colten Burdette, R.J. Conley, Max Blair, Matt Lux, Matt Cosner, Rod Conley, Chris Carpenter, Nick Bocook, Colton Flinner, Shannon Thornsberry, Charlie June, Shane Bailey, Chase Frohnapfel, Earl Pearson Jr. Scratched: Allen Murray, Tim Dohm.

Heat race results

(Eight laps; top three transfer)

First heat: Ricky Thornton Jr., Mason Zeigler, Tim McCreadie, Tyler Erb, Josh Rice, Ronnie Whitt, Ryan Markham, Kevin Wagner. Scratched: Corey Lewis, Robby Hensley.

Second heat: Spencer Hughes, Shane Canton, Ryan Gustin, Ryan Gustin, Dennis Erb Jr., Jared Hawkins, Jerry Bowersock, Nathon Loney, Brandon Fouts, Todd Brennan, Robert Starret.

Third heat: Kyle Bronson, Tanner English, Jonathan Davenport, Josh Richards, Zack Dohm, Dean, Bowen, Jon Hodgkiss, Anthony Kinkade, Richie Edwards. Scratched: K.C. Burdette.

Fourth heat: Devin Moran, Brandon Overton, Jason Jameson, Dustin Linville, Stormy Scott, Shannon Thornsberry, Nick Bocook, Charlie Jude, Earl Pearson Jr., Tim Dohm.

Fifth heat: Chris Ferguson, Jimmy Owens, Devin Gilpin, Boom Briggs, Brandon Sheppard, Steve Casebolt, Colten Burdette, Matt Lux, Rod Conley, Allen Murray.

Sixth heat: Scott Bloomquist, Mike Marlar, Hudson O'Neal, R.J. Conley, Max Blair, Matt Cosner, Colton Flinner, Shane Bailey, Chris Carpenter, Chase Frohnapfel.


With skies clearing through the late morning hours after the rain that washed out Friday's qualifying program continued overnight, Saturday's hot laps began on schedule at 1:45 p.m.

Ricky Thornton Jr. was the overall fastest of the 60 entered drivers, which included Saturday additions Josh Rice and Charlie Jude. Thornton's lap of 15.254 seconds earned him the pole position for the first of the afternoon's six eight-lap qualifying heats that will transfer the top three finishers to this evening's 100-lap DTWC feature.

Devin Moran was the quickest qualifier in the second group with a lap of 15.661 seconds, putting him on the pole of the fourth heat. Other heat polesitters are Spencer Hughes, Kyle Bronson, Chris Ferguson and Scott Bloomquist.

Correction: Fixes Bronson as heat polesitter sted McCreadie.

Friday rainout

A strong line of showers and thunderstorms that deluged Portsmouth Raceway Park forced track and Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series officials to postpone Friday night’s 41st annual General Tire Dirt Track World Championship qualifying program, setting up a full day of competition on Saturday.

With rain expected to end overnight and sunny conditions to arrive by Saturday afternoon, officials plan to open all gates at 1 p.m. and begin hot laps at 1:45 p.m. Time trials and heat races for the 58 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series entries will highlight the afternoon action and lead into Saturday evening’s regularly-scheduled consolations, non-qualifiers’ race and 100-lap DTWC finale that boasts a $100,000 first-place prize.

Time trials

First group   

  1. Ricky Thornton Jr. (20rt), Chandler, Ariz., 15.254
  2. Spencer Hughes (11H), Meridian, Miss., 15.672
  3. Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., 15.721
  4. Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 15.738
  5. Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 15.746
  6. Tanner English (81E), Benton, Ky., 15.770
  7. Mason Zeigler (9z), Chalk Hill, Pa., 15.789
  8. Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 15.832
  9. Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., 15.849
  10. Tyler Erb (1), New Waverly, Texas, 15.951
  11. Jared Hawkins (11J), Fairmont, W.Va., 16.068
  12. Josh Richards (14), Shinnston, W.Va., 16.127
  13. Josh Rice (11), Verona, Ky., 16.151
  14. Nathon Loney (10), Danville, Ohio, 16.192
  15. Zack Dohm (17D), Cross Lanes, W.Va., 16.242
  16. Corey Lewis (1L), Vanceburg, Ky., 16.372
  17. Ryan Gustin (19R), Marshalltown, Iowa, 16.372
  18. Dean Bowen (15), Whiteville, N.C., 16.396
  19. Ronnie Whitt (11W), Grayson, Ky., 16.413
  20. Brandon Fouts (81F), Kite, Ky., 16.447
  21. Jon Hodgkiss (69), Kennedy Township, Pa., 16.539
  22. Ryan Markham (5M), Ashland, Ohio, 16.574
  23. Jerry Bowersock (95j), Wapakoneta, Ohio, 16.683
  24. Anthony Kinkade (144), Zanesville, Ohio, 16.864
  25. Kevin Wagner (33K), Wheelersburg, Ohio, 16.869
  26. Robert Starret (32A), Latham, Ohio, 17.076
  27. Richie Edwards (21E), Grayson, Ky., 44.118
  28. Robby Hensley (21H), Walton, Ky., no time
  29. Todd Brennan (20B), Zanesville, Ohio, no time
  30. K.C. Burdette (KC44), Parkersburg, W.Va., no time

Second group   

  1. Devin Moran (9), Dresden, Ohio, 15.661
  2. Chris Ferguson (22), Mount Holly, N.C., 15.754
  3. Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 15.763
  4. Brandon Overton (76), Evans, Ga., 15.848
  5. Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill., 15.856
  6. Colton Flinner (48), Allison Park, Pa., 16.026
  7. Earl Pearson Jr. (46), Jacksonville, Fla., 16.038
  8. Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 16.095
  9. Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., 16.101
  10. Jason Jameson (12J), Lawrenceburg, Ind., 16.157
  11. Devin Gilpin (1G), Columbus, Ind., 16.183
  12. Max Blair (111), Centerville, Pa., 16.281
  13. Stormy Scott (2s), Las Cruces, N.M., 16.291
  14. Steve Casebolt (C9), Richmond, Ind., 16.344
  15. Hudson O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., 16.419
  16. Dustin Linville (D8), Lancaster, Ky., 16.420
  17. Boom Briggs (99B), Bear Lake, Pa., 16.426
  18. Chris Carpenter (18C), Parkersburg, W.Va., 16.431
  19. Tim Dohm (6T), Cross Lanes, W.Va., 16.449
  20. Matt Lux (111L), Franklin, Pa., 16.474
  21. Matt Cosner (66C), Ridgeley, W.Va., 16.525
  22. Shannon Thornsberry (17ST), Martin, Ky., 16.551
  23. Colton Burdette (44B), Parkersburg, W.Va., 16.608
  24. R.J. Conley (71C), Wheelersburg, Ohio, 16.721
  25. Nick Bocock (1B), Wheelersburg, Ohio, 16.794
  26. Rod Conley (71R), Wheelersburg, Ohio, 16.856
  27. Shane Bailey (1B), Grayson, Ky., 16.856
  28. Charlie Jude (CJ1), Inez, Ky., 16.870
  29. Allen Murray (2M), San Antonio, Texas, 16.976
  30. Chase Frohnapfel (145), Canal Winchester, Ohio, 17.353

Saturday’s schedule

1 p.m. - Pit and grandstand gates open
1:15 p.m. - Drivers’ meeting
1:45 p.m. - Hot laps
- Late Model hot laps  
- Steel Block Late Model hot laps/time trials (4 cars at a time)
- Legends Car hot laps
- Late Model time trials
- Opening ceremonies
- Legends Car heats (two, 6 laps)
- Late Model heats (six, 8 laps)
- Modified feature hot laps
- Steel Block Late Model heats (five, 8 laps)
- Modified feature (25 laps)
- Legends Car feature (15 laps)
- Steel Block Late Model consolations (two, 10 laps)
- Brief intermission, track prep
- Late Model consolation hot laps
- Steel Block Late Model hot laps
- Invocation/national anthem
- Awards presentation for Lucas Oil Series champion and Rookie of the Year
- Late Model consolations (10 laps)
- Late Model heat-race transfers hot laps
- Intermission/track prep (if necessary)
- 41st annual Dirt Track World Championship (100 laps)
- DTWC victory lane
- Steel Block Late Model feature (25 laps)
- Jim Dunn Memorial Late Model Non-Qualifiers Race (25 laps)

Feature lineup

Row 1: Thornton, Moran
Row 2: Hughes, Owens
Row 3: Bronson, Bloomquist
Row 4: Zeigler, Overton
Row 5: Clanton, Gilpin
Row 6: English, Marlar
Row 7: McCreadie, Jameson
Row 8: Gustin, Briggs
Row 9: Davenport, O'Neal
Row 10: T. Erb, Linville
Row 11: D. Erb, Scott
Row 12: Richards, Pearson
Row 13: Fouts, Rice

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