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Daily Dirt 12/11/2023 00:48:12

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March 31
Lucas Oil Speedway,
Wheatland, MO
Sanction: Lucas Oil Midwest LateModel Racing Association (Spring Nationals) - $5,000
Information provided by: Series and track reports (last updated April 1, 1:20 pm)
Thornton untouchable in Wheatland's MLRA opener
Spring Nationals
  1. Ricky Thornton Jr.
  2. Bobby Pierce
  3. Jonathan Davenport
  4. Tanner English
  5. Dillon McCowan
  6. Earl Pearson Jr.
  7. Tyler Stevens
  8. Brandon Sheppard
  9. Chad Simpson
  10. Billy Moyer
  11. Garrett Alberson
  12. Brian Shirley
  13. Logan Martin
  14. Spencer Hughes
  15. Gordy Gundaker
  16. Stormy Scott
  17. Tony Jackson Jr.
  18. Dustin Sorensen
  19. Mason Oberkramer
  20. Daniel Hilsabeck
  21. Kolby Vandenbergh
  22. Cole Wells
  23. Steve Stultz
  24. Aaron Marrant
  25. Chris Simpson
  26. Jeff Herzog
presented by
Todd Boyd/photosbyboyd.smugmug.com
Ricky Thornton Jr. and the SSI Motorsports team in victory lane.
What won the race: Third-starting Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., took the lead with an inside move on lap 14 and never looked back, winning Friday's $5,000 Lucas Oil Midwest LateModel Racing Association season opener at Lucas Oil Speedway. Thornton notched his second career MLRA series victory and his fourth victory overall of 2023.
Quotable: “We were really good there. We practiced really good yesterday, I was super comfortable and kinda the same there,” said winner Ricky Thornton Jr., competing for the first time since Feb. 18. “I was waiting for the track to slow down a little bit, then it really kinda took off, so it shows how hard our guys work.”
Key notes: Sixth-starting Bobby Pierce moved into the runner-up position on lap 18 and trailed Thornton Jr. by just over one second, but was unable to narrow the gap and finished 4.925 seconds back. ... Jonathan Davenport advanced seven positions and finished third. ... Tanner English gained four spots and finished fourth. ... Teenager Dillon McCowan of Urbana, Mo., led the first 13 laps before fading to finish fifth. McCowan had an impressive battle with Pierce to win his heat race earlier in the evening. ... Polesitter Earl Pearson Jr. failed to lead a lap and finished sixth. ... Still growing accustomed to his new Longhorn Chassis Brandon Sheppard advanced four spots and finished eighth. ... Friday's feature, the opener of the MLRA's 35th anniversary season, was completed without incident and lasted only 11 minutes, with 11 competitors completing 40 laps. ... The 10th annual Spring Nationals concludes with Saturday's $10,000-to-win finale. ... Watch live on FloRacing.
On the move: Reigning MLRA series champion Chad Simpson of Mount Vernon, Iowa, started 21st and finished ninth.
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.
Current weather: Overcast, 64°F
Car count: 48
Fast qualifier: Bobby Pierce
Time: 16.337 seconds
Polesitter: Earl Pearson Jr.
Heat race winners: Earl Pearson Jr., Ricky Thornton Jr., Dillon McCowan, Billy Moyer
Consolation race winners: Garrett Alberson, Daniel Hilsabeck
Provisional starters: Kolby Vandenbergh, Steve Stultz, Tony Jackson Jr., Aaron Marrant
Next series race: April 1, Lucas Oil Speedway (Wheatland, MO) $10,000
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.

Feature lineup

Row 1: Pearson Jr., McCowan
Row 2: Thornton Jr., Moyer
Row 3: Chr. Simpson, Pierce
Row 4: Stevens, English
Row 5: Herzog, Davenport
Row 6: S. Scott, Sheppard
Row 7: G. Gundaker, Sorensen
Row 8: Hughes, Shirley
Row 9: Alberson, Hilsabeck
Row 10: Martin, C. Wells
Row 11: Cha. Simpson, Oberkramer
Row 12: Vandenbergh, Stultz
Row 13: Jackson Jr., Marrant
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