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Daily Dirt 12/11/2023 00:56:10

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April 19
Brownstown Speedway,
Brownstown, IN
Sanction: Castrol FloRacing Night in America - $23,023
Information provided by: Robert Holman, series and track reports (last updated April 20, 10:08 am)
Thornton dominates Castrol foes for $23,023
  1. Ricky Thornton Jr.
  2. Mike Marlar
  3. Devin Moran
  4. Hudson O'Neal
  5. Dennis Erb Jr.
  6. Kyle Larson
  7. Bobby Pierce
  8. Tim McCreadie
  9. Tyler Erb
  10. Brandon Sheppard
  11. Earl Pearson Jr.
  12. Nick Hoffman
  13. Jonathan Davenport
  14. Spencer Hughes
  15. Kyle Bronson
  16. Tanner English
  17. Adam Stricker
  18. Stormy Scott
  19. Jason Jameson
  20. Drake Troutman
  21. Jordan Wever
  22. Daulton Wilson
  23. Jared Bailey
  24. Brandon Overton
presented by
Mike Ruefer/mikerueferphotos.photoreflect.com
Ricky Thornton Jr. led all 50 laps for $23,023 at Brownstown Speedway.
What won the race: Turning back an early challenge from Mike Marlar, Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., cruised the rest of Wednesday’s Castrol FloRacing Night in America at Brownstown Speedway to grab a flag-to-flag $23,023 victory for his Morganton, Ind.-based SSI Motorsports team. Mike Marlar, the previous night’s tour winner at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway, finished 1.859 seconds back as the runner-up.
Key notes: Thornton's previous Castrol victory came in the 2022 series finale at Senoia (Ga.) Raceway. ... Seventeen starters completed 50 laps. ... With a big car count, officials added two starters to the feature for a 24-car field.
On the move: Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., started 11th and finished eighth.
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 Brownstown: 1. Mike Marlar (168); 2. Ricky Thornton Jr. (156); 3. Tim McCreadie (144); 4. Devin Moran (132); 5. Brandon Sheppard (129); T6. Hudson O’Neal (126); T6. Kyle Larson (126); T6. Bobby Pierce (126); 9. Jonathan Davenport (123); 10. Tanner English (117).
Current weather: Clear, 72°F
Car count: 56
Fast qualifier: Devin Moran
Time: 13.604 seconds
Polesitter: Devin Moran
Heat race winners: Devin Moran, Kyle Larson, Hudson O'Neal, Ricky Thornton Jr., Mike Marlar, Dennis Erb Jr.
Consolation race winners: Jonathan Davenport, Drake Troutman, Jordan Wever
Next series race: May 10, Spoon River Speedway (Banner, IL) $23,023
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.
From staff reports

BROWNSTOWN, Ind. — Wednesday's Castrol FloRacing Night in America feature event was arguably a letdown for everyone watching the midweek 50-lapper at Brownstown Speedway, but in a race where passing was at a premium on the quarter-mile oval, Ricky Thornton Jr. was smiling nonetheless.

That's because the Chandler, Ariz., native who drives for Morganton, Ind.-based SSI Motorsports put himself in perfect position with a front-row starting spot and followed through with a flag-to-flag victory for a $23,023 payday and his second career Castrol tour victory.

Fending off an early challenge from Mike Marlar, Thornton pulled away and wasn't pressured the rest of the way as the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series points leader raced to his fifth overall Super Late Model victory of the season. He gave credit to crew chief Anthony Burroughs and Kevin Rumley of Longhorn Chassis for providing him a winning race car.

"Luckily, Burroughs works his tail off, him and Rumley, they really turned our program around here toward the end of last year," Thornton said. "I felt like if I could've still went a little bit harder there at the end. I slowed myself down and tried to give myself a two- or three-car-length gap, that way if I had to race, I had the room to at least improve my pace. So it worked out for us. I gotta thank Marlar for running us clean — I knew he would."

The fourth-starting Marlar, the previous night's Castrol tour winner at Ohio's Eldora Speedway, finished 1.859 seconds behind Thornton, who started outside the front row and jumped into the early lead over polesitter Devin Moran of Dresden, Ohio. The fast-qualifying Moran settled for third with Hudson O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind.,, and Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., rounding out the top five.

While on a night when 56 Late Model teams packed the pits and nine preliminary races produced solid action, Thornton and other competitors had an inkling the track surface might develop the dreaded rubber strip in the main event. That meant Thornton knew getting the jump on Moran was critical.

"I was kind of watching that B-main there for the mods, and they were kind of around that middle," Thornton said. "So I knew I just had to get a good start and try to get myself out front and not give it away early. I figured it's gonna lock down, I didn't know exactly where. I was running right around the top and I moved down and then the lower I got, the better I got."

Thornton comfortably paced himself behind slower cars to protect his lead and, when the race's lone caution appeared on the 35th lap when Jordan Wever went over the banking, Thornton zipped away on the restart and completed his victory worry-free.

Marlar made a bid for his second straight series victory early, but his chances were extinguished by the flagging race conditions.

"You know, the track was really, really racy all night long. It was just a little bit too dry when we started to feature there," Marlar said. "But we had a heck of a race there for a while, then it just got one-laned and it was pretty much over. But up until that point, me and him was having a whole lot of run there. I enjoy racing with Ricky. He's a really hard racer, and he's really good. It's fun racing him there and I'm just happy to be up here racing at the front.

"We keep coming to these races with 50, 60 cars, they're tough fields. We'll never complain about second when we're running good, that's for sure."

Moran was disappointed in the track, too, but glad he found speed in his car after struggling in recent events, including missing the starting lineup for two features at Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, Tenn., last week.

"We've had a problem with the car, it ain't been running right. I talked to (engine builder) Jack (Cornett) and it was just a little bit of wiring and stuff we had to figure out," said Moran, who posted his beset finish since Feb. 18. "It felt like it ran a lot better and, obviously we got quick tonight so that was cool. Congrats to Ricky and Mikey and glad to be back on the podium."

After two midweek races, the Castrol tour takes a break before returning to action next month for Illinois Speedweek. Caastrol races at Banner's Spoon River Speedway and Lincoln Speedway are scheduled for May 10-11 with two Lucas Oil events completing the stretch on May 12-13 at Farmer City Raceway and Fairbury Speedway.

Notes: Thornton's previous Castrol victory came in the 2022 series finale at Senoia (Ga.) Raceway. ... Seventeen starters completed 50 laps. ... Jason Jameson was running 10th with two laps remaining but slowed with a flat tire. ... With a big car count, officials added two starters to the feature for a 24-car field. ... The third-year series made its third trip to the quarter-mile oval in southern Indiana. ... Among drivers failing to make the feature lineup: Billy Moyer, Ricky Weiss, Garrett Alberson, Garrett Smith, Shannon Babb, Ross Robinson, Chad Stapleton, Dustin Linville, Kent Robinson and Josh Rice, who missed his heat race after mechanical issues and failed to transfer through his consolation race. ... Brownstown's next Late Model special is May 27's unsanctioned Bobby Wilson Memorial, an event traditionally paying $5,000-to-win.

Feature lineup

Row 1: Moran, Thornton
Row 2: Larson, Marlar
Row 3: O’Neal, D. Erb
Row 4: Jameson, Pierce
Row 5: T. Erb, Sheppard
Row 6: McCreadie, Hoffman
Row 7: Pearson, Wilson
Row 8: Overton, S. Scott
Row 9: Hughes, Bronson
Row 10: Davenport, Troutman
Row 11: Wever, English
Row 12: Stricker, Bailey

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