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Daily Dirt 06/19/2024 05:51:36

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September 15
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 16, 10:44 am)
Thornton dominates, goes 2-for-2 at Knoxville
Knoxville Lucas Oil Nationals prelim night
  1. Ricky Thornton Jr.
  2. Chad Simpson
  3. Devin Moran
  4. Brandon Overton
  5. Kyle Bronson
  6. Daulton Wilson
  7. Spencer Hughes
  8. Brandon Sheppard
  9. Hudson O'Neal
  10. Ryan Gustin
  11. Brian Shirley
  12. Tyler Erb
  13. Chase Junghans
  14. Tyler Bruening
  15. Garrett Alberson
  16. Justin Zeitner
  17. Cory Hedgecock
  18. Todd Cooney
  19. Daniel Hilsabeck
  20. Mike Marlar
  21. Chris Ferguson
  22. Jonathan Davenport
  23. Max Blair
  24. Earl Pearson Jr.
presented by
Heath Lawson/heathlawsonphotos.com
Ricky Thornton Jr. celebrates Friday's Lucas Oil Series Knoxville Nationals prelim win.
What won the race: Pole-starting Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., led all 25 laps unchallenged to win Friday's second Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals preliminary feature at Knoxville Raceway. Sweeping the weekend's pair of prelims, Thornton earned $7,000 for his 15th full-field Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory of the season and the 19th of his career.
Quotable: “I kinda did (have concerns about the lap-16 caution). I really didn’t know if I needed to stay around the top,” Thornton said. “I got to (Todd) Cooney and (Daniel) Hilsabeck there and I actually went to the bottom and felt like I made a better lap. (Crew member Christopher) Jayko said, lap-time-wise, I was better where I was (running the top line). It’s pretty cool to win on (crew chief Anthony) Burroughs’s birthday, so hopefully we’ll party a little bit tonight.”
Key notes: Thornton will seek the weekend sweep in Saturday's 75-lap, $50,000-to-win finale, as he looks to become the first driver to win all three nights at Knoxville since Billy Moyer hat trick in 2010's Late Model Nationals. ... Third-starting Chad Simpson regained the runner-up spot on a lap-17 restart and trailed Thornton the rest of the way, finishing 3.815 seconds back. ... Twelfth-starting Devin Moran moved into third on lap 20 and completed the podium. ... Eighth-starting Brandon Overton ran as high as second on lap 16 before slipping to finish fourth. ... Kyle Bronson worked his way to third on the lap-17 restart before settling for fifth after Overton passed him heading to the checkered flag. ... Brian Shirley improved 10 positions and finished 11th. ... Fifth-running Mike Marlar slowed with crank-trigger trouble on lap 16, drawing the race's only caution; he completed five more laps before calling it a night. ... Chris Ferguson pulled off on lap 20 due to a collapsed nosepiece. ... After transferring through a consolation, Jonathan Davenport completed only 14 laps before retiring with undetermined trouble under his car's hood ... Friday's 11-minute feature saw 18 competitors complete 25 laps with 19 running at the finish.
On the move: Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., started 18th 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: 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: Overcast, 64°F
Car count: 39
Fast qualifier: Brian Shirley
Time: 17.294 seconds
Polesitter: Ricky Thornton Jr.
Heat race winners: Ricky Thornton Jr., Hudson O'Neal, Brandon Sheppard, Earl Pearson Jr.
Consolation race winners: Brian Shirley, Jonathan Davenport
Next series race: September 16, Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA) $50,000
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.
From staff reports

KNOXVILLE, Iowa (Sept. 15) — Updates from Friday’s second round of the 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):


Pole-starting Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., led all 25 laps unchallenged to win Friday's second Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals preliminary feature at Knoxville Raceway. Sweeping the weekend's pair of prelims, Thornton earned $7,000 for his 15th full-field Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory of the season and the 19th of his career and will seek the weekend sweep in Saturday's 75-lap, $50,000-to-win finale, as he looks to become the first driver to win all three nights at Knoxville since Billy Moyer hat trick in 2010's Late Model Nationals.

Third-starting Chad Simpson regained the runner-up spot on a lap-17 restart and trailed Thornton the rest of the way, finishing 3.815 seconds back.

Thornton secured the pole position for Saturday's finale by registering the best points night in the two preliminary programs. Simpson will share the front row with Thornton for the start of the race.

Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals lineup

Row 1: Ricky Thornton Jr., Chad Simpson
Row 2: Chris Ferguson, Devin Moran
Row 3: Mike Marlar, Brandon Overton
Row 4: Kyle Bronson, Daulton Wilson
Row 5: Spencer Hughes, Hudson O’Neal
Row 6: Brandon Sheppard, Ryan Gustin
Row 7: Brian Shirley, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 8: Tyler Bruening, Tyler Erb
Row 9: Max Blair, Jonathan Davenport
Row 10: Chris Simpson, Garrett Alberson
Row 11: Chase Junghans, Todd Cooney
Row 12: Daniel Hilsabeck, Cory Hedgecock
Row 13: B-main transfers
Row 14: B-main transfers
Row 15: B-main transfers
Row 16: Provisionals

Saturday’s consolation lineup

(15 laps; top six transfer)

Row 1: Billy Moyer, Justin Zeitner
Row 2: Tim McCreadie, Tim Lance
Row 3: Ross Robinson, Ricky Weiss
Row 4: Matt Furman, Boom Briggs
Row 5: Tim Simpson, Dan Battaglia
Row 6: Aaron Marrant, Frank Heckenast Jr.
Row 7: Luke Merfield, Charlie McKenna
Row 8: Al Humphrey, Rich Bell
Row 9: Junior Coover

Feature lineup

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

Consolation race results

(12 laps; top two transfer)

First consolation: Brian Shirley, Daniel Hilsabeck, Ricky Weiss, Tim McCreadie, Chris Simpson, Aaron Marrant, Frank Heckenast Jr., Junior Coover. Scratched: Tim Simpson, Charlie McKenna

Second consolation: Jonathan Davenport, Justin Zeitner, Ross Robinson, Matt Furman, Billy Moyer, Dan Battaglia, Boom Briggs, Luke Merfeld. Scratched: Al Humphrey

Heat race recap

Fourth-starting Ricky Thornton Jr. took the point from race-long leader Garrett Alberson on lap five and paced the final eight circuits to win the first heat race by 3.168 seconds. Second-starting Todd Cooney narrowly repelled fast qualifier Brian Shirley to finish fifth, securing the final transfer position. … Third-starting Hudson O’Neal took the lead on lap two and never looked back to win Heat 2 by 1.481 seconds over fifth-starting Chad Simpson. Sixth-starting Mike Marlar finished third, with seventh-starting Cory Hedgecock in fourth. ... After leading the first lap of Heat 2, Tim Simpson tangled with Charlie McKenna on lap seven. After McKenna made heavy contact with the turn one — he was uninjured but his car was towed off on a flatbed truck — Simpson ran up on the turn-two berm and flipped on his roof. A 10-minute red flag followed as crews righted Simpson's car to allow him to exit without injury. ... Brandon Sheppard led green-to-checkered to win Heat 3 by 3.715 seconds over Max Blair. Fifth-starting Spencer Hughes rallied to finish third, while sixth-starting Brandon Overton claimed the fifth and final transfer spot. … Earl Pearson Jr. led all 12 laps to win the fourth and final heat race by 0.257 of a second over third-starting Devin Moran, who grabbed the runner-up spot from Chase Junghans on the final lap. Sixth-starting Kyle Bronson finished fourth and fifth-starting Daulton Wilson secured the final transfer position.

Heat race results

(12 laps; top five transfer)

First heat: Ricky Thornton Jr., Garrett Alberson, Chris Ferguson, Ryan Gustin, Todd Cooney, Brian Shirley, Ricky Weiss, Tim McCreadie, Aaron Marrant, Junior Coover.

Second heat: Hudson O'Neal, Chad Simpson, Mike Marlar, Cory Hedgecock, Tyler Erb, Daniel Hilsabeck, Chris Simpson, Frank Heckenast Jr., Tim Simpson, Charlie McKenna.

Third heat: Brandon Sheppard, Max Blair, Spencer Hughes, Tyler Bruening, Brandon Overton, Jonathan Davenport, Justin Zeitner, Matt Furman, Luke Merfeld. Scratched: Al Humphrey

Fourth heat: Earl Pearson Jr., Devin Moran, Chase Junghans, Kyle Bronson, Daulton Wilson, Billy Moyer, Ross Robinson, Dan Battaglia, Boom Briggs.

Pre-race notes

Following an overcast afternoon that saw temperatures reach 80 degrees, several short batches of light rain fell periodically beginning around 5:15 p.m. and lasting just over an hour. While the precipitation only slightly dampened the pit area, the scheduled 6:45 p.m. start time for hot laps was delayed; officials told teams at 6:55 p.m. that they could begin getting heat in their motors as the track crew finished packing the surface. … The only change from Thursday’s preliminary program: Friday’s consolation races will be shortened from 15 to 12 laps, matching the heat-race distances. … Thirty-nine cars are signed in for action. … Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., will run the same Longhorn Chassis he crashed while leading Thursday’s 25-lap feature. His crewman, Tyler Bragg, said the team replaced just about “everything that bolts on the car,” including installing a new fuel cell and rearend, and patched up the body damage that it sustained. … Cory Hedgecock of Loudon, Tenn., didn’t qualify in his first Knoxville start after his Jason Rauen-owned No. 98 sustained significant nose damage during the B-main. The team made repairs for Friday’s program. … Charlie McKenna of Ames, Iowa, will race at a power deficit this evening in the car that he runs in Malvern and Hoker Trucking Series events after his Super Late Model was sidelined by engine trouble during Thursday’s time trials. … Knoxville Raceway officials posted on social media Friday afternoon that the Lucas Oil Late Model Knoxville Nationals will return for a 20th edition in 2024, but no date for the weekend has yet been announced.

Time trials

First group   
1. Brian Shirley (8), Chatham, Ill., 17.294
2. Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., 17.320
3. Ryan Gustin (19R), Marshalltown, Iowa, 17.475
4. Chad Simpson (25), Mount Vernon, Iowa, 17.499
5. Ricky Thornton Jr. (20RT), Chandler, Ariz., 17.581
6. Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, 17.657
7. Chris Ferguson (22), Mount Holly, N.C., 17.665
8. Hudson O’Neal (1), Martinsville, Ind., 17.699
9. Todd Cooney (30), Des Moines, Iowa, 17.826
10. Tyler Erb (1), New Waverly, Texas, 17.954
11. Garrett Alberson (58), Las Cruces, N.M., 18.024
12. Tim Simpson (17), Iowa City, Iowa, 18.105
13. Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 18.150
14. Cory Hedgecock (98), Loudon, Tenn., 18.167
15. Ricky Weiss (7W), Headingley, Manitoba, 18.232
16. Daniel Hilsabeck (22H), Adel, Iowa, 18.397
17. Aaron Marrant (1x), Richmond, Mo., 18.575
18. Frank Heckenast Jr. (99Jr), Frankfort, Ill., 18.828
19. Junior Coover (10C), Norfolk, Neb., 19.456
20. Charlie McKenna (22M), Ames, Iowa, 19.744
Second group   
1. Brandon Overton (4), Evans, Ga., 17.344
2. Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., 17.383
3. Spencer Hughes (11H), Meridian, Miss., 17.396
4. Daulton Wilson (18D), Fayetteville, N.C., 17.505
5. Tyler Bruening (16), Decorah, Iowa, 17.807
6. Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 17.829
7. Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., 17.840
8. Max Blair (111B), Centerville, Pa., 17.910
9. Devin Moran (99), Dresden, Ohio, 17.998
10. Earl Pearson Jr. (46), Jacksonville, Fla., 18.020
11. Brandon Sheppard (b5), New Berlin, Ill., 18.044
12. Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., 18.062
13. Justin Zeitner (62), Malvern, Iowa, 18.101
14. Ross Robinson (7R), Georgetown, Del., 18.318
15. Matt Furman (51), Iowa City, Iowa, 18.486
16. Boom Briggs (99B), Bear Lake, Pa., 18.682
17. Luke Merfeld (21M), Dubuque, Iowa, 19.015
18. Dan Battaglia (45), Gretna, Neb., 20.617
19. Al Humphrey (6), Giltner, Neb., no time

Friday’s schedule

(All times local)

8 a.m. - Ticket office opens
11 a.m. - Mike Marlar and Dave Argabright appearance (Hall of Fame Museum second floor)
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 (12 laps)
- Late Model feature (25 laps)

Feature lineup

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

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