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Daily Dirt 05/25/2024 00:42:21

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January 27
Golden Isles Speedway,
Brunswick, GA
Sanction: Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (Super Bowl of Racing) - $25,000
Information provided by: Kyle McFadden, series and track reports (last updated January 29, 12:11 pm)
Timely caution lifts RTJ to $25,000 score at GIS
Super Bowl of Racing
  1. Ricky Thornton Jr.
  2. Chris Madden
  3. Jonathan Davenport
  4. Brandon Overton
  5. Devin Moran
  6. Mike Marlar
  7. Ryan Gustin
  8. Hudson O'Neal
  9. Brandon Sheppard
  10. Ross Robinson
  11. Donald McIntosh
  12. Daulton Wilson
  13. Garrett Alberson
  14. Max Blair
  15. Cody Overton
  16. Tyler Erb
  17. Kyle Bronson
  18. Spencer Hughes
  19. Blair Nothdurft
  20. Brian Shirley
  21. Garrett Smith
  22. Clay Harris
  23. Earl Pearson Jr.
  24. Daniel Adam
  25. Boom Briggs
  26. Tim McCreadie
  27. Jimmy Owens
  28. Drake Troutman
presented by
Heath Lawson/heathlawsonphotos.com
Ricky Thornton Jr. celebrates his $25,000 victory at Golden Isles Speedway.
What won the race: Regaining the point from Jonathan Davenport with an inside move on lap 49, second-starting Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., led the remaining circuits to win Saturday's 60-lap Super Bowl of Racing finale at Golden Isles Speedway. Thornton earned $25,000 for his first Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory of the season and the 24th full-field triumph of his career.
Key notes: Sixth-starting Chris Madden appeared to take the lead coming to lap 50 when Davenport and Thornton slid up the track in turn four, but a caution flag for a slowing Tim McCreadie negated the move. Thornton moved back in front for the lap-49 restart and went on to defeat Madden by 0.425 of a second on a track that turned one-lane around the bottom. ... The fifth-starting Davenport, who led laps 37-48 before getting muscled off the bottom by Thornton through turns three and four on lap 49, settled for a third-place finish. ... Saturday's feature lasted 25 minutes, with 21 competitors completing 60 laps and 24 running at the finish.
On the move: Ryan Gustin of Marshalltown, Iowa, started 18th and finished seventh.
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 Golden Isles Saturday: T-1. Ricky Thornton Jr. (460); T-1. Hudson O’Neal (460); T-1. Jonathan Davenport (460); 4. Brandon Overton (430); 5. Devin Moran (395); 6. Brandon Sheppard (390); T-7. Chris Madden (355); T-7. Daulton Wilson (355); 9. Mike Marlar (350); T-10. Kyle Bronson (340); T-10. Ross Robinson (340); T-10. Garrett Alberson (340).
Current weather: Clear, 70°F
Car count: 49
Fast qualifier: Garrett Smith
Time: 15.146 seconds
Polesitter: Garrett Smith
Heat race winners: Garrett Smith, Mike Marlar, Jonathan Davenport, Ricky Thornton Jr., Jimmy Owens, Chris Madden
Consolation race winners: Cody Overton, Kyle Bronson
Provisional starters: Earl Pearson Jr., Spencer Hughes, Boom Briggs, Drake Troutman, Daniel Adam, Brian Shirley
Next series race: January 30, Bubba Raceway Park (Ocala, FL) $10,000
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.
From staff reports

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (Jan. 27) — Ricky Thornton Jr. won Saturday night’s 60-lap Super Bowl of Racing finale at Golden Isles Speedway, but he wasn’t his usual smiling, celebrating self when he climbed out of his SSI Motorsports machine.

Capturing his first Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series feature of the season felt good. Collecting a $25,000 top prize felt even better. But the circumstances of his triumph put him in a rather sour mood.

Thornton, 33, of Chandler, Ariz., led 48 of the race’s 60 circuits, including the final 12, but he was involved in scrapes with two drivers that cast a controversial shadow over his outing. One, on lap 37 with Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., cost him his race-long lead. The other, on lap 48 with Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., resulted in Thornton assuming command for good after a well-timed caution flag on lap 49 negated what might have been a winning pass by Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C.

The reactions that Marlar and Davenport had to the incidents — both drivers expressed displeasure with Thornton on the track during the lap-49 caution period — was the reason Thornton was short and gruff with his comments in victory lane.

“I’m not quite sure why the 49 (Davenport) and the 157 (Marlar) got to keep racing there,” Thornton said. “I ran into Hud (O’Neal) at Deer Creek (Speedway in Spring Valley, Minn., last July) and got disqualified on the spot, but yet … I guess we got some favoritism there and they just do whatever they want.”

Thornton’s agitation came after he crossed the finish line 0.425 of a second ahead of Madden, who slipped into the runner-up spot on lap 49 when Davenport slid up the track in turn four while battling with Thornton. A racing surface that had become largely one-lane around the bottom prevented Madden from mounting a serious challenge over the closing laps.

Davenport settled for a third-place finish after leading laps 37-48 while 11th-starter Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., placed fourth and 12th-starter Devin Moran of Dresden, Ohio, completed the top five.

Thornton, who was scheduled to start second but led the field to the green flag after polesitter Garrett Smith of Eatonton, Ga., was penalized to the rear of the field for having an unapproved tire on his car in the staging area, controlled the A-main’s first 36 laps. Then he ceded the top spot to Davenport amidst an exchange with Marlar.

“I was just kind of riding behind (the slower Blair) Nothdurft there, saving my stuff, and Marlar got to the outside of me (down the backstretch on lap 36) and kind of chopped my right-front (entering turn three),” Thornton said. “Then we got together and naturally you go up the racetrack, so I’m sure he was mad.”

Indeed, Thornton slid toward the outside wall rounding turn four, creating contact with Marlar that slowed both drivers and allowed Davenport to duck low and shoot into the lead as lap 37 was scored. Thornton proceeded to take up the chase of Davenport, who led until Thornton’s dive to the inside of turn three on lap 48 resulted in the pair skating up the track in turn four much like Marlar and Thornton had earlier.

“Me and J.D., we were racing hard,” Thornton told DirtonDirt.com pit reporter Derek Kessinger. “I got a run off the top (of turn two) whenever he got to the lead and he kind of chopped my nose in three (on lap 37) … and he was mad at me because I ran into him. I don’t know if he wanted me to expect to just stop whenever my front wheels in the air or what.

“After that I just started Hail Mary-ing the top, and I got a good run off two (on lap 48) and just crossed him (entering turn three). I’m sure he didn’t know I was there, but hell, my right-front hit his left-front, so it’s not like I ran into his left-rear and spun him out or something.

“It is what it is,” he added of Davenport. “He’s mad, but … oh well. I was gonna take every inch that he gave me and I did.”

The lap-48 tangle with Davenport opened the door for Madden to surge ahead off the inside of turn four. He crossed the start-finish line as the leader, but a caution flag for Tim McCreadie slowing on the homestretch with a flat right-rear tire before lap 50 could be officially logged wiped out the dramatic position change, putting Thornton in the lead over Madden and Davenport for the restart.

Thornton acknowledged that he caught a major break with the caution lights blinking on. Madden understood that his hopes of a victory were almost assuredly dashed by the caution flag.

“I seen Timmy up there slowing down (off turn four) but he was still rolling and still going,” the 48-year-old Madden said.”I felt we shouldn’t have had the caution thrown yet, but it is what it is. We had one lane by the end and by that time we were just getting what we can get.

“They had slipped up there and I had the chance to go to the lead and I did, but it is what it is.”

Davenport, 40, was an angry third-place finisher. He gave Thornton an apparently playful elbow when he stood alongside the winner on the top-three podium for post-race race photos and moments later, after discussing what had transpired with Thornton, tossed a hat he had been given for the ceremonies onto Thornton’s car and stomped away.

“I think it’s pretty easy to see what happened,” Davenport said. “The 20RT (Thornton) and the car that was running second at the time … I think it was Marlar. Anyway, they got together and I passed ‘em both, I thought pretty clean, and then we come down the back straightaway and the 20RT jacked me up and about spun me out getting in three.

“And then I ran the rest of the race there and I was just kind of protecting the bottom like we do in the rubber, and then obviously he got a big run on me (on lap 48) but he took the left side off (Davenport’s car) and knocked us up the track and then Madden got by us.

“And then we raced another lap and Madden had gotten by Ricky and then I’d got by Ricky also where the caution come out,” he added. “It’s kind of a discrepancy of when they call the caution to where we’re at on the racetrack. I don’t think it always lines up. It’s bit me more than one time.”

Davenport offered a warning to Thornton at the end of his post-race interview.

“Anyway, we know how the 20RT is gonna race. That’s fine,” Davenport said, before adding: “It could get exciting on down the road.”

Thornton appeared ready to respond to Davenport.

“Maybe the rest of the week we’ll be just elbows up,” said Thornton, who Longhorn car sported damage to its left-side door upon the race’s completion.

Notes: Thornton, who set a Lucas Oil Series single-season record in 2023 with 19 full-field and 23 overall victories, recorded his 24th career full-field triumph on the national tour. … Marlar, who ran second for the feature’s first 37 laps, slipped to a sixth-place finish. … The race’s two caution flags were caused by drivers slowing with right-rear flat tires: Tim McCreadie on lap 49 and 10th-running Tyler Erb on lap 52. … Hudson O’Neal climbed as high as third for laps 39-46 before slipping to eighth in the final rundown. … Ryan Gustin made a late charge, vaulting from 23rd to a seventh-place finish over the final 10 laps. … Fourth-starting Jimmy Owens faded outside the top 10 before pulling off on lap 40. ... Drake Troutman retired with a flat right-rear tire on lap 18. ... With the chance of rain increasing after 10 p.m., officials started the program a half-hour earlier than scheduled and pushed the Lucas Oil Series portion of the card in an effort to beat the weather. The feature was checkered before 9 p.m.

Feature lineup

(60 laps)
Row 1: Garrett Smith, Ricky Thornton Jr.
Row 2: Mike Marlar, Jimmy Owens
Row 3: Jonathan Davenport, Chris Madden
Row 4: Ross Robinson, Hudson O'Neal
Row 5: Brandon Sheppard, Clay Harris
Row 6: Brandon Overton, Devin Moran
Row 7: Garrett Alberson, Tyler Erb
Row 8: Daulton Wilson, Donald McIntosh
Row 9: Tim McCreadie, Ryan Gustin
Row 10: Cody Overton, Kyle Bronson
Row 11: Max Blair, Blair Nothdurft
Row 12: Earl Pearson Jr., Spencer Hughes
Row 13: Boom Briggs, Drake Troutman
Row 14: Daniel Adam, Brian Shirley

Consolation results

(10 laps; top two transfer)

First consolation finish: Cody Overton, Max Blair, Dennis Erb Jr., Dale McDowell, Daniel Adam, Haiden Cowan, Earl Pearson Jr., Jason Riggs, Spencer Hughes, Cory Lawler, Jack Riggs, Bob Gardner, Boom Briggs. Scratched: Brenden Smith, Tanner English, Jackson Hise

Second consolation finish: Kyle Bronson, Blair Nothdurft, Brian Shirley, Drake Troutman, Tyler Bruening, Ethan Dotson, Matt Cosner, Mark Whitener, Tony Jackson Jr., Trey Mills, Dillon McCowan, Brennon Willard, Wil Herrington. Scratched: Steven Roberts, Carson Brown

Heat race recap

Garrett Smith led all eight laps to win the first heat race by 1.923 seconds over Ross Robinson, earning the pole starting position for Saturday’s 60-lap, $25,000-to-win Super Bowl of Racing finale. Fourth-starting Garrett Alberson finished third, grabbing the final transfer spot. … Mike Marlar led green-to-checkered to win heat two by 1.980 seconds over third-starting Brandon Sheppard, with Daulton Wilson finishing third. The lone caution came out on the first lap when second-starting Tanner English was forced three-wide and pushed high, hitting the turn-one wall hard with his right-rear and ending his night. … Jonathan Davenport dominated heat three, winning by 1.510 seconds over fourth-starting Brandon Overton. Tim McCreadie started and finished third, while second-starting Max Blair overcame an opening-lap scare when he hopped the turn-two cushion and slapped the backstretch wall before regaining control and finishing fourth. … Ricky Thornton Jr. fired off the outside front row and narrowly led all eight laps to win heat four by 0.701 of a second over pole-starting Hudson O’Neal; O’Neal pressured Thornton for nearly the entire distance before fading on the last lap. Sixth-starting Tyler Erb finished third to claim the final transfer spot. … Jimmy Owens ran away with the fifth heat, winning by 3.314 seconds over Clay Harris, while Donald McIntosh started and finished third. The race’s first yellow was displayed when Steven Roberts spun on the opening lap. The second and final stoppage came on the following lap when Roberts made contact with Carson Brown, cutting Brown's left-front tire and sending him spinning, ending his race; Roberts rebounded to finish sixth. … Second-starting Chris Madden led the entire distance to win the sixth and final heat race, winning by 1.385 over pole-starting Devin Moran. Fourth-starting Ryan Gustin finished third and will join them in Saturday’s main event.

Heat race results

(Eight laps; top three transfer)

First heat finish: Garrett Smith, Ross Robinson, Garrett Alberson, Cody Overton, Dale McDowell, Earl Pearson Jr., Boom Briggs, Cory Lawler. Scratched: Jackson Hise

Second heat finish: Mike Marlar, Brandon Sheppard, Daulton Wilson, Dennis Erb Jr., Daniel Adam, Brenden Smith, Jack Riggs, Tanner English.

Third heat finish: Jonathan Davenport, Brandon Overton, Tim McCreadie, Max Blair, Jason Riggs, Spencer Hughes, Haiden Cowan, Bob Gardner.

Fourth heat finish: Ricky Thornton Jr., Hudson O'Neal, Tyler Erb, Kyle Bronson, Matt Cosner, Trey Mills, Tyler Bruening, Brennon Willard.

Fifth heat finish: Jimmy Owens, Clay Harris, Donald McIntosh, Drake Troutman, Brian Shirley, Steven Roberts, Tony Jackson Jr., Carson Brown.

Sixth heat finish: Chris Madden, Devin Moran, Ryan Gustin, Blair Nothdurft, Mark Whitener, Wil Herrington, Ethan Dotson, Dillon McCowan.

Heat race lineups

First heat
Row 1: Garrett Smith, Ross Robinson
Row 2: Dale McDowell, Garrett Alberson
Row 3: Cody Overton, Boom Briggs
Row 4: Earl Pearson Jr., Cory Lawler
Row 5: Jackson Hise
Second heat
Row 1: Mike Marlar, Tanner English
Row 2: Brandon Sheppard, Daulton Wilson
Row 3: Dennis Erb Jr., Daniel Adam
Row 4: Brenden Smith, Jack Riggs
Third heat
Row 1: Jonathan Davenport, Max Blair
Row 2: Tim McCreadie, Brandon Overton
Row 3: Spencer Hughes, Haiden Cowan
Row 4: Jason Riggs, Bob Gardner
Fourth heat
Row 1: Hudson O'Neal, Ricky Thornton Jr.
Row 2: Kyle Bronson, Trey Mills
Row 3: Matt Cosner, Tyler Erb
Row 4: Tyler Bruening, Brennon Willard
Fifth heat
Row 1: Jimmy Owens, Clay Harris
Row 2: Donald McIntosh, Drake Troutman
Row 3: Carson Brown, Tony Jackson Jr.
Row 4: Brian Shirley, Steven Roberts
Sixth heat
Row 1: Devin Moran, Chris Madden
Row 2: Wil Herrington, Ryan Gustin
Row 3: Blair Nothdurft, Mark Whitener
Row 4: Dillon McCowan, Ethan Dotson

Time trials

Group A
Driver (car no.), hometown, time (unofficial)
1. Garrett Smith (10), Eatonton, Ga., 15.146
2. Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., 15.168
3. Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., 15.402
4. Ross Robinson (7), Georgetown, Del., 15.438
5. Tanner English (96v), Benton, Ky., 15.484
6. Max Blair (111), Centerville, Pa., 15.485
7. Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., 15.541
8. Brandon Sheppard (B5), New Berlin, Ill., 15.553
9. Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 15.577
10. Garrett Alberson (58), Las Cruces, N.M., 15.617
11. Daulton Wilson (18D), Fayetteville, N.C., 15.740
12. Brandon Overton (76), Evans, Ga., 15.780
13. Cody Overton (97), Evans, Ga., 15.804
14. Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 15.825
15. Spencer Hughes (19m), Meridian, Miss., 15.887
16. Boom Briggs (99B), Bear Lake, Pa., 15.898
17. Daniel Adam (75), Wade, N.C., 15.899
18. Haiden Cowan (214), Rincon, Ga., 15.964
19. Earl Pearson Jr. (46), Jacksonville, Fla., 15.972
20. Brenden Smith (17ss), Dade City, Fla., 16.094
21. Jason Riggs (81), Nolensville, Tenn., 16.225
22. Cory Lawler (93), Hanover, Pa., 16.240
23. Jack Riggs (81J), Nolensville, Tenn., 16.562
24. Bob Gardner (4G), East Peoria, Ill., 16.615
25. Jackson Hise (388), Ocala, Fla., no time
Group B
1. Hudson O’Neal (1), Martinsville, Ind., 15.328
2. Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 15.346
3. Devin Moran (99), Dresden, Ohio, 15.372
4. Ricky Thornton Jr. (20rt), Chandler, Ariz., 15.378
5. Clay Harris (6), Jupiter, Fla., 15.396
6. Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C., 15.507
7. Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., 15.535
8. Donald McIntosh (79), Dawsonville, Ga., 15.574
9. Wil Herrington (14x), Hawkinsville, Ga., 15.576
10. Trey Mills (14jr), St. Augustine, Fla., 15.638
11. Drake Troutman (7T), Hyndman, Pa., 15.640
12. Ryan Gustin (19R), Marshalltown, Iowa, 15.659
13. Matt Cosner (66c), Ridgeley, W.Va., 15.764
14. Carson Brown (28B), New London, N.C., 15.793
15. Blair Nothdurft (76n), Renner, S.D., 15.826
16. Tyler Erb (1T), New Waverly, Texas, 15.859
17. Tony Jackson Jr. (25), Lebanon, Mo., 15.865
18. Mark Whitener (5), Middleburg, Fla., 15.888
19. Tyler Bruening (16), Decorah, Iowa, 15.900
20. Brian Shirley (3s), Chatham, Ill., 15.928
21. Dillon McCowan (8), Urbana, Mo., 16.182
22. Brennon Willard (3), Lebanon, Mo., 16.204
23. Steven Roberts (111r), Sylvester, Ga., 16.206
24. Ethan Dotson (174), Bakersfield, Calif., no time

Saturday’s schedule

(All times local)
1:30 p.m. - Pits cleared
2 p.m. - Pits open
3 p.m. - Grandstands open
4:30 p.m. - Drivers’ meeting
5 p.m. - On-track activity
- 602 Crate group qualifying
- Late Model hot laps
- Late Model qualifying (2 laps)
- 604 Crate group qualifying
- Enduro group qualifying
- Mini late model group qualifying
Opening ceremonies
- Late Model heat races (8 laps)
- 602 Crate consolations (8 laps)
- Late Model consolations (10 laps)
- 604 Crate consolations (8 laps)
- Enduro consolations (8 laps)
Feature events
- Late Models (60 laps)
- 604 Crates
- Mini late model qualifier
- 602 Crates
- Enduros
- Mini Late Models
- 604 Crates (Thursday makeup)

Feature lineup

Row 1: Smith, Thornton
Row 2: Marlar, Owens
Row 3: Davenport, Madden
Row 4: Robinson, O'Neal
Row 5: Sheppard, Harris
Row 6: B. Overton, Moran
Row 7: Alberson, T. Erb
Row 8: Wilson, McIntosh
Row 9: McCreadie, Gustin
Row 10: C. Overton, Bronson
Row 11: Blair, Nothdurft
Row 12: Pearson, Hughes
Row 13: Briggs, Troutman
Row 14: Adam, Shirley
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