PORTSMOUTH, OH – Ricky Thornton Jr. took over the lead on lap 30 from race long leader Daulton Wilson. Rain hit the track with 45 laps scored, declaring Thornton as the winner of the Able Air Independence 50 on Friday night at Portsmouth Raceway Park. The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series-sanctioned event became official with five laps remaining in the race when track conditions became too wet to continue.
The win was worth $12,000 for the defending Dirt Track World Championship winner. The 31-year-old stood in PRP Victory Lane scoring his first Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win of 2022 to become the 15th different winner this season.
Defending series champion Tim McCreadie finished in second followed by Hudson O’Neal, Earl Pearson Jr., and Daulton Wilson, who led the first 29 laps of the race.
Wilson, one of the five drivers battling for the O’Reilly Auto Parts Rookie-of-the-Year chase with the series looked to be on his way to a clean sweep as he dominated the first half of the race. With impending weather in the area Wilson led at the halfway mark which would have become official if the rain would have caused a halt to the race.
A caution with 28 laps scored had Wilson leading followed by Thornton and McCreadie. Wilson would lead those two on the restart for another circuit but heading into turn four on the 30th lap he got crossways in turn four which allowed four drivers to get by him as he fell to fifth.
Once Thornton had the lead, he stretched it out to be 2.165 seconds ahead of McCreadie when rain halted the race for good.
Thornton, who started fifth went to Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the fourth time in his career, this time did his post-race interview from the tower. “I didn’t know if we were going to lose the track or not, luckily, we didn’t. So, we went back green and with five to go I didn’t know it was raining until I went down into turn one and I was like ‘I really blew that corner’ then I realized it was raining. It was something different, I am glad we got to do a victory lane like interview. I think overall it was pretty cool,” said the Arizona native who now makes his home in Indiana.
“My crew has busted their tails and it is definitely showing a lot of speed this year so I hope we can keep it going. This track has been extremely good to us. Maybe we can come back here later in the year and get another win. I want to thank all of the fans for coming out tonight. You really didn’t know what the weather was going to do tonight. The track busted their tails to give us the best track we could get.”
The winner’s Todd and Vickie Burns/SSI Motorsports Longhorn Chassis is powered by a Clements Racing Engine and sponsored by Big River Steel, Hoker Trucking, Dyno One, Penske Racing Shocks, FK Rod Ends, Certified Inspection Services, Excel Floor Covering, and West Side Tractor Sales Company.
Completing the top ten were Brandon Sheppard, Tyler Erb, Devin Moran, Rod Conley, and Steve Casebolt.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
Able Air Independence 50
Friday, July 1st, 2022
Portsmouth Raceway Park – Portsmouth, OH
Allstar Performance Time Trials
Fast Time Group A: Daulton Wilson / 14.546 seconds (overall)
Fast Time Group B: Devin Moran / 14.629 seconds
Penske Race Shocks Heat Race #1 Finish (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 18D-Daulton Wilson; 2. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr; 3. 7-Ross Robinson; 4. C9-Steve Casebolt; 5. 81-Brandon Fouts; 6. 58-Garrett Alberson; 7. 00-Justin Cooper; 8. 17T-Shannon Thornsberry
Summit Racing Equipment Heat Race #2 Finish (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 39-Tim McCreadie; 2. 1-Brandon Sheppard; 3. 111V-Max Blair; 4. 11-Spencer Hughes; 5. 9Z-Mason Zeigler; 6. 21K-Kirk Phillips; 7. 17-Tim Vance
Simpson Race Products Heat Race #3 Finish (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 9-Devin Moran; 2. 1T-Tyler Erb; 3. 46-Earl Pearson Jr; 4. 71C-RJ Conley; 5. 21H-Robby Hensley; 6. 93-Cory Lawler; 7. CJ1-Charlie Jude; 8. (DNS) 1L-Corey Lewis
Ohlins Shocks Heat Race #4 Finish (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 76-Brandon Overton; 2. 71-Hudson O’Neal; 3. 89-Ashton Winger; 4. 17D-Zack Dohm; 5. 71R-Rod Conley; 6. B1-Josh Bocook; 7. 1B-Nick Bocook
Fast Shafts B-Main #1 Finish (10 Laps, Top 6 Transfer): 1. 81-Brandon Fouts; 2. 71R-Rod Conley; 3. 21H-Robby Hensley; 4. 58-Garrett Alberson; 5. 9Z-Mason Zeigler; 6. 21K-Kirk Phillips; 7. 1B-Nick Bocook; 8. 17-Tim Vance; 9. 00-Justin Cooper; 10. 93-Cory Lawler; 11. B1-Josh Bocook; 12. (DNS) CJ1-Charlie Jude; 13. (DNS) 17T-Shannon Thornsberry; 14. (DNS) 1L-Corey Lewis
Able Air Independence 50 Feature Finish:
Lap Leaders: Daulton Wilson (Laps 1-29); Ricky Thornton, Jr. (Laps 30-45)
Wrisco Feature Winner: Ricky Thornton, Jr.
Arizona Sport Shirts Crown Jewel Cup Feature Winner: n/a
Brandon Ford TV Challenge Feature Winner: n/a
Margin of Victory: 2.165 seconds
Stop-Tech Cautions: Steve Casebolt (Lap 16); Spencer Hughes (Lap 16 restart); Debris (Lap 26); Garrett Alberson, RJ Conley (Lap 28); Rain (Lap 45)
Series Provisionals: n/a
Fast Time Provisional: Nick Bocook; Tim Vance
Series Emergency Provisionals: n/a
Track Provisionals: n/a
Big River Steel Podium Top 3: Ricky Thornton, Jr., Tim McCreadie, Hudson O’Neal
Penske Shocks Top 5: Ricky Thornton, Jr., Tim McCreadie, Hudson O’Neal, Earl Pearson, Jr., Daulton Wilson
Optima Batteries Hard Charger of the Race: Rod Conley (Advanced 9 Positions)
Midwest Sheet Metal Spoiler Challenge Point Leader: Brandon Sheppard
Hot Rod Processing Most Laps Led: Daulton Wilson (29 Laps)
Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Ricky Thornton, Jr.
O’Reilly Auto Parts Rookie of the Race: Daulton Wilson
Dirty Girl Racewear Fastest Lap of the Race: Daulton Wilson (Lap 3 – 15.536 seconds)
Feature DirtonDirt.com Tough Break of the Race: Spencer Hughes
Outerwears Crew Chief of the Race: Anthony Burroughs (Ricky Thornton, Jr.)
ARP Engine Builder of the Race: Clements Racing Engines
Miller Welders Chassis Builder of the Race: Longhorn Chassis
Dirt Draft Fastest in Hot Laps: Devin Moran (14.7724 seconds)
Time of Race: 30 minutes 46 seconds