PORTSMOUTH, OH – The dream season continues for Ricky Thornton Jr. – winning his 17th Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event of the year on Saturday Night at Portsmouth Raceway Park – earning $15,000 for his triumph in the River Days Rumble. Thornton, who started seventh on the grid charged to the lead on lap 32 past Daulton Wilson.
Devin Moran tried to make it close in the waning laps but had to settle for second-place 1.786 seconds behind the winner. Wilson, who led 15 laps during the race rounded out the Big River Steel Podium in third. Brandon Overton, who led seven of the 50 laps was fourth with Hudson O’Neal rebounding from a flat tire and passed Jonathan Davenport on the final lap for fifth.
O’Neal coming off a $50,000 victory last weekend at Port Royal took the lead at the start of the race and held the point for the first nine laps until Overton, who started alongside O’Neal on the front row took the lead on lap 10.
Overton held the lead until Wilson wrestled it from him on lap 18. Wilson put himself in position for his first career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win for the second year in a row at PRP. A caution with 29 laps scored however would halt Wilson’s momentum.
On the restart Thornton would move into second as he then set high sights on Wilson. Wilson stumbled slightly in turn two and that allowed Thornton to clear him with a slider to take the lead. There would be two more cautions in the race as Moran would threaten Thornton for a few laps before Thornton eventually opened enough breathing room.
Thornton, who was the fourth different leader of the race fell back at the start, but charged to the front gaining the lead with 18 laps remaining as he spoke from Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the 22nd time in his career.
“I love coming to this place, I wished we raced here more often. It’s nice to come here two nights in a row and be on top both nights,” as Thornton was referring to his $10,000 victory in the unsanctioned Boone Coleman Memorial on Friday Night. “My confidence kind of increased as the race went on. I really didn’t get that good of a start. I probably fell back to 13th or so and then I was able to drive back up through there. So, it was really good. I don’t know why Brandon [Overton] picked the bottom on that restart, but it worked out for me. I was way better on the restart. I thought that Daulton pretty much had it and then pushed that one time and that was my shot to get by him and it all worked out.”
Moran, who started behind Thornton in ninth and moved to second in the final 10 laps was highly complimentary of the track crew after the race. “First off, kudos to Portsmouth Raceway Park they put on a heck of a racetrack for us tonight. You know this is the only time we come here this year and I think this is one of the best tracks Portsmouth’s ever had for us. I want to thank them for a great racetrack and thank all of these fans for coming out. I think Ricky Thornton’s pretty fast, but we got a little bit closer tonight. I thought we had a chance there for a second, but his team’s just really good.”
Wilson, who was leading the Boone Coleman Memorial the night before terminal engines issues knocked him out of the race came back with another solid effort on Saturday. “We really had a good car for two days in a row. Our guys busted their tails today to get this motor changed. It took off right back in the same spot. I thought I had a car good enough to win there I just kind of screwed it up there a few laps, but you’ll have that. We will keep learning and keep working and maybe we will be standing up where Ricky’s at before too long.”
The winner’s Todd and Vickie Burns-owned, SSI Motorsports, Longhorn Chassis is powered by a Clements Racing Engine and sponsored by Big River Steel, Coltman Farms, Hoker Trucking, Sub-Surface of Indiana, Dyno One Inc., West Side Tractor Sales Company, D&E Outside Services, Certified Inspection Services Company, Inc., Sunoco Race Fuels, Bilstein Shocks, Murty Farms, Midwest Sheet Metal, and Excel Floor Covering.
Completing the top ten were Jonathan Davenport, Tim McCreadie, Ross Robinson, R.J. Conley, and Colten Burdette.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series
River Days Rumble
Saturday, September 2, 2023
Portsmouth Raceway Park – Portsmouth, OH
Allstar Performance Time Trials
Fast Time Group A: Adam Stricker | 14.843 seconds (overall)
Fast Time Group B: Hudson O’Neal | 14.896 seconds
Penske Shocks Heat Race #1 Finish (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 76-Brandon Overton; 2. 68-Adam Stricker; 3. 99-Devin Moran; 4. 81-Brandon Fouts; 5. 11-Spencer Hughes; 6. 1T-Tyler Erb; 7. B1-Josh Bocook; 8. 21K-Kirk Phillips
Summit Racing Products Heat Race #2 Finish (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 44-Colten Burdette; 2. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr; 3. 49-Jonathan Davenport; 4. 58-Garrett Alberson; 5. 39-Tim McCreadie; 6. 71C-RJ Conley; 7. S21-Seth Daniels; 8. 46-Earl Pearson Jr
Simpson Race Products Heat Race #3 Finish (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 1H-Hudson O’Neal; 2. 71R-Rod Conley; 3. 7-Ross Robinson; 4. 99B-Boom Briggs; 5. 55-Jesse Wisecarver; 6. 17-Shannon Thornsberry; 7. 00-Justin Cooper; 8. (DNS) 145-Chase Frohnapfel
AP1 Insurance Heat Race #4 Finish (8 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 18D-Daulton Wilson; 2. 10-Garrett Smith; 3. 111B-Max Blair; 4. 89-Logan Roberson; 5. 13W-David Webb; 6. 29-Clint Keenan; 7. CJ1-Charlie Jude
Fast Shafts B-Main Race #1 Finish (10 Laps, Top 6 Transfer): 1. 11-Spencer Hughes; 2. 39-Tim McCreadie; 3. 13W-David Webb; 4. 71C-RJ Conley; 5. 55-Jesse Wisecarver; 6. 21K-Kirk Phillips; 7. S21-Seth Daniels; 8. 00-Justin Cooper; 9. CJ1-Charlie Jude; 10. 46-Earl Pearson Jr; 11. 17-Shannon Thornsberry; 12. 29-Clint Keenan; 13. B1-Josh Bocook; 14. 1T-Tyler Erb; 15. (DNS) 145-Chase Frohnapfel
River Days Rumble Feature Finish (50 Laps): 1. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr; 2. 99-Devin Moran; 3. 18D-Daulton Wilson; 4. 76-Brandon Overton; 5. 1H-Hudson O’Neal; 6. 49-Jonathan Davenport; 7. 39-Tim McCreadie; 8. 7-Ross Robinson; 9. 71C-RJ Conley; 10. 44-Colten Burdette; 11. 1T-Tyler Erb; 12. 71R-Rod Conley; 13. 111B-Max Blair; 14. 46-Earl Pearson Jr; 15. 58-Garrett Alberson; 16. 10-Garrett Smith; 17. 55-Jesse Wisecarver; 18. 11-Spencer Hughes; 19. 99B-Boom Briggs; 20. 13W-David Webb; 21. 68-Adam Stricker; 22. 81-Brandon Fouts; 23. 21K-Kirk Phillips; 24. 89-Logan Roberson