Ricky Thornton Jr. charges to Knoxville preliminary win on Thursday night

Ricky Thornton Jr.

Ricky Thornton Jr. proved on Thursday night in a preliminary event for the Lucas Oil Knoxville Late Model Nationals at Knoxville Raceway that he is not finished winning yet in 2023. The current Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series points leader used a last lap pass on Brandon Overton to score the victory on the historic track.

The Longhorn Chassis driver from Martinsville, Indiana earned $7,000 from the track located in Knoxville, Iowa in a race shown live by FloRacing.com.

A total of 40 cars were signed in for competition.

Qualifying Results:

Group A Results- 1. Mike Marlar(17.109), 2. Chris Ferguson, 3. Devin Moran, 4. Daulton Wilson, 5. Brian Shirley, 6. Brandon Overton, 7. Max Blair, 8. Kyle Bronson

Group B Results- 1. Ricky Thornton Jr.(17.396), 2. Hudson O’Neal, 3. Jonathan Davenport, 4. Todd Cooney, 5. Earl Pearson Jr., 6. Spencer Hughes, 7. Brandon Sheppard, 8. Chad Simpson

Heat 1 Results: 1. Max Blair, 2. Devin Moran, 3. Brian Shirley, 4. Mike Marlar, 5. Tyler Erb

Heat 2 Results: 1. Chris Ferguson, 2. Chase Junghans, 3. Kyle Bronson, 4. Brandon Overton, 5. Daulton Wilson

Heat 3 Results: 1. Jonathan Davenport, 2, Brandon Sheppard, 3. Ricky Thornton Jr., 4. Earl Pearson Jr., 5. Daniel Hilsabeck

Heat 4 Results: 1. Chad Simpson, 2. Spencer Hughes, 3. Ryan Gustin, 4. Tyler Bruening, 5. Hudson O’Neal

B-main 1 Finish: 1. Chris Simpson, 2. Billy Moyer Sr.

B-main 2 Finish: 1. Tim McCreadie, 2. Tim Lance

Feature Re-cap: At the start of the 25-lap main event it was Wilson who took the early lead over Pearson, Moran, Davenport and Ferguson. Davenport began to climb up the leaderboard on the second lap when he passed Pearson for second. 

By lap 6, Wilson held a two second advantage over Davenport and Moran. Marlar rose to fourth as Wilson and Davenport pulled ahead of Moran. But Marlar would close in on and pass Moran for third on lap 13.

Davenport closed in on Wilson and made an outside move for the lead on lap 15 tagging the outside wall out of turn four in the process. At the end of the front straightaway the No. 49 slammed hard into the turn one wall.

Soon after the lap 15 restart, Overton charged forward and eventually took the lead from Wilson as the laps clicked away. A lap 22 caution for O’Neal set up a late dash to the finish.

Wilson and Thornton chased Overton over the remaining laps with Wilson making a bid for the lead on the backstretch coming to the white flag but Thornton made a huge charge on the bottom of the speedway. Finally, Thornton would pass Overton for the race lead just after the white flag and then sail on to the victory.

Feature Results: 1. Ricky Thornton Jr., 2. Daulton Wilson, 3. Brandon Overton, 4. Devin Moran, 5. Mike Marlar, 6. Chris Ferguson, 7. Tyler Erb, 8. Ryan Gustin, 9. Brandon Sheppard, 10. Earl Pearson Jr., 11. Chris Simpson, 12. Chad Simpson, 13. Spencer Hughes, 14. Billy Moyer Sr., 15. Tim McCreadie, 16. Tim Lance, 17. Hudson O’Neal, 18. Max Blair, 19. Kyle Bronson, 20. Daniel Hilsabeck, 21. Tyler Bruening, 22. Chase Junghans, 23. Jonathan Davenport, 24. Brian Shirley

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