Ricky Thornton Jr. emerged from an intense battle among numerous competitors on Saturday night to claim the Ralph Latham Memorial event at the historic Florence Speedway. After outdueling the likes of Hudson O’Neal, Brandon Overton and Jonathan Davenport, it the third Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory of the 2023 season for the driver of the SSI Motorsports No. 20RT machine.
The Longhorn Chassis driver from Chandler, Arizona earned $15,000 for his efforts on the track located in Union, Kentucky.
A total of 41 cars were signed in for competition
Group A Results- 1. Brandon Overton (15.398), 2. Josh Rice, 3. Jonathan Davenport, 4. Ricky Thornton Jr, 5. Bobby Pierce, 6. Mike Marlar, 7. Garrett Alberson, 8. Adam Stricker, 9. Daulton Wilson, 10. Cory Hedgecock, 11. Devin Gilpin, 12. Kody Evans
Group B Results- 1. Spencer Hughes (15.712), 2. Max Blair, 3. Hudson O’Neal, 4. Garrett Smith, 5. Trevor Landrum, 6. Tim McCreadie, 7. Tristan Chamberlain, 8. Tyler Bruening, 9. Chris Ferguson, 10. Jimmy Owens, 11. Boom Briggs, 12. David Webb
Heat 1 Results: 1. Jonathan Davenport, 2. Brandon Overton, 3. Bobby Pierce, 4. Daulton Wilson
Heat 2 Results: 1. Josh Rice, 2. Ricky Thornton Jr, 3. Mike Marlar, 4. Tyler Erb
Heat 3 Results: 1. Spencer Hughes, 2. Hudson O’Neal, 3. Devin Moran, 4. Earl Pearson Jr
Heat 4 Results: 1. Max Blair, 2. Garrett Smith, 3. Jimmy Owens, 4. Kent Robinson
B-main 1 Finish: 1. Cory Hedgecock, 2. Garrett Alberson, 3. Adam Stricker
B-main 2 Finish: 1. Tim McCreadie, 2. Chris Ferguson, 3. Trevor Landrum
Feature Re-cap: The 50-lap feature began with Davenport leading Hughes, Rice, O’Neal, and Blair. O’Neal quickly went on the move by taking second away from Hughes on the second circuit. Overton also began to charge forward as he made his way to fourth on lap 3 and then immediately moved in to challenge Hughes for third.
Pierce then emerged as a threat when he entered the top-5 on lap 6 just before Overton was able to complete the pass on Hughes. However, a caution for a spin by the top-10 running Blair would slow the intense pace of the race.
On the restart, Overton climbed to second but O’Neal would have none of it and regained the position on lap 12 and used the momentum of the high side of the track to also moved around Davenport to take the race lead. Overton would also pass Davenport to move up to second on lap 13.
Thornton came on the scene by entering the top-5 just as the battles in front of him were raging. On lap 15. he took third away from Davenport which opened the door for Pierce to also get by Davenport just before a yellow flag waved on lap 19.
Thornton continued his move up the leaderboard on the lap 19 restart when he jumped to second behind O’Neal. At the same time, Overton and Pierce remained in the fray always threatening to move forward. But on lap 22, Thornton made his move and claimed the lead from O’Neal.
Pierce would retire his machine during a lap 24 caution period. On that restart, Overton moved in to take the fight for the lead with Thornton. Further back, it was now Alberson on the move as he rose to fourth from deep in the field.
As the race moved into its second half, the top-3 of Thornton, O’Neal and Overton were engaged in a fierce battle that was provided multiple position changes per lap with cars using multiple groove to get around the track, All the while, Alberson closed in from fourth.
Eventually, Thornton would break away from that battle leaving O’Neal and Overton to settle second place.
Click on the play button below to hear a post-race interview with Ricky Thornton Jr.
Feature Results: 1. Ricky Thornton Jr, 2. Hudson O’Neal, 3. Brandon Overton, 4. Garrett Alberson, 5. Tim McCreadie, 6. Cory Hedgecock, 7. Jonathan Davenport, , 8. Earl Pearson Jr, 9. Devin Moran, 10. Logan Roberson, 11. Mike Marlar, 12. Tyler Erb, 13. Jimmy Owens, 14. Rosa Robinson, 15. Spencer Hughes, 16. Max Blair, 17. Jesse Lay, 18. Tyler Bruening, 19. Garrett Smith, 20. Josh Rice, 21. Boom Briggs, 22. Bobby Pierce, 23. Daulton Wilson, 24. Trevor Landrum, 25. Kent Robinson, 26. Chris Ferguson, 27. Adam Stricker
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