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Ricky Thornton Jr. Rallies For Castrol FloRacing Night In America Victory At Florence Speedway

From Castrol FloRacing Night in America |


WALTON, Ky. (May 31, 2023) — After being stripped of Saturday’s Show-Me 100 victory at Missouri’s Lucas Oil Speedway for failing postrace tech, Ricky Thornton Jr. said the stunning infraction makes him want to win this weekend at West Virginia Motor Speedway that much more.

Turns out, Thornton didn’t need to wait until he arrived in Middlebourne, W.Va., to cleanse himself from the bitter result.

Thornton tracked down and passed race-long leader Bobby Pierce with seven laps to go to win Wednesday’s Castrol® FloRacing Night in America event at Florence Speedway. The Chandler, Ariz., native’s ninth overall victory of the season is worth $23,023.

Pierce, who led from the pole until a miscue on lap 43 proved detrimental, finished 1.538 seconds behind Thornton.

“I feel like it’s kind of redemption from last week,” Thornton said. “We’re excited. I thought I was going to run third before all those yellows. They just helped me. The track kept getting trickier and tricker. I had a good shot at him. I threw a bomb. I kept throwing bombs at him. It just worked out for us. Just excited.”

Pierce appeared on his way to a flag-to-flag victory when he stretched his lead to more than two seconds with 18 laps left ahead of Jonathan Davenport. But before Pierce could make it back around to complete lap 33, the race-changing caution for Mike Marlar occurred.

Lining up third on the would-be final restart, Thornton motored by Davenport for second and then set his sights on Pierce. Thornton was a full second behind Pierce on lap 42, but the deficit all but vanished on the next circuit when Pierce slipped off turn two’s cushion and tagged the wall.

Thornton, smelling metaphorical blood in the water, slid Pierce the very next corner, which set up the go-ahead pass on lap 44.

“The biggest thing is once you do screw up on exit your straightaway speed is so much slower,” Thornton said. “I was able to capitalize on that to get close enough and stay within reach, that’s if he did crew up. It all worked out for us. The track kind of came to us as it slowed down.

“I felt like one and two weren’t bad,” Thornton added. “Three and four, I think it just got so slick getting in, you can almost enter like a car off and slide and almost hit the wall. It made it a lot more fun, I think. If you wanted it, you really had to go for it.”

Pierce tried countering with a slider of his own on lap 45 in turns one and two, but couldn’t generate the momentum required to reclaim the lead. Minus the miscue that costed him the race, Pierce utilized the top better than anyone on Wednesday.

Davenport and Thornton had challenged Pierce the three prior restarts on laps seven, 16 and 24, but neither could get their cars sped up like Pierce around the top. The Oakwood, Ill., driver said that Thornton “got us a little bit on the tire game there.

“The cautions really hurt me at the end. I think I abused (my right-rear tire) throughout the race,” Pierce said. “I made that little bobble (on lap 32) but I pulled back away. Then I made that really big bobble down there (on lap 43). We got into those slider battles, that was a lot of fun.

“I know where the brake pedal is at. A lot of people don’t. It’s a good thing. It was pretty close, but it was a lot of fun. That’s how you race. I race the same way. Congrats to Ricky on the win. Fun race. Would have loved to stay out front. I figured I could feel myself kind of going away a little bit, getting worse as the race went on. It was getting choppier, it wasn’t helping out with my setups. All in all, a great night. We’ll take this and move on to Farmer City tomorrow (with the World of Outlaws at Farmer City).”

Davenport, meanwhile, finished where he started in third. Last year’s Driver of the Year said the Double L Motorsports teamed employed a different car than last week’s Show-Me 100, where they won twice. Davenport, who ran second the majority of the race (laps 4-33), finished 2.1 seconds behind Thornton.

“I just wanted to get closer so I can watch the race,” Davenport said. “Congrats to Ricky. He’s been on kill. I hate what happened to him last week. Bobby’s been really good, ever since he got his (Longhorn) car. We’re still working. We’re not as confidence as we need to be with our changes. We’ve changed two or three things back and forth. But at least the stats show we started third and ran third. At least we didn’t lead and go to the back. It’s better than what we were the last time. We’ll work on this thing some more. We won’t give up. We can at least see the front now.

“All of our stuff is going in the right direction. Yeah, I’m excited for what the future is going to bring for us. A lot of big races coming up, so it’s time to get rolling.”

Heading into the summer break for the series, Hudson O’Neal leads the latest standings by 24 points over Bobby Pierce. Tim McCreadie, Jonathan Davenport, Ricky Thornton Jr., Brandon Sheppard, Dennis Erb Jr., Mike Marlar, Devin Moran, Tanner English, Brandon Overton, Spencer Hughes, Tyler Erb, Daulton Wilson, and Earl Pearson Jr. round out the Top 15 in the latest series standings.

A driver’s best 10 finishes in the 13-race miniseries count toward the 2023 title, which posts a $75,000 prize with perfect attendance or a $50,000 champion’s take without perfect attendance.

In total over $137,000 is up for grabs in the 2023 point fund, which pays 10 places.

Next up fort Castrol® FloRacing Night in America is a visit to the Fairbury (Ill.) Speedway on Tuesday, Sept. 12 with the $23,023-to-win / $1,000-to-start event fourth running of the One For the Road presented by I-Beam Sliding Doors.

Castrol® FloRacing Night in America Points

Florence (Ky.) Speedway

May 31, 2023

A Feature 1 (50 Laps):

1. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[4]; 2. 32-Bobby Pierce[2]; 3. 49-Jonathan Davenport[3]; 4. 39-Tim McCreadie[9]; 5. 1-Hudson O'Neal[16]; 6. 2S-Stormy Scott[6]; 7. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[8]; 8. 17-Zack Dohm[19]; 9. 7W-Ricky Weiss[21]; 10. 1T-Tyler Erb[15]; 11. B5-Brandon Sheppard[17]; 12. 58-Garrett Alberson[13]; 13. 5N-Dustin Nobbe[18]; 14. 48-Tim Lance[12]; 15. 18D-Daulton Wilson[14]; 16. (DNF) 11H-Spencer Hughes[7]; 17. (DNF) 157-Mike Marlar[5]; 18. (DNF) 68-Adam Stricker[23]; 19. (DNF) 99M-Devin Moran[1]; 20. (DNF) 11R-Josh Rice[11]; 21. (DNF) 4G-Kody Evans[10]; 22. (DNF) 317-Blake Creech[22]; 23. (DNF) 1L-Darrell Lanigan[20]

Castrol® FloRacing Night in America Point Standings (Standings After May 31, 2023):

1)Hudson O’Neal – 522

2)Bobby Pierce – 498

3)Tim McCreadie – 459

4)Jonathan Davenport – 459

5)Ricky Thornton Jr. – 443

6)Brandon Sheppard – 441

7)Dennis Erb Jr. – 386

8)Mike Marlar – 375

9)Devin Moran – 330

10)Tanner English – 318

11)Brandon Overton – 308

12)Spencer Hughes – 251

13)Tyler Erb – 250

14)Daulton Wilson – 202

15)Earl Pearson Jr. - 171

See the full story and results:

Photo's: Castrol FloRacing Night in America | | Josh James Artwork | Ryan Roberts


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