Portsmouth, OH (July 1, 2022) - 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.
Able Air Independence 50 Feature Finish:
See the full story and results: