Ricky Thornton Jr. Goes Back-to-Back at Lucas Oil Speedway

Heath Lawson Photo

Ricky Thornton Jr. made a daring three-wide pass for the lead on the opening lap from his fourth starting position and went on to lead the rest of the Tribute to Don and Billie Gibson on Friday night at Lucas Oil Speedway. The event was co-sanctioned by the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and the Lucas Oil MLRA.

Thornton, who won Thursday night’s Cowboy Classic earned $10,000 for his eighth Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win of 2024. Devin Moran finished in second as Jonathan Davenport edged out Max Blair at the line to round out the Big River Steel Podium in third. Blair was fourth and four-time Show-Me 100 winner, Jimmy Owens completed the top five drivers.

On the first lap of the race Thornton split Davenport and pole-sitter Garrett Alberson for the race lead coming off turn number two. Thornton and Davenport later made heavy contact on the front stretch as the duo completed the first lap. 

Thornton then pulled ahead of Davenport as the pair ran nose to tail for 11 more laps until Moran drove to second by Davenport on lap 13 which was three laps after the only caution of the race. Moran tried valiantly to chase down Thornton even in heavy traffic, but Thornton on several occasions was able to clear traffic to keep distance between himself and Moran.

Moran had cut into Thornton’s advantage several times, but with no cautions for the last 30 laps of the race Moran could not muster enough momentum in the closing laps to overtake Thornton.

In Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the 36th time in his career, Thornton battled lapped traffic for most of the last half of the 40-lap race as he bought his battle-worn car to his victory lane interview.

“That was definitely all my fault,” said Thornton of the contact between himself and Davenport on the opening lap. “I thought I cleared him in three then I hit the slime off of four. I thought I left him enough room, but clearly I didn’t. So, I was glad it didn’t wreck both of us, like I said it was 100% my fault. I didn’t plan on sliding him like that. This car was really good. I don’t know, we went with a little bit different tire than those other guys again and I think it paid off for us.”

Moran, who ran third in Thursday night’s race improved one more spot to take the runner-up spot .618 seconds behind the winner in Friday’s race. “Yeah, we just can’t catch this dude [Thornton]. I mean they do a great job and have for the last couple of years. So, congrats to them. We are one step in the right direction. I feel like this is the type of track we will see tomorrow night for the 100-lapper. Hats off to the track crew. They were prepping for a down pour, and it never did, and they brought this thing back to life.”

Davenport, who had gone to Victory Lane at Lucas Oil Speedway seven times in the last couple of years barely beat Blair to the finish line to take the third spot.

“It was just the first lap,” said Davenport when asked of his first lap contact with Thornton. “I thought he was going to give me room and I guess he just misjudged it or whatever. I was as far as I could get. I hit the outside wall and him at the same time. It basically knocked the wheel out of my hands. I am just thankful to be up here in the top three. I was trying really hard to get back by Blair there and I thought I had him one other time, but then I missed the corner down there.” 

The winner’s Todd and Vickie Burns, SSI Motorsports, Longhorn Chassis is powered by a Clements Racing Engines is sponsored Big River Steel, Hoker Trucking, Coltman Farms, Dyno One, Inc., West Side Tractor Sales Company, Bilstein Shocks, Sunoco Race Fuels, EMD Wraps, and Murty Farms.

Completing the top ten were Garrett Alberson, Carson Ferguson, Tim McCreadie, Mike Marlar, and Spencer Hughes.

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series 

Race Summary 

The Tribute to Don & Billie Gibson

Friday, May 24, 2024

Lucas Oil Speedway – Wheatland, MO

Allstar Performance Time Trials

Fast Time Group A: Garrett Alberson | 14.872 seconds (overall)

Fast Time Group B: Jonathan Davenport | 14.864 seconds 

Penske Shocks Heat Race #1 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 58-Garrett Alberson[1]; 2. 20-Jimmy Owens[4]; 3. 6-Clay Harris[2]; 4. 11T-Trevor Gundaker[3]; 5. 17SS-Brenden Smith[5]; 6. 1X-Aaron Marrant[7]; 7. 82-Jace Parmley[10]; 8. 12-Scott Crigler[6]; 9. 10M-Jacob Magee[9]; 10. 3-Brennon Willard[8]

Summit Racing Products Heat Race #2 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 99-Devin Moran[2]; 2. 10-Garrett Smith[1]; 3. 15-Payton Looney[6]; 4. 11G-Gordy Gundaker[3]; 5. 21-Billy Moyer Sr[5]; 6. 78S-Steve Stultz[4]; 7. 65-Jon Binning[9]; 8. 93-Cory Lawler[7]; 9. 7W-Cole Wells[8]; 10. 26P-Glen Powell[10]

Earnhardt Technologies Heat Race #3 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 32X-Chris Simpson[1]; 2. 7-Ross Robinson[4]; 3. 90-Brian Rickman[2]; 4. 157-Mike Marlar[5]; 5. 8-Dillon McCowan[6]; 6. 7D-Dusty Leonard[3]; 7. 46-Earl Pearson Jr[8]; 8. 777-Jared Landers[10]; 9. USA1-Chris Hawkins[7]; 10. 6H-Al Humphrey[9]

Simpson Race Products Heat Race #4 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 49-Jonathan Davenport[1]; 2. 111-Max Blair[3]; 3. 49W-Justin Wells[7]; 4. 22H-Dustin Hodges[2]; 5. 36-Logan Martin[4]; 6. 96-Tanner English[5]; 7. 15C-Clayton Stuckey[6]; 8. 14R-Jeff Roth[8]; 9. 0X-Jason Sivils[9]; 10. 26M-Matt Menzie[10]

Lucas Oil Heat Race #5 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[1]; 2. 93F-Carson Ferguson[2]; 3. 18D-Daulton Wilson[5]; 4. 25C-Chad Simpson[8]; 5. 7T-Drake Troutman[6]; 6. 25-Tony Jackson Jr[4]; 7. 2-Tyler Stevens[3]; 8. 11-Jeff Herzog[7]; 9. 93O-Mason Oberkramer[10]; 10. 67-Jimmy Vanzandt[9]

Lucas Oil Heat Race #6 Finish (8 Laps, Top 3 Transfer): 1. 1-Tim McCreadie[2]; 2. 19M-Spencer Hughes[1]; 3. 71-Hudson O’Neal[3]; 4. 74X-Ethan Dotson[7]; 5. 21XXX-Neil Baggett[4]; 6. 1S-Jeremy Shaw[5]; 7. 128-Kylan Garner[8]; 8. 7J-Ryan Johnson[6]; 9. 1/4J-Jaxon Ertel[9]

Fast Shafts B-Main Race #1 Finish (10 Laps, Top 2 Transfer):  1. 11G-Gordy Gundaker[2]; 2. 1X-Aaron Marrant[5]; 3. 17SS-Brenden Smith[3]; 4. 11T-Trevor Gundaker[1]; 5. 21-Billy Moyer Sr[4]; 6. 78S-Steve Stultz[6]; 7. 12-Scott Crigler[9]; 8. 7W-Cole Wells[12]; 9. 3-Brennon Willard[13]; 10. 65-Jon Binning[8]; 11. 82-Jace Parmley[7]; 12. 26P-Glen Powell[14]; 13. 93-Cory Lawler[10]; 14. (DNS) 10M-Jacob Magee

UNOH B-Main Race #2 Finish (10 Laps, Top 2 Transfer): 1. 157-Mike Marlar[1]; 2. 8-Dillon McCowan[3]; 3. 96-Tanner English[6]; 4. 46-Earl Pearson Jr[7]; 5. 22H-Dustin Hodges[2]; 6. 0X-Jason Sivils[12]; 7. 36-Logan Martin[4]; 8. 7D-Dusty Leonard[5]; 9. 15C-Clayton Stuckey[8]; 10. USA1-Chris Hawkins[11]; 11. 14R-Jeff Roth[10]; 12. 6H-Al Humphrey[13]; 13. 26M-Matt Menzie[14]; 14. (DNS) 777-Jared Landers

MyRacePass B-Main Race #3 Finish (10 Laps, Top 2 Transfer): 1. 25C-Chad Simpson[1]; 2. 7T-Drake Troutman[3]; 3. 25-Tony Jackson Jr[5]; 4. 21XXX-Neil Baggett[4]; 5. 1S-Jeremy Shaw[6]; 6. 128-Kylan Garner[8]; 7. 93O-Mason Oberkramer[11]; 8. 2-Tyler Stevens[7]; 9. 11-Jeff Herzog[9]; 10. 74X-Ethan Dotson[2]; 11. 67-Jimmy Vanzandt[13]; 12. 1/4J-Jaxon Ertel[12]; 13. 7J-Ryan Johnson[10]

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series PR

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