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Ricky Thornton Jr. (20rt) races under Shannon Babb at Farmer City Raceway. (Shawn Crose photo)

Thornton Bags Another $25,800

FARMER CITY, Ill. — Ricky Thornton Jr. captured his third straight Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event, bagging the $25,800 top prize in Friday’s event at Farmer City Raceway.

Thornton started eighth and grabbed the lead when leader Shannon Babb slowed on lap 71 of the Farmer City 74.

Thornton led the final four laps for his 34th career victory in an event that drew 55 cars to the quarter-mile track. 


Jonathan Davenport came home in the runner-up spot, followed by the third straight podium finish for Garrett Alberson.

Dennis Erb Jr. finished fourth, followed by 16th-place starter Jimmy Owens.

Davenport jumped to the early lead with former Dirt Track World Championship winner Garrett Smith holding down the second spot. Smith held the runner-up position until Thornton, who started on the outside of the fourth row, moved in second around Smith on lap 24.

Davenport and Thornton dueled it out for the lead until Babb joined the party, as the veteran Illini racer and fan favorite, came from ninth and powered to the lead of the race on lap 55. Thornton passed Davenport to take over second as he challenged Babb for the lead up until lap 70 when Babb suddenly slowed on the track and headed to the pit area out of the event. Thornton then went on to lead the final four laps for the win.

“I got second to JD and I’m like man it was going to be a real good night for us,” Thornton said. “We got to traffic, and I closed up on him a little bit and I thought man I‘ve got a shot here, but I don’t want to do something dumb and put myself in the wall in three and four. I moved him up a little bit and it really killed my line. I really wanted to go to the top on those restarts and I‘m like if I give Babb the bottom, he was going to drive right by me and if JD gets the top he was going to get by me. I don’t know but that’s probably the hardest we have drove in a while. I want to thank JD for leaving us a lane every time and the same with Shannon there. It was a wild one.”

Davenport, who is seeking a record-tying fourth Lucas Oil championship came home in the runner-up position after leading the most laps of any driver with 54. 

“That’s the best we have been here by far. It just wasn’t good enough. I probably should have got up and run the top a little bit more. I just couldn’t steer getting in,” Davenport said. “We changed a few things and went a lot stiffer on the front. I just couldn’t steer good enough to run the top like I wanted to. I just stayed straight and run the middle there. I was pretty good. Man, I hate that for Babb because after he passed me, I was cheering him on.”

Alberson, who won a regular show last Friday night at Famer City got his third straight podium finish.

“We have learned some things in the last month or so that seems to have really worked on our car up here. I am just super proud of the team. It’s super cool to run here in front of these fans at a track I love to race on. I hadn’t had a good finish here in a long time before last week and tonight.”  

The finish:

Ricky Thornton Jr., Jonathan Davenport, Garrett Alberson, Dennis Erb Jr., Jimmy Owens, Chris Simpson, Hudson O’Neal, Cody Overton, Ryan Gustin, Tim McCreadie, Tyler Erb, Garrett Smith, Daulton Wilson, Drake Troutman, Ross Robinson, Mike Marlar, Frank Heckenast Jr., Brenden Smith, Boom Briggs, Max Blair, Carson Ferguson, Shannon Babb, Devin Moran, Kyle Bronson, Jason Feger, Brian Shirley, Nick Hoffman, Brandon Sheppard, Mike Spatola, Cory Lawler.