Ricky Thornton Jr. won Saturday's Jackson 100 at Brownstown Speedway. (Heath Lawson photo)

Thornton Cashes $30,000 Jackson 100 Check

BROWNSTOWN, Ind. — Ricky Thornton Jr. regained the lead from Hudson O’Neal with 18 laps remaining and pulled away to win the richest event in Brownstown Speedway history on Saturday night.

Thornton’s victory in the 44th annual Jackson 100 was worth $30,000.

It was Thornton’s first win in the annual event that has been held every year since its inception in 1980. O’Neal who led 28 laps during the mid-point of the race could not hold off Thornton who went on to win by 2.167 seconds.

Devin Moran rounded out the podium with defending Jackson 100 champion Tim McCreadie finishing fourth and Cory Hedgecock rounding out the top five.

Thornton jumped to lead at the start of the race with Mike Marlar and Devin Moran holding down the second and third positions. Marlar was running in the runnerup position and was still within striking distance of Thornton until a flat right rear tire with 54 laps scored ended his hopes of a Brownstown weekend.

On the restart, O’Neal exploded to the front on the top side and went to the lead on lap 58 by Thornton. O’Neal would lead until lap 82 when Thornton went back to the top spot. From then, Thornton cruised to his 21st Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win of the season. The Jackson 100 victory was the second for his car owners Todd and Vickie Burns who went to victory lane in 2019 with O’Neal.

“Once he [O’Neal] got by me I thought the race was over. I moved up to his lane and he just drove off,” Thornton said. “I just kept my cool. He made one little mistake over there off two and I think it broke his concentration a little bit and then he started searching around. It’s pretty awesome to win this race. I felt like I had a pretty good car early. I didn’t know what to do on the restart whether I needed to be high or low. He got by me, and I thought I just gave this one away. It’s pretty cool for Todd and Vickie to get their second Jackson win here.”

O’Neal nearly pulled off his second career Jackson 100 victory.

“After the weekend we’ve had, we just haven’t been where we needed to be, and we just kept working and working and my guys really worked their tails off trying to get better,” O’Neal said. “We had a great race car there, just unfortunately I just didn’t quite have as good a race car as Ricky did in lapped traffic. I felt pretty good whenever I was out by myself and able to roll that top. Whenever I got behind people, I just struggled a little bit. Man, we will take second after starting 10th we were able to pass a lot of good guys.”

Moran finished third for the second night in a row.

“It’s good to race with the Lucas Oil guys you know that’s tough. Man, I just wanted to get up there a little better. Our guys worked really hard. We put our minds together, we couldn’t get it just right, but it was close. I just want to win this race so bad, it’s such a great atmosphere here at Brownstown cheering and stuff. It’s really fun to race here and they gave us a great race track to run on.”

The finish:

Ricky Thornton Jr., Hudson O’Neal, Devin Moran, Tim McCreadie, Cory Hedgecock, Michael Chilton, Daulton Wilson, Tanner English, Nick Hoffman, Max Blair, Brandon Overton, Earl Pearson Jr., Garrett Alberson, Spencer Hughes, Dennis Erb Jr., Jonathan Davenport, Tyler Erb, Josh Rice, Mike Marlar, David Webb, Ross Robinson, Boom Briggs, Trevor Landrum, Rod Conley, Jared Bailey, Jason Jameson.