Ricky Thornton Jr. takes the checkered flag at Portsmouth Raceway Park. (Heath Lawson photo)

Thornton Is Portsmouth Late Model Star

PORTSMOUTH, Ohio — The dream season continued for Ricky Thornton Jr., who won his 17th Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event of the year on Saturday night at Portsmouth Raceway Park, earning $15,000 for his triumph in the River Days Rumble.

Thornton, who started seventh on the grid charged to the lead on lap 32 past Daulton Wilson.

Devin Moran tried to make it close in the waning laps but had to settle for second-place 1.786 seconds behind the winner. Wilson, who led 15 laps during the race finished third.

Brandon Overton, who led seven of the 50 laps was fourth with Hudson O’Neal rebounding from a flat tire and passed Jonathan Davenport on the final lap for fifth. 

O’Neal, coming off a $50,000 victory last weekend at Port Royal Speedway, took the lead at the start of the race and held the point for the first nine laps until Overton, who started alongside O’Neal on the front row took the lead on lap 10. 

Overton held the lead until Wilson wrestled it from him on lap 18. Wilson put himself in position for his first career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win for the second year in a row at PRP. A caution with 29 laps scored however would halt Wilson’s momentum.

On the restart, Thornton would move into second as he then set high sights on Wilson. Wilson stumbled slightly in turn two and that allowed Thornton to clear him with a slider to take the lead. There would be two more cautions in the race as Moran would threaten Thornton for a few laps before Thornton eventually opened enough breathing room.

Thornton, who was the fourth different leader of the race fell back at the start, but charged to the front gaining the lead with 18 laps remaining.

“I love coming to this place, I wished we raced here more often. It’s nice to come here two nights in a row and be on top both nights,” as Thornton was referring to his $10,000 victory in the unsanctioned Boone Coleman Memorial on Friday nght. “My confidence kind of increased as the race went on. I really didn’t get that good of a start. I probably fell back to 13th or so and then I was able to drive back up through there. So, it was really good. I don’t know why Brandon [Overton] picked the bottom on that restart, but it worked out for me. I was way better on the restart. I thought that Daulton pretty much had it and then pushed that one time and that was my shot to get by him and it all worked out.”

Moran, who started behind Thornton in ninth and moved to second in the final 10 laps, complimented the track crew after the race.

“First off, kudos to Portsmouth Raceway Park they put on a heck of a race track for us tonight,” he said. “You know this is the only time we come here this year and I think this is one of the best tracks Portsmouth’s ever had for us. I want to thank them for a great racetrack and thank all of these fans for coming out. I think Ricky Thornton’s pretty fast, but we got a little bit closer tonight. I thought we had a chance there for a second, but his team’s just really good.” 

The finish:

Ricky Thornton Jr., Devin Moran, Daulton Wilson, Brandon Overton, Hudson O’Neal, Jonathan Davenport, Tim McCreadie, Ross Robinson, R.J. Conley, Colten Burdette, Tyler Erb, Rod Conley, Max Blair, Earl Pearson Jr., Garrett Alberson, Garrett Smith, Jesse Wisecarver, Spencer Hughes, Boom Briggs, David Webb, Adam Stricker, Brandon Fouts, Kirk Phillips, Logan Roberson.