2024 02 02 All Tech Lucas Oil Lm Devin Moran Rickythornton Jr Paul Arch Photo Dsc 7258 (51)a
Ricky Thornton Jr. (20rt) races around Devin Moran at All-Tech Raceway. (Paul Arch photo)

Thornton Keeps Rolling In Lucas LM Action

LAKE CITY, Fla. — The final summary of Friday night’s Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event at All-Tech Raceway will show that Ricky Thornton Jr. led all 50 laps.

However, it ended up being a hard-earned $12,000 victory as the Martinsville, Indiana, resident fought off several challengers for his third series win of the season.

At least five different drivers held the second spot during the race, but Thornton who got the win at All- Tech a year ago during the Winter Nationals held them all off for the win.

Devin Moran finished in second followed by Hudson O’Neal, Tyler Bruening, and Jimmy Owens.

GALLERY: Lucas Oil Late Models At All-Tech

Thornton and Owens started from the front row as those two ran first and second for the first four laps of the race until O’Neal, who started sixth, got by Owens to take second. The first caution of the race flew with 13 laps scored for last year’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Rookie of the Year, Max Blair who slowed coming off turn two.

When the race went green again Joseph Joiner started to make moves as the Florida native, who started fifth moved into the second spot to challenge Thornton for the race lead, twice Thornton and Joiner crossed the loop almost dead even as Thornton was hanging onto the top spot.

By lap 20, O’Neal had moved back into second moving Joiner to third. Moran, who started fourth then got going climbing to second on lap 27. Moran and O’Neal then dueled it out for second and third, but the car on the move was Garrett Alberson. The former Rookie of the Year vaulted from fourth to second in the span of a lap.

Alberson then started to close on Thornton as the race for the lead was starting to heat up again, but Alberson’s night ended as he got into the turn two concrete with 41 laps complete.

The final caution appeared with 47 laps complete with Thornton leading Moran, O’Neal, and Owens. On the restart Thornton pulled away from Moran to take the win by 1.178 seconds. 

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Ricky Thornton Jr. won his third feature of the season Friday at All-Tech Raceway. (Mike Ruefer photo)

In Lucas Oil Victory Lane for the 31st time in his career, Thornton breathed a sigh of relief that the race was over.

“Man, I didn’t know if I needed to go around the top or the bottom. You could look on the scoreboard and you could see guys moving and then going back,” Thornton said. “So, I figured the line had to be moving around quite a bit. I had restarted every other time around the bottom, and I didn’t want to take off and hit the fence. It worked out for us. I think at one point down the backstraightaway he [Joiner] cleared me. He got down there, and I felt like I was running as hard, but still trying to save my right rear tire. I actually found a pretty good line around one and two. I split two lapped cars and I felt like I got a really good run, so I kept that in the back of my mind to do that again because it was a line nobody else was running.”

Moran, who was runner-up in last year’s championship standings came home in second after getting close to Thornton on a few occasions.

“They figured out a way to give a good track to run on for the feature,” Moran said. “I know it’s a little later, but it ended up being a really good race. I love racing in Florida and everybody knows that. Thanks to all of the fans for coming out tonight.”

O’Neal, the defending series champion rounded out the podium.

“I just got lost a little bit on the racetrack there about three-quarters of the way through and let Devin get back by me and Alberson as well. I had a couple fall out which helped me get back to the podium. We were able to get to second early on. This place just changes so fast, you are up, down, up, down I swear I changed my line 15 times throughout the race.” 

The finish:

Ricky Thornton Jr., Devin Moran, Hudson O’Neal, Tyler Bruening, Jimmy Owens, Joseph Joiner, Kyle Bronson, Daulton Wilson, Brandon Shppard, Spencer Hughes, Tyler Erb, Brian Shirley, Chris Madden, Tim McCreadie, Jonathan Davenport, Ethan Dotson, Ross Robinson, Earl Pearson Jr., Tanner English, Cody Overton, Garrett Alberson, Tony Jackson Jr., Mike Marlar, Boom Briggs, Clay Harris, Brenden Smith, Max Blair, Bob Gardner.