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Ricky Thornton Jr. takes the checkered flag Wednesday night at Brownstown Speedway. (Mike Ruefer photo)

Thornton Holds Off Marlar For Brownstown Check

BROWNSTOWN, Ind. — The Castrol FloRacing Night in America miniseries thundered into Brownstown Speedway Wednesday night with Ricky Thornton Jr. leading all 50 laps to snare the $23,023 victory.

Fending off an early challenge from Mike Marlar, Thornton pulled away and wasn’t pressured the rest of the way. He gave credit to crew chief Anthony Burroughs and Kevin Rumley of Longhorn Chassis for providing him a winning race car.

“Luckily, Burroughs works his tail off, him and Rumley, they really turned our program around here toward the end of last year,” Thornton said. “I felt like if I could’ve still went a little bit harder there at the end. I slowed myself down and tried to give myself a two- or three-car-length gap, that way if I had to race, I had the room to at least improve my pace. So it worked out for us. I gotta thank Marlar for running us clean — I knew he would.”
The fourth-starting Marlar, the previous night’s tour winner at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway, finished 1.859 seconds behind Thornton, who started outside the front row and jumped into the early lead over polesitter Devin Moran.

The fast-qualifying Moran settled for third with Hudson O’Neal and Dennis Erb Jr. rounding out the top five.

On a night when 56 late model teams packed the pits and nine preliminary races produced solid action, Thornton and other competitors had an inkling the track surface might develop the dreaded rubber strip in the main event. Thornton knew getting the jump on Moran was critical.
“I was kind of watching that B-main there for the mods, and they were kind of around that middle,” Thornton said. “So I knew I just had to get a good start and try to get myself out front and not give it away early. I figured it’s gonna lock down, I didn’t know exactly where. I was running right around the top and I moved down and then the lower I got, the better I got.”

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Ricky Thornton Jr. (Jim DenHamer photo)

Thornton comfortably paced himself behind slower cars to protect his lead and, when the race’s lone caution appeared on the 35th lap when Jordan Wever went over the banking, Thornton zipped away on the restart and completed his victory worry-free.

Marlar made a bid for his second straight series victory early, but ultimately settled for a runner-up performance.

“You know, the track was really, really racy all night long. It was just a little bit too dry when we started to feature there,” Marlar said. “But we had a heck of a race there for a while, then it just got one-laned and it was pretty much over. But up until that point, me and him was having a whole lot of run there. I enjoy racing with Ricky. He’s a really hard racer, and he’s really good. It’s fun racing him there and I’m just happy to be up here racing at the front.

“We keep coming to these races with 50, 60 cars, they’re tough fields. We’ll never complain about second when we’re running good, that’s for sure.”

Moran was glad he found speed in his car after struggling in recent events.

“We’ve had a problem with the car, it ain’t been running right. I talked to (engine builder) Jack (Cornett) and it was just a little bit of wiring and stuff we had to figure out,” said Moran. “It felt like it ran a lot better and, obviously we got quick tonight so that was cool. Congrats to Ricky and Mikey and glad to be back on the podium.”

Tyler Nicely won the modified feature. 

The finish:

Feature (50 Laps): 1. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr.[2]; 2. 157-Mike Marlar[4]; 3. 99M-Devin Moran[1]; 4. 1-Hudson O’Neal[5]; 5. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[6]; 6. 6-Kyle Larson[3]; 7. 32-Bobby Pierce[8]; 8. 39-Tim McCreadie[11]; 9. 1T-Tyler Erb[9]; 10. B5-Brandon Sheppard[10]; 11. 46-Earl Pearson Jr[13]; 12. 9-Nick Hoffman[12]; 13. 49-Jonathan Davenport[19]; 14. 11H-Spencer Hughes[17]; 15. 40B-Kyle Bronson[18]; 16. 96V-Tanner English[22]; 17. 68-Adam Stricker[23]; 18. 2S-Stormy Scott[16]; 19. 12-Jason Jameson[7]; 20. 7T-Drake Troutman[20]; 21. 29J-Jordan Wever[21]; 22. 18D-Daulton Wilson[14]; 23. 24-Jared Bailey[24]; 24. 76-Brandon Overton[15]