BROWNSTOWN, Ind. – Josh Richards held off a late rally from Ricky Thornton, Jr. to win Friday night’s Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series-sanctioned Night Before the Jackson event at Brownstown Speedway.
Richards, the 2017 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion, was the fourth different leader of the race when he took the top spot on lap 14. He held the lead the rest of the way despite Thornton’s furious charge, which saw the two drivers run side-by-side for several circuits.
Earl Pearson Jr. crossed the line in third followed by Jonathan Davenport and Zack Dohm.
Devin Moran led four laps and Billy Moyer led three laps early on. Thornton battled with Moran for two laps until he finally cleared him on lap nine. He then held the top spot until Richards forged ahead with 26 laps to go.
Richards came from the seventh starting position to earn his 31st Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory.
“Coming here in the past, we didn’t really have a good package,” Richards said. “I have never ran that well here. We have worked hard on the car the last couple weeks. I have the best team in the business and my guys have been awesome. I didn’t know what to expect early in the night. We worked on the car a little bit. I saw him [Thornton] there with two to go. I really didn’t know where to run. I just didn’t want to break my momentum and we held him off.”
Thornton, who recently claimed a pair of IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals crowns, continues to get closer to winning his first Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event. He had a shot at the end of the race, but fell a couple of car lengths short of Richards at the finish.
“Congrats to Josh. I had a blast out there,” Thornton said. “You could move around some out there. We have a good hot-rod for tomorrow. I saw the board with 12 or 13 laps to go and I thought if I am going to get up I had better go now. I was able to get back to them and run Josh down. To race as hard as we did and we never touched once. It’s pretty awesome.”
Pearson was pleased with his third place finish.
“The track is awful racy right now. We were a little worried at first with all of these cars here tonight. It was a good for us. I got held up by some traffic, but I don’t know if we had anything for the top two. ”
Josh Richards, Ricky Thornton Jr., Earl Pearson Jr., Jonathan Davenport, Zack Dohm, Tyler Erb, Bobby Pierce, Tim McCreadie, Devin Moran, Tanner English, Hudson O’Neal, Stormy Scott, Kyle Strickler, Jimmy Owens, Shane Clanton, Chris Ferguson, Michael Chilton, Jason Jameson, Billy Moyer Jr., Tyler Bruening, Kyle Bronson, Shelby Miles, Don O’Neal, Steve Casebolt, Billy Moyer, Trevor Landrum, Cory Hedgecock.