Ricky Thornton Jr
RTJ pockets $5,000 North-South 100 prelim, salvages second in Saturday's finale
Ricky Thornton Jr. and SSI Motorsports returned with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (LOLMDS) on Thursday evening at Florence Speedway (Union, Ky.) for a pair of preliminary features to kick off the 41st annual Sunoco North-South 100 weekend.
Lined up second for his $5,000-to-win prelim via a heat race victory, Thornton overtook early pacesetter Hudson O’Neal after the leader slowed with a flat only to suffer his own flat tire a few laps later. He salvaged a 17th-place finish from the tail.
Taking part in another round of prelims on Friday, Thornton topped the charts in time trials to claim the overall fast time honors before placing first in his heat. Wrestling away the lead from fellow front-row starter Daulton Wilson on the 12th circuit of the feature, Ricky steered to his 14th LOLMDS victory of the season and 24th overall on the 2023 campaign. He earned $5,000 ahead of Wilson, Ryan Gustin, Mike Marlar, and Chris Ferguson.
Buried by the invert in his heat race on Saturday, Ricky followed up a fourth-place finish with a third-place run in his consolation race. Starting the $75,000-to-win Sunoco North-South 100 in 23rd via a provisional, Thornton wheeled through the field 21 positions in the 100-lap affair to cap off the weekend with an impressive runner-up showing. He finished 2.019 seconds behind Bobby Pierce with Hudson O’Neal rounding out the podium.
Ricky leads by a 330-point margin atop the latest LOLMDS point standings.
Full results from the events are available at www.LucasDirt.com.
Article Credit: Michael Boggs Photography