Ricky Thornton, Jr. – Jacy Norgaard photograph
20 FOR ’20: Thornton Banks $20,000 in Drydene Double Down Invitational
Motion-packed race at Jackson concludes with late-race profitable transfer
JACKSON, MN — Might 23, 2020 — One mistake. One tiny slip-up. One window of alternative to strike. That’s all Ricky Thornton Jr. wanted on Saturday evening.
He acquired simply that on the 53rd lap of the $20,000-to-win Drydene Double Down Invitational at Jackson Motorplex.
After waging battle with Chad Simpson all race lengthy, a pricey error in Flip 2 despatched Simpson’s #25 machine over the cushion and the race lead landed proper within the lap of Chandler, AZ, native Ricky Thornton Jr. Controlling the ultimate seven laps with Friday’s winner Ricky Weiss and two-time champion Brandon Sheppard scorching on his tail, Thornton fought off the nerves and held on for his first profession World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Mannequin Collection victory in an thrilling Minnesota showdown.
“This is huge,” Thornton let loose in victory lane. “I’ve always wanted to run a Late Model and Todd and Vicky Burns have made this dream come true for me. I swear I have never gotten nervous in a car, but that was for sure the most nervous I have ever been those final seven laps.”
From the leap of Saturday’s 60-lapper, it was all about Thornton and Simpson. The duo introduced the 24-car subject to the inexperienced flag after each took warmth race wins and pulled the 1-2 tablets within the Morton Buildings redraw. Whereas Simpson managed nearly all of the race, it was Thornton who paced the opening circuit after nailing the low-line across the Jackson 4/10th-mile. Whereas Thornton was fast down low, Simpson was faster up high and blew by the No. 20RT to imagine the lead on the second lap.
Slipping again to 3rd on Lap 6, Thornton shortly rallied after Chris Madden handed him for second and drove again across the Scott Bloomquist Racing, Drydene #0M to reclaim his spot. From there, Simpson went looking for entrance and allowed Thornton to shut. They ran side-by-side down the backstretch on Lap 9, however Simpson proved too robust on the excessive aspect and maintained management. Earlier than a warning with 16 laps down, the duo ran off into lap visitors whereas the battle for fourth heated up between Justin Zeitner, Scott Bloomquist and Weiss.
On Lap 26, the door-to-door battle was again as Thornton caught Simpson once more, however a mistake of his personal in flip two price Thornton critical floor simply shy of midway. He caught him once more and offered one other critical problem in lap visitors on Lap 40, however a warning halted the motion. The making certain restart practically modified the entire race when Weiss drove beneath Thornton momentarily, however one other warning saved Thornton and slotted him again into second.
“I kept running around the top and then all of a sudden Weiss got under me and pretty much passed me,” famous Thornton. “I thought that as long as I could get back by him and maybe block him, I could hang on. You just get such a good run from center-off-to-exit, but your straightaway speed isn’t as good.”
Proving his velocity time and time once more, Thornton managed to reel Simpson again in on each event. Nevertheless, it’s one factor to catch ’em, it’s one other factor to cross ’em. That’s the place Thornton struggled in his race-long chase for the lead. With that in thoughts although, Thornton went to the intimidation techniques.
“I just wanted to make him drive harder and maybe slip up,” mentioned Thornton on his late-race sport plan. “I honestly think my only shot was to slide him off Turn 4 and hope that we didn’t wreck. The odds are we honestly probably would have ran second tonight. I could tell that the cushion kept getting more and more gnarly over there, so I just kept showing my nose down there. I wanted to pressure him and show him I was there. Then I got that one big mistake, and it was it all it took.”
That mistake got here on Lap 53, when Simpson railed across the exterior slightly too heavy, and he jumped the cushion on the exit of Flip 2. Watching his golden alternative develop proper in entrance of his personal eyes, Thornton stabbed the brakes, turned down the observe, and drove by Simpson to say the race lead with seven laps remaining.
A restart with six laps left set the stage with Thornton out entrance for the primary time because the inexperienced flag dropped. A robust restart adopted by a three-way battle for second between Simpson, Weiss and Sheppard, all performed an element in serving to Thornton escape from the hornet’s nest behind him. After Weiss and Sheppard disposed of Simpson, they made one final ditch run at Thornton, however didn’t have sufficient as he earned $20,000 with a win within the Drydene Double Down Invitational.
“Maybe if we had five more laps, I might have had something,” Weiss thought. “I got besides Ricky a few times, and maybe if I made a move sooner that could’ve been me there to capitalize when Chad slipped up. They were just so good once they built their momentum up, I was great on restarts and could get to their door, but they eventually got away every time.”
It wasn’t a win like Friday’s triumph, however a second-place outcome for the Headingley, Manitoba native nonetheless allowed him to ever-so-slightly lower down Brandon Sheppard’s younger level lead. Leaving Jackson, Sheppard is forward of Weiss by 52 markers by means of the primary 11 races of the 2020 World of Outlaws Late Mannequin marketing campaign.
“It’s still so early in the season, Brandon is always gonna be there,” Weiss mentioned on the factors state of affairs. “We’re just gonna do what we do and not worry about him. If we beat him, we beat him. He’s a strong racer and he’s smart with points, so it’s way too early for me think about that.”
For Sheppard, his unimaginable streak of a top-10 end in each single function this season was prolonged, however so was his absence from victory lane. The Rocket1 Racing crew gained the opening evening of the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park in February, however that got here on a post-race disqualification, so the victory lane celebrations have been nixed. Meaning it’s been 267 days (Aug. 30, 2019) since they have been final in World of Outlaws victory lane, a quantity that’s been bothering “B-Shepp.”
“I’m definitely disappointed we didn’t win one this weekend,” mentioned third-place Sheppard. “Especially considering how good my car was. I just needed to be more aggressive in the beginning. We have got to work on qualifying and win some heat races to start up front.”
Trailing Thornton, Weiss and Sheppard to the road was Chad Simpson in fourth-place after main 51 laps of the 60-lapper. Chris Madden rounded out the top-five in fifth.
Finishing the top-10 on Saturday evening was Chase Junghans, KSE Arduous Charger Darrell Lanigan from 19th, Cade Dillard, Dennis Erb Jr., and Frank Heckenast Jr.
The World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Mannequin Collection will proceed the RETURN to RACING tour subsequent weekend with an “Inside Out” doubleheader. Competing at Iowa’s Davenport Speedway on Friday & Saturday, Might 22-23, the Outlaws will race on the quarter-mile infield oval on Friday evening earlier than switching to the large half-mile outer oval on Saturday night.
World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Mannequin Collection Outcomes; Might 23, 2020; Jackson Motorplex
Morton Buildings Characteristic (60 Laps) — 1. 20RT-Ricky Thornton [$20,000]; 2. 7-Ricky Weiss [$7,000]; 3. 1-Brandon Sheppard [$3,000]; 4. 25-Chad Simpson [$2,500]; 5. 0M-Chris Madden [$2,000]; 6. 18-Chase Junghans [$1,700]; 7. 29v-Darrell Lanigan [$1,400]; 8. 97-Cade Dillard [$1,300]; 9. 28-Dennis Erb [$1,200]; 10. 99jr-Frank Heckenast [$1,100]; 11. 99B-Growth Briggs [$1,050]; 12. 66c-Matt Cosner [$1,000]; 13. B1-Brent Larson [$1,000]; 14. 0-Scott Bloomquist [$1,000]; 15. 12-Ashton Winger [$1,000]; 16. 18b-Shannon Babb [$1,000]; 17. 62-Justin Zeitner [$1,000]; 18. 4G-Kody Evans [$1,000]; 19. 98-Jason Rauen [$1,000]; 20. O4-Tad Pospisil [$1,000]; 21. 32-Chris Simpson [$1,000]; 22. 43-Jeremy Grady [$1,000]; 23. 76-Blair Nothdurft [$1,000]; 24. 49-Jake Timm [$1,000]. Lap leaders: Thornton 1, 52-60; Chad Simpson 2-52. Arduous Charger: Lanigan [+12].