HomeDirt Late Model NewsRicky Thornton Jr. Bags Pair of Gateway Dirt Nationals Prelims

Ricky Thornton Jr. Bags Pair of Gateway Dirt Nationals Prelims

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Victorious in Both Super Late Model and Modified CompetitionMARTINSVILLE, Ind. (12/18/23) – While he fell short of conquering either finale during the seventh annual Castrol Gateway Dirt Nationals, Ricky Thornton Jr. did race to a $5,000 Super Late Model prelim win and a $3,000 Modified prelim victory.With the victories he increased his 2023-win tally to 40.“We didn’t get the two big wins, but man we had a good time. We were running like sixth with 11 laps remaining in the Late Model feature, and I’m like, ‘Man, we didn’t come all the way here to run sixth.’ So I figured it was time to pony up and just get after it,” Thornton Jr. said. “I had a good shot. I tried to (pull off a) slider on that last lap (for the lead), but I knew I was gonna destroy him. I had to just kind of park it, and that kind of ruined any shot of winning it. Still was a lot of fun.“In the Modified we were a little off in the feature and were running in the Top 5 in the feature, when (Mike) Harrison got sideways in front of me. He kinda pinballed off me and it got him straightened. We kept going for a few laps there before it ultimately threw the driveshaft out, ending our night. I hate it ended that way, but I greatly appreciate the Learman family for having me drive their Modified again.”Taking part in his preliminary night for the seventh annual Castrol Gateway Dirt Nationals presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts, Ricky Thornton Jr. visited The Dome at America’s Center (St. Louis, Mo.) on Thursday to pilot the Mike and Lauren Learman-owned No. 20RT Royal Race Cars Modified.After picking up a heat race victory over Trevor Neville, Thornton powered ahead of pole-starting Dave Hess Jr. on the opening circuit and led flag-to-flag to secure the $3,000 payday.Meanwhile, Friday found Ricky aboard the SSI Motorsports / Coltman Farms / Hoker Trucking No. 20RT Dyno One Inc. / Excel Floor Covering / Sub-Surface of Indiana / Longhorn Chassis / Clements Racing Engine Super Late Model. He backed up an eight-lap heat race victory with a fourth-to-first run in the feature.In the main event, Thornton Jr. recorded his 40th overall victory of the 2023 campaign ahead of Chris Simpson, Brandon Sheppard, Josh Rice, and Tanner English.Starting Saturday night’s $30,000-to-win Super Late Model feature in third via the redraw, Thornton lost ground early before making an impressive charge to the front. He nearly nosed ahead of race-long pacesetter Brandon Sheppard with a last-lap slider but came up short, marking him second in the final rundown.In the Modified main event, Ricky suffered a mechanical issue while challenging for the lead that sidelined him with eight laps remaining. He was credited with a 16th-place finish.

Full results from the event are available at www.GatewayDirt.com.Ricky still has a bevy of events left on the 2023 race docket as he returns to Micro Sprint action during the 39th annual American Waste Control Tulsa Shootout on Dec. 27 – 31 at the Sagenet Center at Expo Square (Tulsa, Okla.).Full event details are available at www.TulsaShootout.com.

Ricky Thornton Jr. would like to thank all of his marketing partners, which include: SSI Motorsports, Dyno One, Excel Floor Covering, Coltman Farms, Hoker Trucking, Certified Inspection Service (CSI), High Performance Lubricants, Big River Steel, Van Meter Insurance Group, Varsitee Screen Printing, West Side Tractor Sales Co., Sub-Surface of Indiana, Midwest Sheet Metal, D&E Outside Services, Lethal Chassis, Dylan Earven Foundation, EMD Wraps, Brembo, Keyser Manufacturing, Wiles Driveshafts, Barnes Systems, Strange Oval, Schoenfeld Headers, The Joie of Seating, Earnhardt Technologies, FK Rod Ends, BMRS, Wilwood Disc Brakes, Hoosier Tire, Performance Bodies, Jones Racing Products, Simpson Racing Products, NAPA (Morgantown – Bargersville), Swift Springs, Bilstein, Winning Edge Carburetion, Longhorn Chassis, Clements Racing Engines, and MyRacePass Marketing Services.Visit the team’s official website at www.TwentyRT.com often for the latest team information. You can also stay connected with Ricky Thornton Jr. on social media at https://www.facebook.com/rickythorntonjrracing on Facebook, and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RThornton20rt.

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