QUEEN CREEK, AZ – Iowans definitely made their mark in the Arizona dirt on Sunday, night – but none bigger than Adel’s Ricky Thornton Jr.

After winning his heat, he drew a fourth starting position for the A feature at Arizona Speedway. He had finished second in the main event on Night 1 of the Wild West Shootout.

Brian Shirley of Chatham, IL, had the quick time of 15.105 seconds in qualifying. That was the quickest time so far in the scheduled six-race mini-series. He would start the main event to the inside of Thornton after the drawing the third starting position.

Although Shirley wasted no time getting to the front when the green flag flew, he eventually surrendered the lead to Blairsville, GA, hot shoe Jonathan Davenport, who started fifth. Taking advantage of three caution periods, Thornton was able to work his way to the second spot within the first 10 circuits of the 40-lap event.

Davenport’s late model loved being out front, but it was slowed by lapped traffic just past the midway point in the race, allowing Thornton to set a pick-and-roll in Turn 4 that gave him the lead with 17 laps to go.

Following a final caution period with just 9 laps to go, Thornton got a big jump on Davenport on the restart, allowing him to cruise on to victory. His margin of victory was 1.015 seconds. Davenport held on for second, while Shirley was relegated to fourth.

The win was doubly sweet: prior to relocating to Iowa, Arizona Speedway was Thornton’s “home” racetrack. This is his first season of running super late models full time in the World of Outlaws series.

Click HERE to see a recap of the race provided by Flo Racing.

Two other Iowans were in the super late model feature: Oxford’s Chris Simpson finished 12th, while Luke Merfeld of Dubuque took 21st. Logan Anderson of Eddyville took 19th in the X-modified feature earlier in the evening.

The Wild West Shootout continues Wednesday night. Hot laps are tentatively scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. local time (5:30 p.m. Iowa time). Flo Racing is providing a live stream of the races. Click HERE to subscribe and watch online.

Click HERE for full results from MyRacePass.com. Results with Iowa drivers follow:


A Feature – 1. Ricky Thornton Jr. (Adel); 12. Chris Simpson (Oxford); 21. Luke Merfeld (Dubuque)

B Feature 1 – 12. Gunner Frank (Montrose)

B Feature 2 – 2. Merfeld; 15. Chad Simpson (Mt. Vernon)

Heat 1 – 8. Frank

Heat 5 – 4. Merfeld; 5. Chad Simpson

Heat 6 – 1. Thornton; 3. Chris Simpson


A Feature – 19. Logan Anderson (Eddyville)

Heat 2 – 3. Anderson

Photos by Mike Ruefer (click HERE for more)

For more news and information that “covers the Iowa dirt track scene,” visit www.iowaracingnews.com.


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