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Thornton Throttles To Win In Sooner Showdown Opener March 9, 2017

Thornton Throttles To Win In Sooner Showdown Opener

The USMTS rolled into the Southern Oklahoma Speedway Thursday for the opening night of the 5th Annual Sooner Showdown presented by Production Jars, and Ricky Thornton Jr. walked out with his third win of the season.

The 26-year-old from Chandler, Ariz., garnered the Sybesma Pole Award and then led all 30 laps of the main event to earn the $2,000 top prize, but the win didn’t come as easy as his last one where he won by nearly a half-lap at the Greenville Speedway in Mississippi.

Five cautions dotted the first ten laps of the race which kept everybody in the 26-car field in contention for the first one-third of the race.

Thornton was able to stave off an early threat from Thomas Tillison Jr. as the battle behind him was intense from start to finish with Rodney Sanders, Ryan Gustin, Johnny Scott and Joe Duvall all trading blows in and around the top five.

While Thornton remained mostly committed to the lower and middle lanes of the semi-banked 3/8-mile clay oval, those behind him were continuously searching high and low for a faster way to catch the ‘Cactus Kid.’

Sanders pressured Thornton for the last half of the race, but even a sixth and final yellow flag waving with two laps to go could not give him the boost he needed to get his No. 20 past Thornton’s No. 20.

“Things have been really good lately,” Thornton said with a smile in victory lane. “I tried the top early because I really didn’t know where to go and Sanders just kind of went by me so luckily that yellow came out and gave us the lead back.”

The final yellow flag was good for Gustin too as he slid past Sanders to garner the runner-up finish, while Sanders Johnny Scott and Chris Brown rounded out the top five.

Points leader Cade Dillard came out of a Real Racing Wheels “B” Main to finish sixth, Jason Hughes was seventh, Stormy Scott passed nine cars to get eighth and Joe Duvall nabbed the ninth spot with his teammate, R.C. Whitwell, tucked in behind for tenth.

For additional news visit www.usmts.com

Photo courtesy of www.usmts.com/Hix Photography

Grabouski Gets Eighth Spring Nationals Win March 9, 2017

Grabouski Gets Eighth Spring Nationals Win

BEATRICE, Neb. (March 9) – The eighth time was every bit as good as the first Thursday night for Jordan Grabouski.

Grabouski won the opening night IMCA Modified feature at his hometown Beatrice Speedway’s Spring Nationals for a record eighth time, earning $2,500.

Kyle Brown, 13th starting Hunter Marriott, Jacob Murray and hard charger Dylan Smith rounded out the top five. Smith, a Spring Nationals winner in 2013, had started 18th.

Grabouski started inside the second row, passing Brown and Anthony Roth on his way to the front early on. He wasn’t challenged as the 30-lapper wound down.

“We had a lot of work to do before tonight. We’ve got a brand new GRT and being able to win tonight made all the late nights in the shop worth it,” said Grabouski, the defending and two-time IMCA national champion and already a 2017 Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot candidate.

“I used to go to Spring Nationals every year when I was growing up and as a kid can remember drivers coming from all over to race here,” he added. “It’s kind of crazy that I could win this eight times. It hasn’t sunk in yet.”

Grabouski’s career-first Spring Nationals victory came in 2008.

For more news visit www.imca.com

Thornton Takes Down USMTS Victory February 26, 2017

Thornton Takes Down USMTS Victory

Ricky Thornton Jr. may need some new tin on the right side of his USMTS modified after Sunday night’s main event at the Greenville Speedway, but he has a $3,000 winner’s paycheck to help with the cost.

The fastest way around the “fastest track in the south” was the longest way around, but the 26-year-old from Chandler, Ariz., showed no signs of being intimidated by the outer concrete wall of the 1/4-mile dirt oval as he raced to an impressive seven-second win over Kyle Beard in the 40-lapper.

And his margin of victory was built in just seven laps after the last of nine cautions waved on lap 33.

From the outside of the front row, Stormy Scott grabbed the lead when the green flag waved and looked to have a strong car capable of winning his first of the season, but a flurry of seven yellow flags in the first dozen laps kept the field close.

Meanwhile, Thornton, who started 12th on the grid, found his way to Scott’s rear bumper with 16 laps in the books and then wrestled the spot away on lap 18.

Just two more cautions appeared during the final 22 laps, but that may have simply kept Thornton from lapping the entire field as his No. 20rt Gressel Racing Hughes Chassis rocketed away from the field.

The win was Thornton’s second in the young season’s first nine races. In addition to his winnings, last year’s Grant Junghans USMTS Rookie of the Year also walked away with awards from BigDeal Car Care, QA1, VP Racing Fuels, Wehrs Machine & Racing Products and a new tire from American Racer.

Dereck Ramirez, who started 10th, got the runner-up paycheck after Beard was disqualified during post-race technical inspection while Zack VanderBeek, 23rd-starting Tyler Wolff and Chris Brown rounded out the top five.

Timothy Culp, Travis Saurer, Joe Duvall, Jon Mitchell and Kyle Pleasant finished sixth through 10th, respectively.

After nine races in the Summit Racing USMTS Southern Region presented by Production Jars, Cade Dillard maintains the top spot in the points with a 27-point cushion (784 to 757) over Brown. Jason Hughes (746), Thornton (736), Stormy Scott (731), Ryan Gustin (706), Saurer (682), Ramirez (679), Johnny Scott (668) and VanderBeek (667) complete the top 10.

For more news visit www.usmts.com

Photo courtesy of www.usmts.com

Haers Is DIRTcar Nationals Victor February 24, 2017

Haers Is DIRTcar Nationals Victor

BARBERVILLE, F.L - Feb. 25, 2017 – The hot shoe out of Phelps, N.Y., Justin Haers, picked up his second career DIRTcar Nationals victory after holding off the 22nd starter, Matt Sheppard in Friday night’s 30-lap Super DIRTcar Series feature event at Volusia Speedway Park.

“We had a really good car from the drop of the green,” Haers said in Victory Lane. “It seemed like I’d get in the wrong part of the restart wanting to be on the bottom but kept restarting on top. I just found the [bottom groove] in turn three and four and I could just hook it really good. The car was was unbelievable, top, bottom, it didn’t matter where I wanted it.”

Mario Clair and Alan Johnson led the 26-car field to the green flag. Clair showed a dominant lead early on until Jimmy Horton started to put pressure on the No. 96c. Clair and Horton battled back-and-fourth for several laps until Clair suddenly fell off the pace, forfeiting the top spot to Horton on lap 21 due to a broken right-rear shock.

It wasn’t long until Haers was knocking on Horton’s back bumper. As Haers closed in on Horton, the No. 43 machine started to smoke tremendously with just five laps remaining.

Horton’s night expired after coming to a stop on the track on lap 27 due to a loose oil line, giving Haers the top spot.

“I give [Horton] credit. He ran the hell out of that thing,” said Haers. “The smoke was so bad I didn’t want to get behind him and have something break on the motor and come back and hit me or something. So I was trying to just stay below him a little bit.”

Sheppard, the defending Super DIRTcar Series champion, worked his way through the last chance showdown and started 22nd in the feature. With three laps remaining in the feature, Sheppard made his presence known and was soon knocking on Haers doors threatening for the win.

Haers was able to hold off Sheppard and pulled away to take home the first Super DIRTcar Series victory of 2017 during the DIRTcar Nationals.

“This is probably the coolest trophy that’s out there,” Haers said. “I’ve got [one gator] and now I’ve got another one to bring home.”

“These racecars are a matter of just getting some laps,” said runner-up finisher, Matt Sheppard. “Trying to get the track to slow down a little bit, it wasn’t looking good there for a long time. It seemed like the longer the race went the better we got. I thought I may have had a shot at Justin at the end but he was really good and we kind of ran out of tear-offs there but it was nice from where we started to come from the back and get second.”

The 2016 Super DIRTcar Series Rookie of the Year, Max McLaughlin showed his skills as he capped off the night with a podium finish.

“I kind of made a mistake setup wise but I’ll take the blame,” McLaughlin said. “The car was really good all night. I ran out of tear-offs with about five to go so I was driving blind. Luckily we ended up third and will go at it again tomorrow.”

For additional news visit www.superdirtcarseries.com

Photo courtesy of www.superdirtcarseries.com/GT Smith

Clanton Outduels Wells For Win February 24, 2017

Clanton Outduels Wells For Win

BARBERVILLE, FL. — February 24, 2016 — The World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series took the track at Volusia Speedway Park for the first time on night 11 of DIRTcar Nationals. During the 40-lap Craftsman Club Feature fans and drivers in attendance witnessed a thick fog roll in after 10pm that was the concoction of two days of heavy rain followed by a third of sunny blue skies. For the drivers’ safety, the feature was called complete with 23 laps in the books due to poor visibility.

Despite the bad luck Mother Nature brought, Shane Clanton was the class of the field all around. He had the fastest lap time during qualifying with 15.861-second lap, won his heat race and led all 23-laps of the feature.

“I hate that Mother Nature brought this fog in, but it’s pretty bad out there,” Clanton said. “Every straightaway you had to pull a tearoff because it’s like rain. I hate it for the fans. They didn’t get to see a full feature here. I think we had the best car tonight, so hopefully we can repeat tomorrow and do it all over.”

Eric Wells also had a strong night as he claimed the second overall fastest time with a 15.862-second lap. Wells also won his heat race and found his way to second place on the podium.

“The track was really demanding tonight,” Well said. “It’s fast and it takes a lot of manpower. You hook a rut the wrong way and you don’t know which way the car’s going to go. That definitely didn’t help at all, but we’ve got a pretty good package. We’re going to work on it tomorrow and hopefully we’ll be in Shane’s spot.”

Not everybody had as successful a night as the top three. Several drivers battled both the elements and mechanical problems throughout the night and were forced to retire early.

Chris Madden was the first driver forced to retire on lap seven when the third driveshaft of the night broke on the Grey Court, SC native’s No.44.

Don O’Neal suffered a similar fate on lap 16. The Martinsville, Ind. native was running fifth after starting the feature 11th.

“I broke something in the driveline coming off of [turn] two,” O’Neal said following the race. “It’s a shame. I mean, we came up through [the field] a ways and I thought we were going to have a good decent finish.”

Union, Ky driver Darrell Lanigan finished eighth in heat two after he pulled pit side with a miss in the motor. Lanigan’s team was scratched for the remainder of the night after pulling the motor. The team described it as “precautionary” after failing to diagnose the source of the problem.

As fog rolled over Volusia midway through the 40-lap feature, several drivers struggled with vision and ran out of tearoffs before the race was called at lap 23.

“I started way too far back. I had 40 some tearoffs and I used every one of them,” said Brandon Overton. “As soon as I would pull one off, the other one would be fogged up. I just kept yanking them and finally I ran out. I figured I had better pull in before we tear anything up.”

Podium finisher Tim McCreadie of Watertown, NY also struggled with the same vision issues due to fog.

“It wasn’t the easiest to see,” McCreadie said. “I’m not going to sit here and act like we can just fly around here no problem. We were wiping the mist [off our visors] all the way around.”

For additional news visit www.woolms.com

Sheppard Captures Gator Trophy February 21, 2017

Sheppard Captures Gator Trophy

BARBERVILLE, FL— February 22, 2017— Brandon Sheppard fought his way to Victory Lane during night eight of the 46th annual DIRTcar Nationals in the 30-lap DIRTcar Racing Late Model Feature. It wasn’t an easy path for Sheppard to get to the front of the pack as Brian Shirley tried to fend him off any way possible.

Sheppard started in the fourth position but found his way to second within the first 10 laps. He passed Shane Clanton, who started the feature third, early on and then had to duel with Tyler Erb. Sheppard then began reeling in Shirley and was at his door knocking by lap 10. They ran side-by-side and the lead position was juggled between the No. 1 and No. 3 machines for several laps. Sheppard finally made the pass on lap 13 but Shirley didn’t surrender as they continued to run side-by-side.

“One of the things I’ve struggled with here a lot is knowing where I need to be on the track,” said Sheppard. “Mark [Richards] talked to me a bunch before we went out for that race and he was giving me pointers on where I need to pick up speed, and where I need to be out of the gas, and how to keep my momentum up… I feel like I learned a lot for later in the week.”

It was Clanton who next found his way to Shirley’s bumper and also found his way around to claim the second position with only five laps to go. Clanton, with his No.25 Capital Racecars chassis, was then gunning for the lead and for Sheppard. Unfortunately for Clanton, he ran out of laps once he was close enough to pass for the lead.

For more news visit www.dirtcarracing.com