Ricky Thornton Jr. capped off an ultra-successful 2020 season on Sunday by completing a sweep of Central Arizona Speedway’s 7th Annual Desert Thunder Nationals. It was his 38th overall win of the season.
Thornton’s latest trio of victories came aboard his Certified Inspection Service No. 20RT Excel Floor Covering/ D&E Outside Services/ Lethal Chassis IMCA Modified.
Ricky was one of 45 IMCA Modified entries to kick off the 7th Annual Desert Thunder Nationals on Friday night. A heat race victory would position him starting third in the opening night feature.
Thornton battled past Don Geist to take command on the fifth circuit and then denied challenges by Jake O’Neil for the point to secure the win. O’Neil and Jeff Larson filled out the podium with Chaz Baca and Zachary Madrid rounding out the top Top-5.
“I knew Jake was going to be tough, him starting 12th probably helped me out a little bit,” Thornton stated after posting the win.
Thornton stayed perfect atop the 3/8-mile oval on Saturday. Ricky finished second in his preliminary heat race to earn the sixth starting spot on the feature grid. Thornton made his way into a podium position in the early going.
Taking advantage of lapped traffic, Thornton slid ahead of Jake O’Neal for the lead on the 14th lap and pulled away for his second win in as many nights. Trailing Thornton to the checkers was Jeff Taylor, Tanner Black, Kelsie Foley, and Zachary Madrid.
“Jake got out there then Shawn got rolling and went right by him, he got too high one time and that’s all it took,” Thornton after cracking victory lane for the second night in a row.
Ricky Thornton Jr. completed the trifecta on Sunday by charging to another convincing victory. Another runner-up performance in his heat race would earn Ricky the seventh starting position for the finale.
Thornton spent the first half of the race chasing his brother Jeremy Thornton. He worked his way into the lead on the 14th circuit and led the field the rest of the way to complete the weekend sweep. Jeremy Thornton held off Jake O’Neil for the runner-up spot with Jeff Larson and Austin Kuehl completing the Top-5 finishers.
For complete results from the weekend, please visit www.CentralArizonaSpeedway.com.
With Thornton’s version of the 2020 season in the books, he’s now shifting his focus to an ambitious 2021 campaign. Piloting the SSI Motorsports No. 20RT Dyno One Inc./ Excel Floor Covering/ Sub-Surface of Indiana/ Longhorn Chassis/ Clements Racing Engine Super Late Model, he’ll tackle the ultra-competitive Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. Thornton’s quest for the national tour’s Rookie of the Year honors kicks off January 22 at Golden Isles Speedway near Brunswick, Ga.
For a complete Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series schedule, please visit www.LucasDirt.com.
Ricky Thornton Jr. would like to thank all of his marketing partners, which include: Dyno One Inc., Excel Floor Covering, Certified Inspection Service Co. Inc., D&E Outside Services, Deines-Nitz Soultions & Powdercoating, West Side Tractor Sales Co., SSI Motorsports, Shelby Materials, Slicker Graphics, Lethal Chassis, Dylan Earven Foundation, Tire Demon, Hoker Trucking, Tanner Racing, High Performance Lubricants, Sub-Surface of Indiana, Midwest Sheet Metal, Dirtvision, Simpson Race Products, JE Pistons, Edelbrock, MSD, iRacing, E-Z-GO, Powers Performance, COMP Cams, Quarter Master, Cometic Gasket, Drydene, Winters Performance Products, Snap-on by Ryan Marsh, NGK Spark Plugs, Schoenfeld Headers, NAPA, Swift Springs, Penske Racing Shocks, Winning Edge Carburetion, Longhorn Chassis, Clements Racing Engines, Dynamic Drivelines, Superior Fuel Cells, Finish Line Body & Parts, Wehrs Machine, Dirt Defender, EMD Wraps, CPD racing Shocks, Bassett, Integra Racing Shocks, and MSR Mafia Marketing Services.