Rice Repeats in Ralph Latham Memorial at Florence

Union, KY (June 30, 2022) – Josh Rice repeated his winning performance from last year as the 23-year-old Kentucky native won his second consecutive Ralph Latham Memorial on Thursday night at Florence Speedway. With the $15,000 victory Rice becomes the 14th different winner this year with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.

In the race that was originally scheduled for early May, but was rained out, Rice came from the ninth starting spot for the win grabbing the lead away from Earl Pearson Jr. on the 27th lap. Rice was never seriously challenged the rest of the way as he scored the win over Ricky Thornton Jr., Garrett Alberson, Jason Jameson, and Brandon Sheppard.

Pearson’s last Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win was at Florence in July of 2020 and tonight he stormed to the early lead ahead of Thornton and three-time Florence track champion, Robby Hensley. Rice made quick work of several drivers climbing to the second spot by the time the first caution of the race came out with 19 laps complete.

Rice stalked Pearson for the lead, passing the four-time series champion on lap 27. The lap was scored as a caution would come out for debris. Under the yellow Pearson pulled off the track after having his oil filter knocked off the car.

On the restart Rice immediately pulled away from Thornton and Alberson, leading the race by more than half a straightaway as he raced through traffic. Without the assistance of any caution flags over the last 33 laps of the race Thornton and Alberson could not get close enough to challenge Rice, as he would lap up to the top ten finishers by the time the checkers flew. 

In Lucas Oil Victory Lane for his second straight year the reigning Spring 50 winner complimented the fans for their support. “I may not be any good anywhere else, but they can’t say I’m bad here. These fans make it so awesome to do it here. It’s so close to home. The fan base here is unreal. We fired off at the start and the car in three and four was great I kept throwing sliders until I took the lead. It’s unreal to do it in front of these fans. Thanks to Rick Jones, he gave us this ride in 2019 and I think he’s going to keep us around.”

“I really wasn’t sliding the car and I was saving the tires. When I got out in front, I thought man I got here awful quick and hopefully I didn’t burn my stuff up. I knew Earl was good. I knew if I could get out in front, I would be so much better. It was good thing it wasn’t 100 laps I was getting wore out. I got to where I couldn’t steer. It’s unbelievable we won this race two years in a row,” said Rice.

Thornton, who is still looking for his first series win of the 2022 season came home in second as he recorded his 11th top five finish of the year. “We had a good car and were pretty maneuverable out there. Congrats to Josh on the win; it’s no surprise how well he runs here.”

Alberson, who entered the night second in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Rookie-of-the-Year of the chase rounded out the podium with his best career finish with the series. “We haven’t done well here in the past and to come home third against these guys, it also says a lot for this Roberts race team. We have had a really fast car and hopefully we can now get the finishes the team deserves.”

The winner’s Rick Jones-owned Rocket Chassis is powered by a Jay Dickens Racing Engine and sponsored by Sunsesis Construction, Blox Spiked Ice, Extreme Sportswear, Integra Racing Shocks, Slicker Graphics, Maxwell Trucking, Stackt Enterprises, and ATC Site Construction.

Completing the top ten were Devin Moran, Hudson O’Neal, Ashton Winger, Tim McCreadie, and Tyler Erb.

Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series 
Race Summary 
36th Annual Ralph Latham Memorial
Thursday, June 30th, 2022
Florence Speedway – Union, KY

Allstar Performance Time Trials
Fast Time Group A: Ricky Thornton, Jr. / 16.355 seconds (overall)
Fast Time Group B: Devin Moran / 16.897 seconds

Penske Race Shocks Heat Race #1 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[1]; 2. 71-Hudson O'Neal[7]; 3. 11R-Josh Rice[5]; 4. 12-Jason Jameson[2]; 5. 18D-Daulton Wilson[6]; 6. 11-Spencer Hughes[4]; 7. 89-Ashton Winger[3]; 8. (DNS) 57-Shane Mugavin

Summit Racing Equipment Heat Race #2 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 58-Garrett Alberson[2]; 2. 76-Brandon Overton[1]; 3. 39-Tim McCreadie[3]; 4. 1T-Tyler Erb[5]; 5. 4G-Kody Evans[4]; 6. 83-Scott James[6]; 7. 17-Jeremy Creech[7]

Simpson Race Products Heat Race #3 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 46-Earl Pearson Jr[2]; 2. 9-Devin Moran[1]; 3. 15-James Rice[3]; 4. 1-Brandon Sheppard[4]; 5. 16-Justin Rattliff[5]; 6. 33AJ-Austin Lay[6]; 7. 49-Jimmie Smith[7]; 8. 8-Curt Addison[8]

Ohlins Shocks Heat Race #4 Finish (10 Laps, Top 4 Transfer): 1. 21H-Robby Hensley[1]; 2. 7-Ross Robinson[4]; 3. 5N-Dustin Nobbe[3]; 4. 1G-Devin Gilpin[2]; 5. 18L-Trevor Landrum[6]; 6. 17T-Tim Vance[5]; 7. 28-PJ Simpson[7]

Fast Shafts B-Main #1 Finish (12 Laps, Top 6 Transfer): 1. 16-Justin Rattliff[2]; 2. 89-Ashton Winger[9]; 3. 83-Scott James[7]; 4. 18D-Daulton Wilson[1]; 5. 11-Spencer Hughes[5]; 6. 18L-Trevor Landrum[4]; 7. 4G-Kody Evans[3]; 8. 33AJ-Austin Lay[6]; 9. 17-Jeremy Creech[11]; 10. 28-PJ Simpson[12]; 11. 17T-Tim Vance[8]; 12. 8-Curt Addison[14]; 13. (DNS) 49-Jimmie Smith; 14. (DNS) 57-Shane Mugavin

36th Annual Ralph Latham Memorial Feature Finish (60 Laps):

Race Statistics
Entrants: 30
Lap Leaders: Earl Pearson, Jr. (Laps 1-26); Josh Rice (Laps 27-60)
Wrisco Feature Winner: Josh Rice
Arizona Sport Shirts Crown Jewel Cup Feature Winner: n/a
Brandon Ford TV Challenge Feature Winner: n/a
Margin of Victory: 1.689 seconds
Stop-Tech Cautions: Robby Hensley (Lap 19); Debris (Lap 27)
Series Provisionals: n/a
Fast Time Provisional: Kody Evans; Tim Vance
Series Emergency Provisionals: n/a
Track Provisionals: Austin Lay
Big River Steel Podium Top 3: Josh Rice, Ricky Thornton, Jr., Garrett Alberson
Penske Shocks Top 5: Josh Rice, Ricky Thornton, Jr., Garrett Alberson, Jason Jameson, Brandon Sheppard
Optima Batteries Hard Charger of the Race: Ashton Winger (Advanced 10 Positions)
Midwest Sheet Metal Spoiler Challenge Point Leader: Brandon Sheppard
Hot Rod Processing Most Laps Led: Josh Rice (34 Laps)
Sunoco Race for Gas Highest Finisher: Ricky Thornton, Jr.
O’Reilly Auto Parts Rookie of the Race: Garrett Alberson
Dirty Girl Racewear Fastest Lap of the Race: Earl Pearson, Jr.(Lap 1 – 16.803 seconds)
Feature DirtonDirt.com Tough Break of the Race: Earl Pearson, Jr.
Outerwears Crew Chief of the Race: James Rice (Josh Rice)
ARP Engine Builder of the Race: Jay Dickens Racing Engines
Miller Welders Chassis Builder of the Race: Rocket Chassis
Dirt Draft Fastest in Hot Laps: Ricky Thornton, Jr. (15.6555 seconds)
Time of Race: 27minutes 23 seconds

Lucas Oil Championship Point Standings:

*Results are unofficial until Close of Business on the Tuesday following Race Day*