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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thornton Opens 2021 with Wild West Shootout Victory
ADEL, Iowa (01/11/21) – Ricky Thornton Jr. picked up right where he left off in 2020, continuing his winning ways with a $5,000 triumph in just his second start of the season Sunday.
The Arizona native picked up his first-career Super Late Model win in the Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout. He becomes only the second home-state driver to win during the annual miniseries.
"It's definitely pretty special, right here in front of our hometown crowd," said Thornton, who guided his Indiana-based SSI Motorsports Longhorn Chassis to a 1.015-second victory over Davenport at the 3/8-mile oval near Phoenix. "I think R.C. Whitwell is the only Arizona guy to do it, so it's pretty cool to add another guy to that list."
Thornton kicked off his 2021 season on Saturday night at FK Rod Ends Arizona Speedway in Queen Creek, Ariz., piloting the SSI Motorsports No. 20RT Dyno One Inc./ Excel Floor Covering/ Sub-Surface of Indiana/ Longhorn Chassis/ Clements Racing Engine Super Late Model.
In a stout field of 57 entries, Ricky timed in second in his qualifying group before picking up a heat race victory. Drawing the fourth-starting spot for the $5,000-to-win feature, Thornton went on to finish second in the 40-lapper behind Jonathan Davenport. Brian Shirley, Chris Simpson, and Cody Laney rounded out the Top-5.
With another $5,000 on the line Sunday, Thornton once again posted a strong qualifying effort before claiming a heat race win. Starting the A-Main in fourth, Ricky had made his way to second when the caution flag waved on Lap 11.
Thornton continued to trail race leader, Jonathan Davenport until the duo encountered lap traffic at the halfway mark of the 40-lap affair. Thornton Jr. quickly began closing on Davenport and made his move at the completion of lap 23, at the exit of turn four. Davenport was slowed by a lapped car and Thornton Jr. pounced, darting to the inside of both cars, using the lapped traffic as a "pick" and successfully clearing Davenport by the time they reached turn one.
Thornton Jr. went on to cross the finish line 1.015 seconds ahead of Davenport, who settled for the runner-up position. Mike Marlar, Brian Shirley and Jason Feger completed the top-five finishers on Sunday.