Thornton Establishes Dominance with Central Arizona Win

By Jackson Braun

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. (February 10, 2019) – Day racing at the Central Arizona Speedway brought a completely different dynamic to the plate of the 80 IMCA Modified and 34 IMCA Northern SportMod competitors. A familiar face returned to victory lane for back-to-back nights as Ricky Thornton Jr. grabbed his 4th career Arizona Modified Tour win, tying Hunter Marriott for the most overall wins in the 3rd running of the Tour.

Cody Laney and Thornton were the front row starters as the ground pounding IMCA Modifieds took the green flag for 25 trips around the 3/8 mile oval. Thornton used his outside starting spot to grab the lead early. Clint Reichenbach, who had faced struggles at Arizona Speedway, used his 4th place spot on the starting grid to catapult himself into 2nd early on.

Jake O’Neil, who finished 2nd in last night’s feature action, worked his way past Reichenbach and once again set his sights on Thornton. Thornton had a comfortable cushion once he reached lap traffic, and once again was able to maneuver lap traffic very efficiently. For the second night in a row, the Modified feature went green-to-checkered without a single caution flag flying. Thornton led wire-to-wire and claimed victory once again, as O’Neil once again fell one spot short. Reichenbach, Casey Arneson, and Jason Noll completed the top 5.

In the IMCA Northern SportMods, last night’s feature winner Jake McBirnie and Jim Horejsi paced the field to green. On the first attempt, Horejsi jumped the cushion in turns 1 and 2, but was saved by a caution occurring elsewhere on the track. Horejsi used the high line around the track to shoot out to the lead. In a caution-riddled race, Horejsi was able to maintain the lead pretty comfortably throughout the whole race. McBirnie almost made another shocking last moment pass for the victory, but Horejsi was able to hold him off and secure the win.

After 3 of the 7 Tour races are complete, Ricky Thornton Jr. holds a comfortable 14-point advantage over on-track rival Hunter Marriott in the Modifieds. Brady Bjella still holds the point lead in the Northern SportMods by 3 points over Jake McBirnie. Full standings can be viewed here.

Feature Results

Modifieds – 1. Ricky Thornton Jr., Clive, Iowa; 2. Jake O’Neil, Tucson; 3. Clint Reichenbach, Santa Maria, Calif.; 4. Casey Arneson, Fargo, N.D.; 5. Jason Noll, Peoria; 6. Collen Winebarger, Corbett, Ore.; 7. Jeff Larson, Freeport, Ill.; 8. Nick O’Neil, Tucson; 9. Eddie Kirchoff, Gillette, Wyo.; 10. Shawn Strand, Mandan, N.D.; 11. Hunter Marriott, Brookfield, Mo.; 12. Justin Kay, Wheatland, Iowa; 13. Zachary Madrid, Tucson; 14. Jeff Taylor, Cave City, Ark.; 15. Kollin Hibdon, Pahrump, Nev.; 16. Brint Hartwick, Quitman, Ark.; 17. Drew Armstrong, Benton, Ark.; 18. Clay Money, Penokee, Kan.; 19. John Hansen, Brush, Colo.; 20. Dylan Goplen, Fargo, N.D.; 21. Joey Price, Great Falls, Mont.; 22. Tim Ward, Harcourt, Iowa; 23. Austin Kuehl, Cave Creek; 24. Cody Laney, Torrance, Calif.; 25. D.J. Shannon, Merced, Calif.; 26. Robert Hellebust, Minot, N.D.

Northern SportMods – 1. Jim Horejsi, Marshall, Minn.; 2. Jake McBirnie, Boone, Iowa; 3. Kelly Jacobson, Fargo, N.D.; 4. Ethan Braaksma, Newton, Iowa; 5. Brady Bjella, Williston, N.D.; 6. Fred Ryland, Brentwood, Calif.; 7. Chase Rudolf, Prole, Iowa; 8. Keith Brown Jr., Pittsburg, Calif.; 9. Kevin Johnson, Bakersfield, Calif.; 10. David Jones, Chandler; 11. Andy Clower, Laveen; 12. Mark Harrison, Coolidge; 13. Ty Rogers, Somerton; 14. Ryan Moser, Englewood, Colo.; 15. Cole Carver, Apache Junction; 16. Jarrod Mounce, Atwater, Calif.; 17. Tate Johnson, Homestead, Mont.; 18. Dwayne Melvin, Medford, Ore.; 19. Terry Bahr, Gilbert; 20. Heath Dry, Phoenix; 21. Arie Schouten, Blair, Neb.; 22. Chuck Delp, Rock Springs, Wyo.; 23. Brian Osantowski, Columbus, Neb.; 24. Matt Mayo, Bakersfield, Calif.; 25. Bryan Moreland, Durango, Iowa.