Thornton sweeps Snowbird IMCA Modified features

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. (Feb. 19-21) – Three Xtreme Motor Sports IMCA Modified feature wins in as many nights resulted in another first for Ricky Thornton Jr.

Thornton swept Snowbird Classic features at Central Arizona Speedway, topping $1,000 to win events Friday and Saturday and then taking the $2,000 checkers on Sunday.

“We’ve had a couple weekends where we’ve won the first two nights but not the third,” said Thornton, already an eight-time winner this season and a qualifier 11 times over for the 2016 Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot. “This was definitely the best weekend we’ve ever had.”

Thornton earned the pole start for Sunday’s main event by topping the heat winners’ dash.

He led the feature from green to checkered despite the best efforts of R.C. Whitwell, who pulled alongside on several occasions but was unable to complete the pass.

Whitwell had to settle for second, with Jeff Taylor, Jason Noll and Tim Ward next across the stripe.

Clearing traffic more quickly proved the key to Thornton’s win on Friday. He beat pole starter Noll to the checkers while Whitwell ended in third.

Thornton won from the inside row six starting spot on Saturday.

“The car was good enough that I could pretty much go wherever I wanted to pass,” said Thornton, who was able to pull away from Mike Jergens and Whitwell.

Fifth-place finishers Ward and Anthony Roth advanced 12 positions on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Modified entries topped 40 all three nights of the fourth annual special.

The Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMod division made its debut at Casa Grande during the Snowbird, with feature wins going to Eric Winemiller, Trevor Miller and Cory Hemphill.

Feb. 19 Feature Results

Modifieds – 1. Ricky Thornton Jr.; 2. Jason Noll; 3. R.W. Whitwell; 4. Hunter Marriott; 5. Tim Ward; 6. Marlyn Seidler; 7. Brian Schultz; 8. Don Earven; 9. Mike Jergens; 10. Anthony Roth; 11. Chaz Baca; 12. Tyler Mecl; 13. Shawn Strand; 14. Troy Heupel; 15. Scott Sluka; 16. Spencer Wilson; 17. Mike Wedelstadt; 18. Jeremy Thornton; 19. Mark Harrison; 20. Ryan Wolla; 21. Jacob Pace; 22. Jason Wolla; 23. Lance Mari; 24. Jeff Taylor; 25. Ryan Gaylord.

Northern SportMods – 1. Eric Winemiller; 2. Cory Hemphill; 3. Chris Toth; 4. Ray Czumaj; 5. Allen Kelly; 6. Dennis Gates; 7. Terry Bahr; 8. Erik Shaw; 9. Bill Miller; 10. Brandyn Johnson; 11. Mike Goodwin; 12. Zach Tate; 13. Jason George; 14. Ty Weidner; 15. Dale Irby; 16. Tommy Thompson; 17. Virgil McArthur; 18. Adam Echter; 19. Miles Morris; 20. Brady Bjella.

Feb. 20 Feature Results

Modifieds – 1. Ricky Thornton Jr.; 2. Jergens; 3. Whitwell; 4. Gaylord; 5. Roth; 6. Noll; 7. Baca; 8. Jason Wolla; 9. Taylor; 10. Ward; 11. Seidler; 12. Strand; 13. Wilson; 14. Mari; 15. Zane DeVilbiss; 16. Dan Aune; 17. Wedelstadt; 18. Mike Tanner; 19. Sluka; 20. Kelsie Foley; 21. Mecl; 22. Marriott; 23. Jeremy Thornton; 24. Harrison; 25. Schultz.

Northern SportMods – 1. Trevor Miller; 2. George; 3. Kelly; 4. Morris; 5. Toth; 6. Bjella; 7. Echter; 8. Crystal Hemphill; 9. Bahr; 10. Gates; 11. Tate; 12. Weidner; 13. Shaw; 14. Winemiller; 15. Goodwin; 16. Irby; 17. Czumaj; 18. Johnson.

Feb. 21 Feature Results

Modifieds – 1. Ricky Thornton Jr.; 2. Whitwell; 3. Taylor; 4. Noll; 5. Ward; 6. Marriott; 7. Roth; 8. Wilson; 9. Gaylord; 10. Baca; 11. Jason Wolla; 12. Jergens; 13. Mecl; 14. Mike Strobl; 15. Brent Schlafman; 16. Brent Schlafman; 17. Brad Whitfield; 18. DeVilbiss; 19. Russell Allen; 20. Scott Francoeur; 21. Mari; 22. Robert Kettner; 23. Schultz; 24. Tanner.

Northern SportMods – 1. Cory Hemphill; 2. George; 3. Winemiller; 4. Toth; 5. Cody Miller; 6. Bjella; 7. Gates; 8. Shaw; 9. Czumal; 10. Kyle Smith; 11. Bahr; 12. Johnson.