Thornton is fastest at Knoxville for another IMCA Arnold Motor Supply Dirt Knights Tour win

Ricky Thornton Jr. made it three straight Arnold Motor Supply Dirt Knights Tour wins Thursday night, collecting the $2,000 checkers at Knoxville Raceway. (Photo by Jim Zimmerline)

KNOXVILLE, Iowa (July 19) – Ricky Thornton Jr. added another career highlight-type IMCA Modified feature win to a resume that’s already full of them Thursday night.

Thornton led start to finish of the Arnold Motor Supply Dirt Knights Tour main event at Knoxville Raceway, earning $2,000 for his series record third straight victory.

“This win is huge,” the Arizona transplant said. “Growing up, we all watched the Knoxville Nationals and to win in only my third race here is just great.”

Thornton had gotten caught in a wreck while running near the front in last year’s tour event at Knoxville. Traffic wasn’t an issue in Thursday’s Dynamic Drivelines Dirt Duel as Thornton took charge from outside the front row. Cayden Carter was close behind but a caution with six circuits left in the 25-lapper cleared the track ahead of the leader.

Carter, Richie Gustin, Jacob Murray and 2017 race winner Chris Abelson rounded out the top five.

“The biggest thing was that I was able to set my own pace,” said Thornton, qualified multiple times for the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot. “I wanted to be able to save my tires and I was able to do that.”

Cory Van Zante led all 20 laps from the pole in the Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMod feature, taking the checkers ahead of Cody Olsen, defending race winner Curtis Van Der Wal, Cory Rose and Dusty Masolini.

“This place has a lot of fame and history behind it. I remember going to the Knoxville Nationals when I was a kid,” said Van Zante. “To win here is a dream come true.”

The race ran caution-free and Van Zante had put one lapped car behind him before collecting his career second feature win. His first had come earlier this season, his fifth in the class, at Marshalltown.

“The track was fastest around the bottom. You definitely had to hit your marks or somebody would take advantage,” Van Zante said. “There were a lot of good cars here tonight.”

Forty-nine Modifieds and 33 Northern SportMods vied at Knoxville.

Feature Results

Modifieds – 1. Ricky Thornton Jr., Clive; 2. Cayden Carter, Oskaloosa; 3. Richie Gustin, Gilman; 4. Jacob Murray; 5. Chris Abelson, Sioux City; 6. Hunter Marriott, Brookfield, Mo.; 7. Corey Dripps, Reinbeck; 8. Kyle Brown, Madrid; 9. Troy Cordes, Dunkerton; 10. Todd Van Eaton, Orient; 11. John Parmely, Phoenix, Arz.; 12. Matt Ryan, Davenport; 13. Al Hejna, Clear Lake; 14. Kurt Kile, Nichols; 15. Justin Kay, Wheatland; 16. Kelly Shryock, Fertile; 17. Carter VanDenBerg, Oskaloosa; 18. Shane DeMey, Denison; 19. Jason Wolla, Ray, N.D.; 20. Derrick Stewart, Ainsworth; 21. Ethan Dotson, Bakersfield, Calif.; 22. Jeremy Thornton, Casa Grande, Ariz.; 23. Brennen Chipp, Waterloo; 24. Joel Rust, Grundy Center; 25. Jeff Aikey, Cedar Falls; 26. David Brown, Kellogg.

Northern SportMods – 1. Cory Van Zante, Sully; 2. Cody Olsen, Omaha, Neb.; 3. Curtis Van Der Wal, Oskaloosa; 4. Cory Rose, Boone; 5. Dusty Masolini, Des Moines; 6. Thomas Van Dyke, Halbur; 7. Johnathon Logue, Boone; 8. Ethan Braaksma, Newton; 9. Brayton Carter, Oskaloosa; 10. Thomas Egenberger, Des Moines; 11. Colton Livezey, New Sharon; 12. Jack Housley, Des Moines; 13. Adam Shelman, Ames; 14. Frank Packer, Queensland, Ariz.; 15. Tony Olson, Cedar Rapids; 16. Hunter Longnecker, Woodward; 17. Sam Wieben, Dysart; 18. Daniel Brau, Brooklyn; 19. Tim Plummer, Norway; 20. Shane Paris, Muscatine; 21. Billy Dyer, Johnston; 22. Charlie Weber, Sigourney; 23. Scott Brau, Brooklyn; 24. Michael Carter, Marion.