Thornton borrows car, tops Deery feature for second Super Nationals crown

Ricky Thornton Jr.
His convincing win in Monday’s Deery Brothers Summer Series main event made Ricky Thornton Jr. the first champion crowned at the 37th annual IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s. (Photo by Tom Macht,

BOONE, Iowa (Sept. 2) – Ricky Thornton Jr. had a three-time Super Nationals champion to thank for his second Super Nationals crown.

Piloting a car borrowed from Todd Cooney, Thornton dominated in leading the last 36 of 50 laps and won Monday’s Deery Brothers Summer Series Late Model main event, on opening night of the 37th annual IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s at Boone Speedway. 

“Todd and I have been friends for a couple years. It was 100 percent how he runs it,” Thornton said after the last of the victory lane photos were taken. “We didn’t change a thing. He has a setup just for Boone.” 

“When Ricky Thornton calls and asks to borrow your car, you don’t say no,” said Cooney, who won the last of his three Super Nationals titles in the same car, in 2017, and was almost as happy becoming a Super Nationals champion car owner. 

The $2,000 checkers came at the end of Thornton’s career-first tour start. The fast-paced feature was stopped by just a single caution, on the second circuit.

Tenth starting Justin Kay, 13th starting Tyler Bruening, Nick Marolf and Terry Neal completed the top five. 

Early leader Joe Zrostlik ended in sixth and point leader Andy Eckrich was seventh.

Thornton had started from inside the third row. He dogged Zrostlik before catching up and beating him across the stripe by less than a car length when lap 14 was scored.

He led by half a straightaway when the 20th lap was in the book and had built up an advantage of five-plus seconds over Kay when the checkers flew. 

The Modified champion at Boone in 2016, Thornton became just the fifth driver to win Super Nationals titles in different divisions.

“Not a whole lot of people have done that. It’s pretty cool,” said the Arizona transplant, who will be back in action later this week in both a Modified and a Stock Car. “Now I hope to be the first to win two Super Nationals championships the same year.” 

Winner of Monday’s $250 Sunoco Race Fuels feature qualifier drawing was Dalton Simonsen.

The Labor Day show was the 49th Deery event held at Boone and the 30th held at Super Nationals. 

Up next for the IMCA Late Model tour is the 500th event in Deery Series history, at 34 Raceway in West Burlington on Saturday, Sept. 21.

Feature results – 1. Ricky Thornton Jr., Adel; 2. Justin Kay, Wheatland; 3. Tyler Bruening, Decorah; 4. Nick Marolf, Moscow; 5. Terry Neal, Ely; 6. Joe Zrostlik, Long Grove; 7. Andy Eckrich, Oxford; 8. Jeff Aikey, Cedar Falls; 9. John Emerson Waterloo; 10. Darrel DeFrance, Marshalltown; 11. Curtis Glover, Des Moines; 12. Curt Martin, Independence; 13. Jeremiah Hurst, Dubuque; 14. Matt Ryan, Davenport; 15. Jason Hahne, Webster City; 16. Joel Callahan, Dubuque; 17. Greg Kastli, Waterloo; 18. Gary Webb, Blue Grass; 19. Dalton Simonsen, Fairfax; 20. Luke Pestka, Robins; 21. Luke Goedert, Guttenberg; 22. Blair Kraus, Gretna, Neb; 23. Cory Dumpert, York, Neb.; 24. Josh Most, Red Oak.