BRITT, Iowa – At halfway, Ricky Thornton Jr. had to be wondering if fuel issues were going to resurface and knock him out of the running.
But at the end of Hancock County Speedway’s 25th annual IMT Transport Night of 1,000 Stars feature for IMCA Modifieds Thursday night, Thornton was standing in victory lane with another tall trophy and a check for $4,500.
Thornton caught Benji LaCrosse for the front spot just five laps before the mandatory front stretch pitstop on lap 25. He maneuvered through traffic as the second half of the 50-lapper ran caution free, beating Tom Berry Jr. to the finish line by two-plus seconds.
“Winning tonight was huge,” said Thornton, already on the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot and looking forward to Night of 10,000 Stars and Bob Shryock Memorial All Stars events at Britt. “When you run good tonight, it helps set the tone for the rest of the week.”
2011 race winner LaCrosse started third, had Thornton right behind for a couple early restarts and brought him along into lapped traffic the 15th time around the track.
Thornton darted inside to take the lead away on lap 20 and was still up front when the third and final caution of the night came out on lap 23.
Three or four turns of a wrench and 22 gallons of fuel in the cell solved the issues that concerned him at mid-race. The 12th starting Berry caught LaCrosse for second with nine laps to go but couldn’t deny Thornton his 24th feature win of the season as well.
LaCrosse, Ethan Dotson and 14th starting Jake O’Neil rounded out the top five.
“There were a lot of good cars here tonight. Benji was really good but I was able to move around in traffic. I think that’s going to be crucial the next two nights,” Thornton said.
Ricky Thornton Jr., Tom Berry Jr., Benji LaCrosse, Ethan Dotson, Jake O’Neil, Cayden Carter, Kyle Brown, Cody Laney, Nick Meyer, Mike Mullen, Ryan Ruter, Tim Ward, Kelly Shryock, Jeff Larson, Mike Mashl, Jeremy Mills, Kody Scholpp, Mark Noble, Aaron Benson, Troy Swearingen, Kollin Hibdon, J.J. Wise, Clint Wendel, Brian Mullen, David Brown, Cody Knecht, Ben Kraus, Richie Gustin, Austin Wolf, Al Hejna.