Thornton Champ As AZ Mod Tour Concludes


TUCSON, Ariz. — The final night of the IMCA AZ Mod Tour celebrated titles for IMCA modified driver, Ricky Thornton Jr. and IMCA Northern Sport mod’s Jake McBirnie.

Both titles were won by Iowa drivers, Thornton from Adel and McBirnie lives in Boone.

A 50-car field of modifieds ran the final race and Thornton clinched the title by taking a green flag in his heat.  For the first time, Thornton did not draw well as his front row start limits passing/finishing points and he missed the top six redraw despite winning the heat.

John Hansen led the main for seven laps before Jake O’Neil blasted the top of turn two and onto the backstretch to jump from third to first. From that point, he established a large lead and easily won.

Thornton started ninth and picked up spots until reaching second by lap 14.  He cut into O’Neil’s lead a little, but with no yellow Thornton ended his excellent tour with a second-place effort.

Hunter Marriott started 14th and finished third, Drew Armstrong was fourth and Nick O’Neil completed the top five. The track allowed much more passing than the night before as drying time allowed multi-groove racing.

The IMCA Northern sport mods had a 25-car field and just like last night, Keith Brown led just the first lap. This time it was Jake McBirnie using the top line out of turn four to race from sixth starting to the lead in two laps.

McBirnie had no issues leading the rest of the way while a tussle between Ethan Braaksma and Chase Rudolf for second went to Braaksma while Rudolf finished third ahead of Brady Bjella and Brown.

When points were computed, McBirnie and Bjella had tied for the title. McBirnie was named the champion as tie breaker is most wins and he had three. Bjella had no wins but was very consistent with top-five efforts.

The 2020 IMCA AZ Mod Tour is set for Feb. 6-15 with a detailed schedule yet to be determined.