FRANCIS CREEK, Wis. – Ricky Thornton Jr. proved he can do it all again Thursday night, winning a third straight Clash at the Creek for IMCA Modifieds at 141 Speedway.
Thornton banked another $10,000 after making the seven-hour trip from home solo, then outrunning Terry Phillips and Mike Mullen in a fast-paced 50 lap main event.
“It’s pretty awesome. There were a lot of good cars here,” said Thornton, who worked lapped traffic as Phillips and Mullen narrowed the gap in the final circuits. “This is a crown jewel for IMCA and it always means a lot to win it.”
Phillips was runner-up for a second straight Clash.
Two-time Clash winner Mullen, Ethan Dotson and Billy Kendall were next across the stripe as drivers from different states filled the top five finishing positions; 76 Modified drivers from 11 states took to the track over the course of the June 17-18 Clash.
Already on the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot and a four-time winner in five career starts at Francis Creek, Thornton drew the pole with Mullen heading the pursuit the first eight laps. Phillips took over second at that point and tried multiple lines in his bid to catch the leader.
The last 27 laps ran green with the frontrunners in traffic the final eight circuits.
“I slowed the pace and gave myself about a two-car gap,” Thornton said. “I raced hard enough to keep the lead but not so hard I couldn’t avoid something if it happened in front of me.”
Phillips and Mullen both stayed within striking distance but neither was able to deny Thornton a third consecutive Clash crown.
Thornton was team driver, crew chief and errand boy for the midweek special after making the trip from Iowa by his lonesome.
“It helped that I didn’t tear too much stuff up. Everything I could have had done I tried to have ready before I left so I wasn’t scrambling,” he said. “It was actually a pretty easy couple of days for me as far as getting the car ready.”
Luke Lemmens swept $1,000 to win Wednesday and Thursday IMCA Sunoco Stock Car features. Jeff Schmuhl and Barry Maas topped $1,000 to win features for Karl Kustoms Northern SportMods.
Ricky Thornton Jr., Terry Phillips, Mike Mullen, Ethan Dotson, Billy Kendall III, Shawn Kilgore, Dylan Thornton, Johnny Whitman, Tim Ward, Joel Rust, Troy Cordes, Brandon Schmitt, Jake O’Neil, Ethan Braaksma, Marcus Yarie, Dave Zeitler, Tyler Stevens, Todd Dart, Benji LaCrosse, Dylan Smith, Josh Long, Jordan Grabouski, Russ Reinwald, Alex Stanford.