PEORIA, Ariz. — Former Arizona resident Ricky Thornton Jr. left his home in Adel, Iowa, on Wednesday, just ahead of some extremely cold weather to hit the Hawkeye state.
Enjoying a “wind chill” approximately 100 degrees higher than Adel’s frigid air, Thornton is $1,000 “warmer” following his IMCA modified victory Saturday at Canyon Speedway Park in the track’s season opener.
Four IMCA divisions plus dwarf cars made up the 84-car field for the first of four Winter Challenge events at the track located at the Northwest edge of the Phoenix metropolitan area. Two weekends of Saturday and Sunday afternoon racing will comprise the long running early season Canyon events.
Thornton started eighth but took only one lap to race into third then took the lead on a restart, using outside passes for both gains. Once in the lead, Thornton established a safe margin, but eight yellows led to multiple restarts.
Thornton was up to the test each time and won over early leader Clint Reichenback and Jason Noll. The second two finishers dueled for the runner-up spot for the last 20 laps. Reichenback prevailed for second, Noll was thirrd, with Zachary Madrid and Guy Norton completing the top five.
Sport mod racing saw Rex Higgins earn the $750 win and a non-stop stock car main put $500 into the pocket of George Fronsman.