Ricky Thornton Jr. Dominates Opening Night of Winter Nationals at Cocopah

SOMERTON, Ariz. (January 9, 2020) – Ricky Thornton Jr. claimed the first IMCA-sanctioned event of the 2020 season on Thursday as he cruised to the IMCA Modified win at the Winter Nationals, presented by Yuma Insurance at Cocopah Speedway.

A strong contingent of 107 race teams packed the pit area at the “diamond in the desert” for the first of six nights of Winter Nationals action.

Arizona natives Thornton Jr. and Tim Ward made up the front row for the 25-lap Modified main event. Thornton Jr. grabbed the lead on the opening circuit as Ward and Jake O’Neil settled into second and third, respectively. O’Neil took the second spot on lap two and set his sights on Thornton Jr. for the lead.

At the halfway point, the leaders encountered lapped traffic, which allowed Thornton Jr. to slightly extend his advantage.

Thornton Jr., who was wheeling the Kollin Hibdon Racing No. 4820, ran the remainder of the race unchallenged as he picked up the win. Coming to the checkered, Jake O’Neil suffered a mechanical failure which allowed Jeff Taylor to finish in the runner-up spot. O’Neil coasted to the line in third, followed by 16th-place starter Tom Berry and Kollin Hibdon.

“We changed a few things after the heat race and we were really good,” said Thornton Jr. in victory lane. “The track was really great, you could move around quite a bit. I was really good out in clean air, but once you get into the lapped cars it gets tough being in that dirty air, but luckily I had my crew around the track telling me what was going on with the guys behind me.”

Race-long leader Shelby Frye was under heavy pressure in the waning laps of the IMCA SportMod feature. Tyler Inman and Cody Thompson were within striking distance of Frye as the white flag flew. Thompson got a good run down the back straightaway to take second and drove his No. 25C deep into turn three. Thompson made contact with Frye, which sent her spinning in front of the field. All cars avoided her as the yellow and checkers were displayed. Frye was awarded the win, followed by Inman and Chris Toth. Michael Johnson drove from 22nd to fourth with a borrowed motor after having his motor expire during the heat race. Miles Morris rounded out the top five.

Troy Jerovetz had Steffan Carey riding right in his wheel tracks all race long during the IMCA Stock Car main event. Jerovetz, who started on the pole and led every lap, earned a hard-fought win over Carey at the checkers. The margin of victory was a mere car length.

Hometown driver Joshua Cordova won the IMCA Hobby Stock feature, which came down to a thrilling finish. Cordova had to duel with Minnesota racer Tim Gonska. Gonska, who had worked his way up from seventh, reeled in Cordova in the final laps. Gonska pulled alongside Cordova coming to the white flag, but Cordova had the preferred groove on the inside and held on for the win.

Winter Nationals racing continues at Cocopah Speedway Friday, January 10. Green flag drops at 7pm. Watch live on raceXRplus.com.

IMCA Modifieds:
A Feature (25 Laps): 1. 4820-Ricky Thornton Jr[2]; 2. 5T-Jeff Taylor[8]; 3. 0-Jake O’Neil[4]; 4. 11X-Tom Berry Jr[16]; 5. 48K-Kollin Hibdon[5]; 6. 2H-Bobby Hogge IV[10]; 7. 7S-Marlyn Seidler[15]; 8. 2-Casey Arneson[18]; 9. 96T-RC Whitwell[20]; 10. 75JR-Chaz Baca[7]; 11. 77X-Austin Kuehl[3]; 12. 33Y-Justen Yeager[19]; 13. 27-Mark Carrell[9]; 14. 19SB-Lance Mari[11]; 15. 77S-Bricen James[17]; 16. 38T-Michael Thing[12]; 17. 71-Jessie Hoskins[14]; 18. 02-Kent Rosevear[6]; 19. 7-Tyson Evans[13]; 20. 3-Bobby Horton[22]; 21. 92P-John Parmeley[24]; 22. 1R-Doug Rivera[21]; 23. 24T-Terry Hurt[23]; 24. (DNF) 4TW-Tim Ward[1]; 25. (DNF) 13-Jerry Flippo[25]

B Feature 1 (15 Laps): 1. 11X-Tom Berry Jr[3]; 2. 2-Casey Arneson[4]; 3. 96T-RC Whitwell[5]; 4. 3-Bobby Horton[6]; 5. 92P-John Parmeley[15]; 6. 2*-Don Gumke[11]; 7. 36-Bill Miller[10]; 8. 51-Dallas Caldwell[7]; 9. 5G-Gatlin Leytham[2]; 10. (DNF) 24R-Regan Tafoya[1]; 11. (DNF) 31M-Travis Mosley[8]; 12. (DNF) 55X-Marvin Mueller[13]; 13. (DNF) 75-Spencer Wilson[9]; 14. (DNF) 1-Rock Degele[14]; 15. (DNF) 7G-Gary Fraser[16]; 16. (DNS) 8J-Leslie Gill; 17. (DNS) 3Z-Randy Havlik

B Feature 2 (15 Laps): 1. 77S-Bricen James[2]; 2. 33Y-Justen Yeager[5]; 3. 1R-Doug Rivera[4]; 4. 24T-Terry Hurt[6]; 5. 13-Jerry Flippo[3]; 6. 33BY-Braxton Yeager[7]; 7. 4X-Joey Price[10]; 8. 5-Mike Magee[1]; 9. 13H-Anthony Hofbauer[14]; 10. 33F-Jardin Fuller[12]; 11. 23R-Russell Allen[16]; 12. 68-Shawn LaRocque[11]; 13. 10G-Don Geist[15]; 14. 55-Scott Sluka[17]; 15. 715-Paul Guglielmoni[8]; 16. K9-Mike Lerwill[13]; 17. 4R-Ross Statham[9]

IMCA Northern Sportmods:
A Feature (8 Laps): 1. 1S-Shelby Frye[1]; 2. 5T-Tyler Inman[3]; 3. 57CT-Chris Toth[8]; 4. 22C-Michael Johnson[22]; 5. 3-Miles Morris[4]; 6. 77B-Manny Baldiviez[9]; 7. 22K-Joey Klemish[5]; 8. 55C-Brian Carey[13]; 9. 28-David Pitt[17]; 10. 216-Camron Spangler[10]; 11. 04J-Joshua Cordova[21]; 12. 2K-Taylor Kuehl[6]; 13. 316-Brandyn Johnson[14]; 14. 144-Jimmy Davy[7]; 15. (DNF) 35-Slade Pitt[16]; 16. (DNF) 21H-Douglas Hilkemann[19]; 17. (DNF) 13-Javier Navarro[25]; 18. (DNF) 7J-Jimmy Wilson[18]; 19. (DNF) 77W-Mike Wells[23]; 20. (DNF) 8T-Ty Rogers[12]; 21. (DNF) 23-Justin Brierley[24]; 22. (DNF) 413-Tate Johnson[20]; 23. (DNF) AK47-Rex Higgins[2]; 24. (DNS) 5-Ron Schreiner; 25. (DQ) 25C-Cody Thompson[11]

IMCA Stock Cars:
A Feature (20 Laps): 1. ZERO1-Troy Jerovetz[1]; 2. 3C-Steffan Carey[7]; 3. 2H-Gene Henrie[5]; 4. 00-Andy Altenburg[10]; 5. 007-Tony Hill[4]; 6. 88X-Kevin Roberts[6]; 7. 47-Jake Smith[12]; 8. 7-Nuggett Shupe[8]; 9. (DNF) 15-Race Fisher[13]; 10. (DNF) 57-Brendon LaBatte[2]; 11. (DNF) 6-Chanse Hollatz[3]; 12. (DNF) 16-Aaron Spangler[11]; 13. (DNF) 88-Lonnie Foss[14]; 14. (DQ) 82P-JC Parmeley[9]

IMCA Hobby Stocks:
A Feature (20 Laps): 1. 04J-Joshua Cordova[3]; 2. 5G-Tim Gonska[7]; 3. 43-Brad King[10]; 4. 12K-Eric Knutson[18]; 5. 64-Jason Beshears[11]; 6. 19-Nathan Deragon[4]; 7. 98-Jason Penny[8]; 8. 33-Jason Duggins[16]; 9. 21T-Scott Tenney[6]; 10. 31-Jim Robinson[1]; 11. 8-Kenzie Olsen[9]; 12. 133-Hunter Cavanagh[13]; 13. 41-Rick Hibbard[17]; 14. 04-Francisco Cordova[2]; 15. 171-Andy Pearce[5]; 16. 32-Oscar Duarte[14]; 17. 23-David Callis[20]; 18. (DNF) 18-Jeffrey Callis[15]; 19. (DNF) 710-Brian Johnson[19]; 20. (DNF) 3-Scott Jeffery[12]

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