DIRTRACKR Daily Podcast - Episode Transcript

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Did you notice who was missing? | Daily 7-9-2024

Updates today on the Ricky Thornton Jr., SSI split, including what this means for the Lucas championship fight, plus we'll jump back to a few things from the weekend and more. Let's go!

It's Tuesday, July 9th, I'm Justin Fiedler. This is DIRTRACKR Daily presented by Kubota Genuine Parts.

As expected last night at Lincoln Speedway for the FloRacing Night in America show, Ricky Thornton Jr. was indeed in attendance. He drove Steve Sheppard's 5S machine for the night, which was announced during the afternoon on Monday. Things started slow with RTJ only 20th of 22 cars in qualifying, and he finished seventh of seven in heat number two. He and that team made some good adjustments though come feature time, and he was able to to hard charge his way from 20th on the grid to seventh at the end. The appearance kept RTJ in the mix for the Flo series championship, where he sits third after two races. Out front, Jason Feger led early, and then it was all Bobby Pierce to the end. Career Flo series win number six for Pierce, and another nice payday following the Gopher 50 win on Saturday at Deer Creek. Brandon Sheppard finished second and Jason Feger third. The Flo series returns later this month, with a July 24th stop at Fairbury. That leads into the Prairie Dirt Classic weekend for the World of Outlaws.

Jumping back to Ricky Thornton Jr. and the SSI Motorsports split, following last night's action, we don't have any clarity on where RTJ could appear next. We are headed into a very busy stretch too for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series with eight races in ten days coming up. That includes 34, Tri-City, and Wheatland this coming weekend. Then Eagle next Monday, Shelby County Tuesday, and then into the Silver Dollar Nationals at Huset's the following Thursday, Friday and Saturday. At the moment, Thornton has a 235 point lead over Jonathan Davenport in the standings, and a nearly 700 point cushion to Mike Marlar in fifth for that final Lucas chase spot. With so much racing coming up very quickly, he doesn't have long to figure out a next ride. Even if it's a temporary deal and he wasn't making features, it would buy him some time. Given the 50 points that every driver receives with Lucas for just showing up, and 25 points for non-transfer in a B, RTJ wouldn't fall out of the top four for at least four races. And that would be given that Marlar won those four races and maximized his points at 250 per night. So it would likely be even more than four races given the worst case scenario for Thornton. I would imagine though that a guy like him will have some options though, and likely some decent options going forward. We'll obviously kee you posted here as things break.

As for the future for SSI, and the now open seat left by RTJ's departure, nothing has been revealed as of yet. The team did not appear last night at Lincoln, and there was another curious, or maybe not so curious absence last night as well. No Hudson O'Neal at Lincoln, even though the race was originally on his schedule at hudsononeal.com. As of today, that race has been quietly removed from that schedule. If O'Neal is ultimately the guy for SSI, not racing last night would give that team and driver a few days this week to get things squared away before the Lucas show at 34 on Thursday. That would include swapping in O'Neal's seats, and potentially some fresh graphics on that car. As others have talked about and we mentioned yesterday, SSI team owner Todd Burns has been helping out O'Neal this season since the Rocket departure with engines and a truck and trailer. Anything is certainly possible, but based on conversations and chatter, I'd be surprised if Burns hired anyone else. Huddy has drifted back to sixth in the Lucas standings since leaving Rocket, and is currently 125 points out of that final chase spot. He has yet to lead laps in Lucas competition since moving to a Longhorn chassis, but has been finding some consistency as of late. Three top nine finishes at Lernerville, and 10th at Muskingum County on Saturday. He's also won away from Lucas, including victories in his own car and with Kevin Rumley. If crew chief Anthony Burroughs does stay with SSI, he and O'Neal could be a potent combination and a factor for the Chase with still some time before that final cutoff. Plenty of moving pieces though still to figure out over the next several days. Stay tuned.

Getting back to a few notable things from this past weekend that I didn't get to on the Monday show. Anthony Macri did take down the PA Speedweek championship. After that initial bad night at Williams Grove to start the week, Macri never again finished off the podium. That included three wins and the big cash at the second Grove race. Danny Dietrich was very solid all week, including winning the finale at Selinsgrove, but it just wasn't enough to keep up with Macri. That's two PA Speedweek titles in row for the Concrete Kid. The only other drivers to win during this season's Speedweek were Logan Wagner and Logan Schuchart.

With the Summer Nationals, Tanner English won the week four championship, and the fifth and final week of the Hell Tour is this week. Tonight's race at Shadyhill is rained out, so week five will start tomorrow at Hartford, with Butler, Crystal, Oakshade, and Wayne County still to come.

In Minnesota at Fairmont on Sunday, we did have a few World of Outlaws teams hit the XR Super Series show after Deer Creek. Ryan Gustin the winner over Brent Larson. Bobby Pierce there as well, but he DNF'd after some mechanical issues. I was informed as well, that the XR Super Series championship will be determined by a driver's best 10 finishes, so those drivers that have missed races already, or will in the future, will still be in the thick of that fight. XR is back July 21st at Clay Count.

Both weekend USAC sprint car wins at Lincoln Park went to Logan Seavey. He's now three straight going back to Macon. Indiana Sprint Week is next on the schedule towards the end of the month, and when things kick back off again, Seavey will take a 62 point lead over Brady Bacon back to Putnamville. CJ Leary still in the mix as well, while Daison Pursley has lost some ground in fourth.

Starting tonight, the USAC midgets are in the midwest for four shows for Mid-America Midget Week. Tonight at Red Dirt, tomorrow at Mitchell County, and Friday and Saturday at Jefferson County. Through eight races, Daison Pursley leads the midget championship over Cannon McIntosh and Seavey. If you are keeping up with the odds and betting, Pursley the favorite tonight at Red Dirt at +250. You can watch racing live tonight on Flo.

Elsewhere tonight, the Super DIRTcar Series is back in action at Thunder Mountain Speedway. Mat Williamson has won three of the last four series races and has taken control in the standings over Matt Sheppard and Anthony Perrego. Tonight's show honors Dale Planck, and is 77 laps for $7700 to win. DIRTcar sportsman are also on the card, and you can watch this one on DIRTVision if you aren't headed to the track.

Besides the races I've already mentioned, there are other options on the streaming services today, so make sure to hit up dirtrackr.com/watchtonight. That's updated every single day with the schedule, and we even try and throw in when races get cancelled. That's a good daily stop on your trips around the internet.

Well it good for there today. Hope you guys have a great Tuesday out there, we'll see you back here tomorrow!