Race Weekend Central

This Day in Dirt: Ricky Thornton Jr. Rides Brownstown Train to Snoozer Win

Dirt Racing’s Winning Moment: Ricky Thornton Jr. wired Wednesday night’s Flo Racing Night in America feature at Brownstown Speedway in Indiana (April 19), holding off Mike Marlar early and then capitalizing on a rubbered-down track that allowed for no passing for the entire second half.


Dirt Racing’s Dramatic Moment(s): Cannon McIntosh used a perfectly timed diamond move through turns 3 and 4 inside of five laps to go to steal the lead and eventual race win from Tylen Trammell at Millbridge Speedway in their headline wingless micro sprint division.

NASCAR Cup Series regular Daniel Suarez scored his first checkered flag of 2023 on the evening, winning the second heat in the winged micro division.

What Dirt Racing Fans’ll Be Group Chatting About This Morning

Brownstown Speedway may be the “House that James Essex built,” but call a spade a spade. Wednesday’s racing surface was an abject failure. Yes, the heat races were highly competitive and entertaining. But the feature literally could have been run on train tracks as single-file as it was. 

Which is worse, a really bad race or no racing at all? It’s a question a lot of folks that tuned into Brownstown this Wednesday night are going to end up wrestling with this weekend, as weather forecasts have laid waste to the weekend’s racing schedule. Numerous national tours, including the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and World of Outlaws have already canceled their weekend race dates, with dozens of other tracks facing a bitter cold and/or wet forecast this coming weekend. 

Summer can’t get here soon enough.

One positive that dirt racing has seen over the last 48 hours is the construction of multiple improved video screens at several racetracks. Eldora Speedway last night was reported by Flo Racing to have a larger screen coming in time for the Dream later this summer, while Lernerville Speedway in Pennsylvania has also announced plans for an infield video board.

$2,000-to-win for Sprints & Lates headline 2023 Purse Increases, #1 Cochran Automotive Jumbotron now lights and fills the sky!

Posted by Lernerville Speedway on Tuesday, April 18, 2023

This technology is not yet feasible to expect at all dirt tracks, but this is a worthwhile investment, not window dressing. Providing race fans with the ability to see instant replays is an immediate enhancement of the at-track experience and further is a boon for racetracks, as the value of grandstand seating that can’t see the backstretch or the distant corners of the track become more practical for race fans at major events. 

Speaking of technology, there is 100% a way for this to be done, and it would be a ton of fun to track while watching a race. But displaying actual viewer counts is a level of transparency few racing entities of any kind at any level of motorsports would ever allow for.

Dirt Racing’s Hero of the Day

Tyler Nicely is a powerhouse driver in the DIRTcar modified ranks, so it was no surprise to see him win the support class feature at Brownstown Wednesday. But the victory was significant for two reasons. One, Nicely scored the W after losing his grandmother earlier in the morning.

And two, with the win, Nicely became the first driver to deprive Kyle Larson of a win in modified competition (Larson won his heat and feature in his modified debut at Eldora Tuesday, then won his heat race Wednesday).

Dirt Racing’s Victims of the Night

The most spectacular incident of Wednesday evening came at the tiny Millbridge Speedway, with a multi-car incident causing a red flag and requiring fence repair during the first micro heat race.

All drivers involved were uninjured, with Austin Barnhill (pictured on his tail tank) actually winning the B-main later in the evening.

Numbers Game


Number of dirt tracks that ran an oval track program in the U.S. Wednesday night.


The nation’s top car count Wednesday night, at Shellhammer’s Dirt Track in Pennsylvania.


The nation’s top purse Wednesday night, paid to the the late model winner at Brownstown (Thornton)

Up Next: Frontstretch will be back Friday morning (April 20) with coverage of the World of Outlaws late models at 411 Motor Speedway in Tennessee, as well as the opening night of the USMTS tour’s weekend residency at 81 Speedway in Kansas. Coverage can be found on DirtVision and Racin’ Dirt, respectively.

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