Thornton wins Pro Stock battle at Bakersfield Speedwaybakersfield
Doug Thornton felt the pressure but never flinched during the waning laps of the Pro Stock feature Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway.
The Santa Maria driver expertly held off both Justin Crockett and Brady Bell late to win a hotly-contested, three-way battle to be the first one to the checkered flag.
“I heard them back there,” Thornton said. “I just knew I had to hit all my marks, not make any mistakes,” Thornton said.
The win, Thornton’s second of the year, extended his year-long streak of nothing but top-three finishes.
“We just put a new motor in it two days ago,” Thornton said. “We didn’t touch it all night.”
Though he couldn’t catch Thornton, Bell nipped Crockett at the finish line to take second place. Matt Mayo was fourth and David King Jr placed fifth.
The 50-lap IMCA Modified feature was not completed by press time.
The night’s four-division event was dubbed the Mike Moshier Classic in honor of the track’s former long-time announcer, who passed away from cancer in 2015.
Garrett Jernagan won the 25-lap Sport Mod feature.
Jernagan took the lead during a Lap 15 restart when Austin Kiefer drifted high up the track in Turn 2, allowing Jernagan to power past him on the inside.
From there Jernagan held a steady wheel the rest of the way to claim his first win of the year. His previous best result was a second place.
“That was awesome,” Jernagan said. “Today I had a really good feeling about everything.”
Tina Pounds finished second, .918 seconds behind Jernagan. Nick Spainhoward took third. Clint Reichenbach and Kiefer were fourth and fifth respectively.
Nicholas Johnson dominated the 20-lap American Stock main event. The young Bakersfield driver led from start to finish to earn his third win of the year.
Brandon Ratcliff was second followed by Brody Schweitzer, Gary Spiller Jr. and Candi Varni.
“It (the car) was a little tight in the center,” Johnson said. “I couldn’t get it really rotated enough. I didn’t know how far ahead I was of Brandon and Brody so I just drove it out as far as I could.”
Tyler Johnson, the division’s points-leader coming into the night, suffered a mechanical issue moments after a Lap 9 restart and had to be towed from the track. He was running in second place at the time. He later returned and finished ninth.