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3 Drivers To Watch For In The Southwest

Greetings Dirt Nation! I’ve highlighted 3 drivers  from the Southwest to keep your eyes on in 2016.
Ricky Thornton Jr in the 2015 Desert Classic

Ricky Thornton Jr.

Ricky Thornton Jr is one of the best IMCA Modified drivers in the country. At age 25, he’s done more than most have done in their entire racing career. Up until this year, his domination had remained primarily at a local or regional level, in Arizona. However, 2015 saw RT’s talent extend to many areas of the country, including the upper Midwest. Ricky took his open-trailer Modified north and won the 2015 Dakota Mod Tour! That’s right, in an era of huge double-stack rigs, the 20RT still travels around in and old school open-trailer! What’s even more refreshing, he and his family are as humble as anyone in the pits. 

It doesn’t take long, when speaking with his parents or wife, Savannah, to know they appreciate the fans as much as anyone. They’ve always been generous with their time and express appreciation to their fans. Ricky’s talent extends beyond the IMCA Modified, as he won several full-bodied stock car features this year. He’s also given competitors a handful, even when competing in a Dirt Late Model. He truly has a “race whatever, wherever, whenever” attitude and he is always competitive! Like many young, up and coming drivers, his only limitation is financial-related. It would be very interesting to see him land a well-funded ride, whether it be a Modified or Late Model, as the sky would be the limit. A little more active on FaceBook, I suggest giving his racing page a “like” and keeping up with his 2016 racing season!

Driver: Ricky Thornton Jr
Age: 25
Hometown: Chandler, Arizona
Twitter: @RThornton20RT

Ricky Thornton Jr won the 2015 Desert Classic at Canyon Speedway – Peoria, Arizona

2015 Stats & Accomplishments:
88 Starts
47 Wins (42 in IMCA Modified)
2015 Dakota Mod Tour Champion
2015 Desert Classic Champion
2015 Fall Nationals Preliminary Night Winner
3rd place in 2015 IMCA Supernationals 
2015 “Southwest Modified” Champion, competing weekly at Arizona Speedway in San Tan Valley, Arizona and at Central Arizona Speedway in Casa Grande, Arizona

Ricky Thornton Jr finished 3rd in the 2015 Desert Thunder Nationals – Casa Grande, Arizona

RC Whitwell won the 2015 MLRA ROTY – Photo Credit: MLRA

RC Whitwell

RC Whitwell is arguably one of the best drivers to have ever competed on the Dirt Tracks in Arizona. You know that if he is entered in a race in the Southwest, he will be one of the drivers to beat. 2015 saw RC expand his talent beyond his Arizona roots, as he competed primarily in the Midwest. RC spent the majority of his season strapping-in a Dirt Late Model on the weekends, as he competed in the full 2015 Lucas Oil MLRA Series.

Not only claiming this year’s Rookie of the Year award, RC also won the Larry Phillips Memorial at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri.
He also competed in many Late Model races in Nebraska, being crowned this year’s NASCAR state champion there and claiming wins in Greewnwood and Albion. RC’s 2015 season closed with several big IMCA Modified wins in the Southwest, proving that he can still get it done without fenders. RC proved his Dirt Track racing talent, competing at many new tracks in 2015 and running well. His future looks very bright, as he will look to add to his experience and return to tracks in the Midwest for the 2nd or 3rd time in his career! Slightly more active on Twitter, give RC a “follow” and keep up with his 2016 racing season!

RC Whitwell won a feature in the 2014 Wild West Shootout – Tucson, Arizona

Driver: RC Whitwell

Age: 30
Hometown: Tucson, Arizona

Twitter: @rcwhitwell

2015 Stats & Accomplishments:
78 Total Starts (56 in Late Model, 22 IMCA Modified)
11 Total Wins (3 Late Model, 8 Modified)
2015 MLRA Rookie Of The Year & 4th Place Overall Point Standings
2015 Larry Phillips Memorial Champion at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri
2015 NASCAR Nebraska State Rookie Of The Year
2015 Desert Thunder Nationals Champion
2015 Turkey Classic Champion
3rd Place (for the 2nd consecutive year) in the 2015 Duel At The Desert in Las Vegas, Nevada

RC Whitwell won the 2015 Desert Thunder Nationals – Casa Grande, Arizona


Bob Ream Jr.

“The Bullet” Bob Ream Jr is one of the most experienced Sprint Car drivers in the Southwest. His career started at the early age of 20 and he has been competing regularly in Winged and Non-Winged Sprint Cars, on both Dirt and asphalt. The past few seasons have seen him focus primarily on Winged Sprint Car competition, completing the full Lucas Oil ASCS Southwest Series schedule (360 cubic-inch engines). Since focusing primarily on Winged Sprint Car racing, his improvement has been vast and noticeable. 2015 was one of his best seasons racing a Winged Sprint, as he won 3 times and only finished out of the top-10 on four occasions. 

The ASCS Southwest Series has only seen one champion in its existence: Las Cruces, New Mexico’s Rick Ziehl. However, the 2015 championship battle was one of the closest in series history, as “The Bullet” finished 2nd in points, only 26 markers behind Ziehl. Bob will look to build upon the momentum he gained in 2015 and will likely contend for the ASCS Southwest Series championship next year. Active on Twitter, give “The Bullet” a follow and keep up with his 2016 racing season!

Driver: “The Bullet” Bob Ream Jr
Age: 44
Hometown: Glendale, Arizona

Twitter: @bullet8

Bob Ream Jr and crew at Arizona Speedway – Photo Credit: Rick Hunt

2015 Stats & Accomplishments:
18 Starts in the ASCS Southwest Series
3 Wins
7 Top-5 Finishes
14 Top-10 Finishes
2nd Place in Overall ASCS Southwest Series Points Standings

Bob Ream Jr in the pits at Arizona Speedway – Photo Credit: Rick Hunt



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