Performing in the clutch is what separates a winning driver from the rest of the pack. Flexing muscle at the right time is something that true talents possess. Often luck plays a big role in winning versus losing, but being able to squeeze just enough strength out at the perfect opportunity is what separates winners from losers. Performing in the clutch doesn’t necessarily mean winning, however; it’s all about making the most from what you’ve got.
That’s why Quarter Master, providers of winning clutches & driveline components to racers from Super Speedway to the Bullring, from IRL to Rally, from NASCAR to the “Weekend Warrior,” is proud to honor a weekly “Clutch Performance of the Month” from the short track ranks of America. Each month, an esteemed panel of short track industry insiders will vote on which drivers came through in the clutch. The driver or team with the most votes will then be the “Clutch Performance of the Month.” At the end of the 2015 season, the driver or team that received the most votes throughout the season will then be the “Clutch Performer of the Year” and will be awarded a clutch kit from Quarter Master, valued at $3,500. For more on Quarter Master, visit www.quartermasterusa.com
This edition of the “Quarter Master Clutch Performance of the Month” for the month of June goes to …
Dirt Late Models
With history on the line, Jonathan Davenport turned in the most clutch performance of his career on Friday, June 19 at Cherokee Speedway (SC). After recording four straight Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series wins, Davenport made his way to the Gaffney, South Carolina-oval looking to make history as the first driver to ever win five straight LOLMDS events.
Just one night after scoring his fourth straight win at Fayetteville Motor Speedway (NC), Davenport didn’t arrive at Cherokee until 7:30 p.m. that night when hot laps were set to get underway. Those in the pit area could sense aggravation from the driver as he qualified in the 11th position.
Those in attendance may have thought that his chance at history had gone down the drain, but the driver from Blairsville, Georgia was determined.
Davenport still only found himself in the 10th position with 32 laps completed in the 50-lap event. But that’s when “Superman” put on his cape and began flying towards the front. He made a consistent charge to the front of the field over the final 18 laps before sliding under leader Chris Ferguson with five laps to go. Ferguson nearly had to come to a stop to avoid hitting the back of Davenport’s No. 6 machine, but from then on it was all Davenport as he sailed into the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series record books.
The win served as his fifth straight in the series and his ninth straight Dirt Late Model win overall.
For his clutch performance, Jonathan Davenport has been named Speed51.com’s Quarter Master Clutch Performer for the month of June.
Here are the drivers who also received votes:
Andy Jankowiak (Mods) – On the morning of June 6, Jankowiak and crew thrashed on and basically rebuilt a Sport Modified when they made a last minute decision to race at Lancaster National Speedway (NC). Spray paint, duct tape number and all, Jankowiak recorded the win at Lancaster that night.
Casey Smith (SSS) – After recording two finishes outside of the top-five, the Southern Super Series points leader rebounded in a big way by picking up the SSS win at Montgomery Motor Speedway (AL)
Wayne Helliwell, Jr. (ACT) – Helliwell survived a night full of battles to be around at the end during the American-Canadian Tour’s recent visit to White Mountain Motorsports Park (NH). He turned a night of survival into a win by making it to the front and holding off fellow championship contender Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. on a late restart.
Erik Jones (CRA) – Jones returned to his home state of Michigan for the Battle at Berlin 251 and his homecoming didn’t get off to a good start as he wrecked his primary car in practice. The No. 61 Port City Race Cars team patched together a backup car and Jones went out and won the biggest short track race in his home state.
Chris Pasteryak (VMRS) – After a 20-car invert, the former Valenti Modified Racing Series champion blistered through the pack from an 18th starting spot to win the second of two 50-lap features and score the overall event win at Lee USA Speedway (NH) on June 19.
-Text by 51 Staff