Spencer Davis kicked off his 2016 Late Model season in the best possible way Saturday night at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN). The 17-year-old rising star charged to the front of the field to win the Hunter Sand & Gravel 100 Pro Late Model race. As a result of his win, Davis took a coveted trophy guitar back to his hometown of Dawsonville, Georgia.
“I really wanted to get one of those guitars and bring it home,” said Davis. “I can play one or two acoustic songs, but it’s a trophy, it’s going to sit there and hang in my room for now.”
Davis qualified third and started the 100-lap event sixth with the invert. He quickly worked his way into the second position and inherited the lead on lap 36 when leader Cole Williams got together with a lap car to bring out the first caution. From there Davis never looked back and led the final 62 laps.
“I opened up the gap to a six second lead,” Davis told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I knew there would be lapped cars and lapped traffic was tough. With 29 cars taking the green you know you’ll have lapped cars. The lapped traffic played big on my end, I could get through traffic a little bit better than everyone else. The guys gave me a good car and overall it was a real good weekend.”
The race was a good start for Davis, who plans to run the full Pro Late Model schedule at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.
Now the 17-year-old driver, who currently leads the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East points, is preparing to climb behind the wheel of a Super Late Model for the first time this year. He enters this Friday and Saturday’s North/South Super Late Model Challenge – a combination event between the Southern Super Series and ARCA/CRA Super Series – with hopes of going back-to-back at Nashville.
“I’m happy to get back in our family-owned Super Late Model,” said Davis. “We are only running a partial Super Late Model schedule, so we are focusing on wins. It’s always kind of been my mindset to win every weekend, I’m sure as everyone else, but we’ve been working hard to get that win. We’ve been doing a lot of testing and felt this was a good first race to break it out.”
With his win last weekend, Davis might be a little ahead of the curve entering 125 laps of racing Friday and Saturday night. He feels there’s a lot he can transfer from the Pro Late Model race to the Super Late Model events this weekend.
“We’ll run the same tire, so I know the fall off on the tires and the weather is supposed to be identical, so I know what my car needs to feel like during the day and what it will do during the night,” said Davis. “It’s almost an identical the line you run too. On the Super Late Model throttle reaction is a little different, where you get back on the gas, but lines and what you need to feel is the same.”
The only challenge Davis does see entering the weekend is a strategy for the unique format of this year’s North-South Challenge. There will be two 50-lap point races on Friday night, one for the ARCA/CRA Super Series and one for the Southern Super Series. Then, the top 12 finishers in each of those races will transfer into the 75-lap feature on Saturday night.
“The format is a little different to me,” said Davis. “I know it’s a combo race, but it’s a little bit hard, it’s going to be hard as far as what you do to your car. I don’t know if you call it a 50-lap heat race or 50-lap race, but you’re going to have to make your best judgment of what you need to do for the next day, you don’t want to hurt your two tires for your 75 lapper, but need to run hard enough to be in the top 12 and advance to Saturdays race.”
Davis and the other Super Late Model drivers will hit the track Friday for practice and their respective series’ 50-lap races. Saturday, it’s the 75-lap North/South Super Late Model Challenge with racing action beginning at 5:45 p.m. The winner of the race will receive a Crosley mini jukebox to go with the Music City theme.
Fans who are unable to watch Davis in person at Fairground Speedway Nashville can tune into Speed51.com on Friday and Saturday to watch a live pay-per-view video stream of the event. Click here to order the broadcast now.
-51 Sports Press Release. Photo credit: Spencer Davis Racing