The month of March is known for Cinderella stories and upsets when it comes to the annual March Madness basketball tournament. But when it comes to the annual March Madness Dirt Late Model event at Cherokee Speedway, the driver that goes by the nickname of “Superman” made sure there would not be a Cinderella story Sunday afternoon.
Two-time Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion Jonathan Davenport flexed his muscles, leading flag-to-flag on the way to winning the 17th Annual March Madness for the Southern All Star Dirt Racing Series. Davenport’s win Sunday night was the fourth March Madness victory of his career.
Davenport had no shortage of speed as he was quickest in hot laps, claimed the top spot in qualifying and won his heat race. He went on to lead all 60 laps, holding off fellow heavyweights Jimmy Owens and Ross Bailes to claim the victory.
“I was just thinking when I took the checkered flag that it had been quite some time since I have won here,” Davenport said. “It wasn’t quite the best track to race on, but we just have to take them as they come.”
Davenport’s son, Blane, joined him in the celebration atop car No. 49 and held on tight to the newest trophy in the collection.
“Yeah, this part really is a tradition to us. This is what it’s all about because it’s a family sport,” Davenport said. “Blane has been with me in victory lane many times. The last time we won here, he came and jumped into my arms and it made the win that much better.”
Tire wear played a factor in the 60-lap event as several competitors pitted for left and right rear tires during the race. Davenport elected to stay on the race track while many competitors put on fresh tires. His decision was one that ultimately paid off with a trip to victory lane.
“We actually had quite a bit of tire left,” Davenport said. “I was babying it quite a bit because I knew it was going to be tricky for tires.
“I have to thank my whole team for always working hard and all of my sponsors for always being onboard with us and supporting us.”
With his fourth victory in the race, Davenport surpassed Chris Madden as the winningest driver in the March Madness event.
2018 Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series champion Ross Bailes prevailed in a battle for second with Jimmy Owens. One night after winning a World of Outlaws Late Model Series feature at Smoky Mountain Speedway, Owens completed the podium Sunday afternoon.
Michael Page, who was a late arrival at the track, and David Breazeale completed the top five.
Race fans can watch a full on-demand broadcast of Sunday’s March Madness, including qualifying, heat races and the main event, now on Speed51.com.
Photos and on-demand updates can be found by visiting Speed51’s Race Day Now coverage presented by McCallister Precision Marketing and KRC Power Steering.
-Story by: Madison Mabry, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com