There’s little questioning the commitment of a championship racer, regardless of their preferred vehicle of choice. For Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion Jonathan Davenport, that commitment has also carried over to the virtual world.
Earlier this week, Lucas Oil Racing announced it would expand its presence into eSports, including series for the Lucas Oil Late Models and the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series. The Dirt Late Model series’ reigning and three-time champion did not have a “rig” to compete in the series, but that was going to change quickly.
However, there wasn’t going to be enough time for the rig to get to his home in time for this weekend’s racing at the virtual Knoxville Raceway. So, the driver known as “Superman” and his brother loaded into his truck, embarking on a 26-plus hour round-trip to Oklahoma.
“Me and my brother, Tony, have quarantined ourselves in the cab of this Chevy for the next 26 or 27 hours,” said Davenport in a video shared on Twitter by Lucas Oil eSports. “We are headed to Oklahoma to see my man Chad Wheeler. We are going to pick up one of these WR1 sim rigs to debut with Lucas Oil eSports.”
The original plan was to quickly get back home and install the setup in time to compete in Friday’s eSports event at the virtual replica of the famed Iowa dirt track. However, an update on Thursday revealed a new plan.
With the Jerry Reed classic “East Bound and Down” from Smokey And The Bandit audibly playing in the background, Davenport announced he was rerouting to Batesville, Arkansas to compete in Thursday’s preliminary race with Lucas Oil eSports.
“We’re eastbound. We’ve decided to enter our Nutrien AgSolutions/Spartan Mower/ASC Warranty Lucas Oil eSport racing car in the prelim night at Knoxville tonight. We’re stopping in Batesville, Arkansas and getting a few practice laps before the big show tonight.”
In both videos, Davenport urged fans to tune in and enjoy the racing as a distraction from the real world and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Check us out. It’ll be fun. It’ll be something to do. Hopefully we’ll make it back, make a few laps and get some practice laps in before we start the race. It’ll be a long trip. We’ll see what we’ve got.”
As for his newly acquired WR1 Sim Chassis? Let’s say Davenport has more confidence in the equipment than its operator on short notice.
“Look at that pretty blue thing in the back,” said Davenport, turning his camera towards the rig in the back of his truck. “Woo! I bet it’s faster than I am.”
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Lucas Oil eSports Twitter