It took eight races, but three-time and defending Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion Jonathan Davenport scored his first win of 2020 in the series’ first-ever appearance at All-Tech Raceway in North Florida. ‘Superman’ wrestled the lead away from Devin Moran on lap 19 and was untouched through several restarts in the middle stages for the victory to close out Georgia/Florida Speedweek.
Davenport’s week of racing in the two states was eventful to say the least. He scored three top-fives while at the East Bay Winternationals, but struggled mightily in qualifying and was also involved in a freak incident with Kyle Bronson on Wednesday while up front. After finally putting it all together on Sunday night, he wanted to be sure nothing else would go bad.
“My team’s worked so hard, we’ve just had so much bad racing luck, it’s unbelievable,” Davenport said on the MAV TV broadcast. “They wanted me to cut some donuts and show out down here but this is my livelihood. My week’s been so bad I was afraid I’d blow the motor up or something or turn over, just something stupid like that.
“It’s been a tough week and it feels like we’ve been racing for a month already,” he added. “The first one’s always the hardest one to get. This is a brand-new car that we’ve never got to race or test or anything, we put it on the racetrack there at East Bay.”
The track conditions proved to be a factor once again during the A-Feature. The technical surface made getting around slower cars a challenge, giving Davenport and his fellow competitors a unique challenge.
“This place is so big and fast air would really mess you up. Even when I would catch those lapped cars, they would be out of my lane but it was like I couldn’t run wide enough in the corner,” he said. “The racing surface was so tricky but it’s a pretty cool place and I think it raced pretty good from where I was at.”
Former World of Outlaws Late Model Series champion Mike Marlar ended the race in second after starting eighth. The ‘Winfield Warrior’ also had a rough GA/FL Speedweek, using the technical racing surface to his advantage to end the week on a good note.
“The track was just so racey that I didn’t necessarily find something on the track, I just figured out a way to drive my car to make it work there,” Marlar said. “We’ve had a pretty rough week down at East Bay and I’m not going to say this is a better track, but it definitely fits me better. I’m happy that we’re here and had a good run, I felt like there was a lot of racing out there.
Former World of Outlaws champions Brandon Sheppard and Shane Clanton followed, while Jimmy Owens rounded out the top five after taking a provisional.
The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will get a month off before returning on March 20 at Atomic Speedway in Ohio.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Heath Lawson