Barberville, FL– Jonathan Davenport dominated the first night of Late Model competition at the 47th annual DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park by leading flag-to-flag for all 30 laps of the feature event. Davenport smiled from ear-to-ear holding his first ever Gator trophy in Victory Lane at the historic half-mile.
“You don’t know how much this gator [trophy] means to me,” said Davenport. “I’ve been wanting one of these things for so long. We’ve been close a few times but we’ve never got it done. This one here is definitely for my crew. We stayed up all night last night. We put a new body on this thing. We changed motors. We went all through the car. It was raining on us and we were soaking wet… Winning here is unbelievable. It sure is.”
Davenport, of Blairsville, GA, started on the pole for the event and never looked back. Despite two cautions, the driver of the No.49 owned by Lance Landers was never seriously challenged for the lead spot. Chris Madden of Gray Court, SC was the only driver to reach the bumper of Davenport throughout the race.
“It rubbered up so catching somebody and passing them is a different thing to do here,” said Madden. “We had a good car once we went low in one and two but I didn’t even realize it until two [laps] to go so I dove down there and I was able to carry some speed off the corner there.
“So maybe I should’ve made the charge down there a little earlier and tried to move around a little more sooner than I did,” Madden continued. “But overall, for the first night out with this team, with a new car from Barry [Wright] and a new power plant from Clements. All and all I think we’ve done a good job.”
Clanton and Madden swapped for second and third once throughout the race but the Georgia Bulldog was only able to hold on to the spot for two laps before the No. 44 Barry Wright House Car reclaimed the position for the remainder of the race.
“We are just glad to be here in sunny Florida as cold as it has been back at the house, it feels good to get down here. Mother Nature laid off tonight and gave us the night to race. Hopefully she is calmer the rest of the week and we can race five more nights. It is consistency here that matters so hopefully we get back in Victory Lane and keep it up front.”
The DIRTcar Late Models return to the track on February 13 for their second and final night of competition during the 12-day short track event before the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series takes center stage on Feb. 14-17.
Additional Race Notes:
-Mike Marlar claimed quick time during qualifying with a 16.293 lap time at the World’s Fastest Half-Mile.
-The two cautions during the feature including one on lap 6 for Chase Junghans who slowed on the track and on lap 12 for Dennis Erb, Jr. who spun in turn four and suffered right rear cosmetic damage.
-The DIRTcar Racing Modifieds completed a seven-night stretch of DIRTcar Nationals competition concluding with the crowning of the Big Gator Champion, Nick Hoffman. The entire Modified event took place before the Late Models hit the track for hot laps because of the threat of rain.
-Donny Schatz won the Sprint Car Big Gator Championship and Nick Hoffman won the Modified Big Gator Championship. Both drivers entered into Late Model competition.
-DIRTcar Press Release & Photo
Feature Results (30-Laps): 1. 49-Jonathan Davenport; 2. 44-Chris Madden; 3. 25-Shane Clanton; 4. 0-Scott Bloomquist; 5. 157-Mike Marlar; 6. 17M-Dale McDowell; 7. 16-Tyler Bruening; 8. 40B-Kyle Bronson; 9. 54-David Breazeale; 10. 7-Rick Eckert; 11. 116-Brandon Overton;12. 15-Donny Schatz; 13. 1-Brandon Sheppard; 14. 9-Devin Moran; 15. 72-Mike Norris; 16. B1-Brent Larson; 17. 2-Nick Hoffman; 18. OF1-Coleby Frye; 19. 28-Dennis Erb Jr; 20. C8-Timothy Culp; 21. 22s-Brian Shirley; 22.1star-Chub Frank; 23.31-Tyler Millwood; 24. 18c-Chase Junghans;