If there is one thing that Jonathan Davenport has demonstrated in his years of racing, it's that he's always looking for a place to race. He's a true racer’s racer, if you will. But, “Superman” always returns to his “Fortress of Solitude” from time to time, in this case his home in Pelzer, South Carolina.
But, as a national competitor with a focus on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, the chance to race close to home doesn’t come along too often. Luckily, this is one of those weekends when the schedules have aligned.
Even after its postponement from February 24 to this coming Sunday, March 3, Cherokee Speedway’s March Madness, featuring the Southern All-Stars Dirt Racing Series is still an open option for Davenport. Being just over an hour from Pelzer to Gaffney, South Carolina, “Superman” isn’t passing up the opportunity to race in his own backyard.
“This is just about as close as I’ll race to home so it’s nice to be able to have my family and friends there. And this has always been a big race, so it will be fun to race it,” Davenport told Speed51.com.
Having the reputation of being “The Place Your Mama Warned You About” due to its intense action and speed, Cherokee is, according to Davenport, one of the more unique dirt tracks to race in the land. It's the perfect tool for keeping a driver’s skills sharp across the board.
“The dirt is different than a lot of places we race. Between that and the shape of the track, it races like a bigger track than it actually is.”
While March Madness is a great chance to just race without concerning himself with going for his third Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series championship, that doesn’t mean that the weekend be a valuable tool to learn something that can be used to defend his Lucas crown.
“We are running for a championship on the Lucas Oil Tour once again, so any chance to get laps at a track that is on the schedule helps (LOLMDS race is scheduled for June 14 at Cherokee Speedway - for more info please visit http://lucasdirt.com). We are able to build a notebook with things that work and don’t work on the race car for that track before we go back with points on the line.”
Naturally, Davenport has won at Cherokee in the past, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the fast track tends to fit into his style of racing.
“I think it does. Tire conservation can be a big part of winning the race and being in so many races there has helped me learn to be able to do that all across the country. Like I said, it races like a bigger track so I tend to be more comfortable at the bigger places.”
Davenport’s home state fans are expected to pack the stands this coming Sunday at Cherokee Speedway, but “Superman” fans from all around the globe can see him and the Southern All-Star field go toe-to-toe on Speed51’s live pay-per-view broadcast.
For just $24.99, you can watch a number of the best Dirt Late Model drivers in the country take on “The Place Your Mama Warned You About." Speed51 will go live at 2:30 p.m. ET for qualifying and will resume streaming racing action at approximately 6 p.m. ET.
To order your March Madness live video ticket, click here.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor - Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Heath Lawson