Jonathan Davenport Switches Teams And Rolls Into Victory Lane
Davenport piloted the house car of the chassis manufacturer through the first part of this season. What started out as a week of uncertainty leading up to the North/South 100 at Florence Speedway in Union, KY, which starts on Thursday, ended with Davenport in Victory Lane.
Davenport moved into the G.R. Smith's XR1 Rocket / Cornett car this past weekend and planned on running two unsanctioned races: Saturday night at Elkins Raceway in Kerens, WV, and Sunday night at Midway Speedway in Crooksville, Ohio.
The Fast 49 driver made his debut with his Rocket chassis in style as he piloted it to the lead of the second heat. That lined him up on the front row next to pole-sitter Russell Erwin. Mason Zeigler won his heat to start third in the race.
Davenport passed Erwin early for the lead and maintained the advantage for the win. Shane Hitt edged Zeigler to grab the last podium finish.
The Midway race ended up being rained out, so Davenport and his team hustled to get back in the hauler and drive 212 miles to Dogs Hollow Speedway in Strongstown, PA.
Since he arrived after the heats were underway, Davenport was forced to start his car at the back of the B-Main. His only hope of making it to the A was if he passed nearly an entire pack of cars and finished in one of the top three spots. Davenport made the A-Main by advancing to third.
This put the driver to the back of the field to start the feture with 20 cars ahead of him.
Davenport has been struggling to win recently. By this point of the season last year, he had 15 wins under his belt on his way to 20 for the season. Going into this weekend, he only had one win since January. His last win came in April when he crossed under the checkers first during a Fastrak series event at Virginia Motor Speedway in Jamaica, VA, and finished fourth in an Ultimate Late Model event that same night.
It was clear something had to change.
While immediate success does not always predict long-term success, this move to a new car with a different team and a new chassis has certainly rejuvenated Davenport. The real test will come this week in the North/South 100. If he can challenge for the win in a packed field of Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series competitors, many more questions will be answered.