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Jonathan Davenport (49) races around Hudson O'Neal. (Jim DenHamer photo)

Davenport Breaks Through At East Bay

GIBSONTON, Fla. — Jonathan Davenport became the seventh different winner in the first 11 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series events of the season.

The three-time series champion picked up his 74th career series win during the 48th annual Wieland Winternationals presented by Lucas on Friday night at East Bay Raceway Park. 

Hudson O’Neal, the defending Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series National Champion finished in second, followed by Daulton Wilson, Garrett Alberson, and Ashton Winger.

Davenport jumped to the lead at the start of the 50-lap main event and led until he got too high in turn two, turning the lead over to Tyler Erb.

Erb then led the next 16 circuits until Davenport was able to catch back up to Erb, retaking the lead for good on lap 28 despite being challenged by the ninth place starting O’Neal who briefly pulled even with Davenport at one point in the closing laps. 

Davenport in Lucas Oil Victory for the first time this season led 34 of the 50 laps to claim the victory.

“It’s a great car all my guys give me for sure,” Davenport said. “I thought I gave it away when I messed up in one and two. We made one little shock adjustment before the feature that made this thing a bear to handle. We know not to do that no more. I just kept trying to be patient when I lost the lead, I just tried to stay in his [Tyler Erb’s] tire tracks and just know that I was probably running a little wide on the throttle than he was just trying to save my tires. When I got back to him, I thought I had a good run and at the last second, I kind of slowed up. I don’t know if went over the cushion or not, because I figured he would go right back by me on the outside there. We rubbed a little bit.”

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Jonathan Davenport (Mike Ruefer photo)

O’Neal, who was looking for his fourth series win of the young season, came home in second.

“I tried every inch of this race track trying to get by him [Davenport]. I thought it was a great race,” O’Neal said. “We raced all over it. I started to keep pace a little bit there at the end and I thought I had some hope to run that bottom and just by the end of it we had a right rear tire so hot there from running around that top that it was hard to move around and get off the cushion. Man, what a race track East Bay gave us tonight and hopefully we can put on another great show tomorrow night for all the fans.”

Wilson rounded out the podium for the third time this season.

“We didn’t want to see a caution for sure. We needed ten more laps. We had a really good car tonight. We kind of went forward and then fell back. We put on a charge there towards the end. Once we got to move around the racetrack a little bit I had a really good car like I said.”

The finish:

Jonathan Davenport, Hudson O’Neal, Daulton Wilson, Garrett Alberson, Ashton Winger, Ricky Thornton Jr., Brandon Sheppard, Clay Harris, Jimmy Owens, Dennis Erb Jr., Mike Marlar, Tim McCreadie, Drake Troutman, Brian Shirley, Devin Moran, Boom Briggs, Blair Nothdurft, Bob Gardner, Spencer Hughes, Earl Pearson Jr., Max Blair, Tony Jackson Jr., Logan Hitt, Tyler Erb, Jeff Mathews, Ross Robinson, Wil Herrington, Jensen Ford, Garrett Smith, Mark Whitener.