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Jonathan Davenport (Mike Campbell photo)

Davenport Claims $12,000 Atomic Prize

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — Jonathan Davenport was the driver to beat on Sunday night at Atomic Speedway as he made a clean sweep of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series program.

Davenport set the overall fastest time, won his heat race to earn the pole and topped it off by winning the Buckeye Spring 50 to earn the $12,000 top prize. 

Davenport’s second win of the season broke a streak of 10 straight Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series races that saw 10 different winners. The three-time champion earned his 76th win with the series.

Mike Marlar was the only other driver to lead laps in the main event as he held the point for laps 15 and 16 after taking over the lead from Davenport, who had led the first 13 circuits of the race.

But Marlar’s top spot was short-lived as Davenport made a daring move coming off turn two on lap 17 to retake the lead which he held to the finish.

Marlar came home in second with Devin Moran, the previous night’s winner at Brownstown coming from the 11th starting spot to finish third. Jimmy Owens, who holds the late model track record at Atomic was fourth, with Bobby Pierce completing the top five drivers.

Davenport picked a fine time to turn around his weekend after finishing 15th at Brownstown on Saturday night.

“Anytime you can set fast time, win your heat, and win the feature you know it just caps off the whole night,” Davenport said. “Mikey [Marlar], he run me pretty hard through lapped traffic and man there was one time when lapped cars got together and I had to squeeze between them and the wall; man, that was really close right there, but it was a lot of fun.”

Marlar, coming off a third-place finish at Brownstown the night before, improved one spot in the finishing order at Atomic.

“When I got the lead, when Davenport got bunched up there in traffic and slid up a little bit and I got him and when he entered down here in one I thought I could enter below the lapped car and just be half on him on exit nobody was going to go around me. I went in there and got free and I let Jonathan have enough room behind that lapped car to come back in front of me. That was a big mistake on my end, but you know it’s hard racing and it’s fun and me and him had a heck of a race.”

Moran, who picked up his first series win of the season the night before, was looking for a clean sweep of the weekend but came up short in doing so in his home state despite a valiant effort from the inside of row six.

“This place you just can’t pass a car one lap it takes a couple of laps to maneuver around someone. Charlie Vest [Atomic promoter] and them guys done a great job with the track. I thought we were going to be in trouble when they went out and watered it a little bit, but it really made a good race out of it. I just needed to qualify better tonight. We were pretty limited on tire selection tonight, so everyone was pretty much on the same stuff. I wish we could have started a little further up front. If that caution hadn’t come out in the heat and I beat Ricky [Thornton Jr.] we might have had a chance in the feature.” 

The finish:

Jonathan Davenport, Mike Marlar, Devin Moran, Jimmy Owens, Bobby Pierce, Tim McCreadie, Nick Hoffman, Ricky Thornton Jr., Max Blair, Garrett Alberson, Daulton Wilson, Spencer Hughes, Tyler Erb, Brian Shirley, Carson Ferguson, Adam Stricker, Brandon Sheppard, Tony Jackson Jr., Boom Briggs, Ross Robinson, Hudson O’Neal, Garrett Smith, R.J. Conley, Brenden Smith, Cory Lawler, Daniel Adam, Josh Rice, Drake Troutman.