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Jonathan Davenport (Heath Lawson photo)

No Top, No Problem For Davenport

LOCUST GROVE, Ark. — Jonathan Davenport continues to show why he the top ranked dirt late model driver in the country, leading all 30 laps in Friday’s preliminary feature to earn the pole position for Saturday’s 30th annual COMP Cams Topless 100 Presented by Nutrien Ag Solutions. 

The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and COMP Cams Super Dirt Series co-sanctioned race will pay $50,000 to win, a record for the event.

Spencer Hughes will start alongside Davenport on the front row of the crown jewel event by virtue of finishing second to the three-time Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series National Champion in Friday’s preliminary feature.

Hughes was just .178 seconds behind the winner at the checkers, earning his best career finish with the series. Neither Davenport nor Hughes have ever won the race which began in 1993.

Jimmy Owens, a two-time Topless 100 champion finished in third followed by Tyler Erb. The current Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series points leader and 2008 winner Tim McCreadie rounded out the top five.

Davenport took the lead at the start of the race and looked to be in total control for the first five laps until he started to encounter traffic in front of him. That would allow Hughes to close the gap and draw within two car lengths of Davenport just before the only caution of the race flew with eight laps scored.

On the restart, Davenport again pulled out to a healthy lead. Hughes was able to get within striking distance in the waning laps, but Davenport was able to hold his line and never wavered as he went on to pick the win.

“It was a very good view from where I was sitting at tonight,” said Davenport. “Who knows if it is going to be a tire game tomorrow night. This race kind of surprised us last year with how slick it got. We will have to conserve a little bit tomorrow night. Tonight, I just backed the pace way, way up. I knew I couldn’t get by Daulton [Wilson] right there unless he made a big mistake. I was hoping that Spencer and Jimmy couldn’t get by me unless I did.”

Hughes gave it his best shot at Davenport and came home in second.

“I didn’t want to see that caution. I got back to him there when he first caught lapped traffic and I felt like we might have had a shot to at least show him our nose a little bit,” Hughes said. “He did a great job tonight and we put ourselves in a good position for tomorrow night. We have been pretty good here the last couple of weeks, but we haven’t been able to put a whole night together, maybe tomorrow night we can do it.”

The finish:

Jonathan Davenport, Spencer Hughes, Jimmy Owens, Tyler Erb, Tim McCreadie, Earl Pearson Jr., Dale McDowell, Brandon Overton, Ricky Thornton Jr., Garrett Alberson, Stormy Scott, Brandon Sheppard, Jared Landers, Cade Dillard, Billy Moyer Sr., Hudson O’Neal, Mason Oberkramer, Scott Crigler, Tyler Stevens, Garrett Smith, Morgan Bagley, Daulton Wilson, Johnny Scott, Kylan Garner.