Dirt Track at Charlotte
Davenport doubly quick in time trials at Charlotte
By Kevin KovacWorld of Outlaws Late Model Series
CONCORD, N.C. (Nov. 4) — Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., was perfect Thursday night, sweeping fast-time honors in two rounds of time trials that kicked off the fourth annual Lowes Foods World of Outlaws World Finals Presented by Bimbo Bakeries and Tom’s Snacks at the Dirt Track at Charlotte. | Complete World Finals coverage
A talent-laden field of 76 dirt Late Models jammed the pit area for the World of Outlaws Late Model Series event, which is part of a blockbuster season-ending tripleheader at the 4/10-mile oval. The program also attracted 56 machines for the companion World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series meet and 52 entries for the Super DIRTcar Series big-block action.
Davenport, who turned 27 on Oct. 31, was spectacular in becoming the second driver to emerge with the quickest time in both rounds of qualifying, duplicating the feat of Vienna, W.Va.’s Steve Shaver in 2007. He ripped off consecutive laps of 15.178 seconds and 15.130 seconds during the single session of WoO qualifying.
With weather concerns prevailing after a wet overnight and morning in the Charlotte area, WoO and track officials decided to condense the traditional pair of World Finals Late Model qualifying legs into a single session. Drivers turned two laps — the first used to line up Friday night’s heat race, the second to align Saturday evening’s heats.
A 50-lap feature paying $10,000 to win will top the WoO LMS agenda each evening.
Davenport, who has never won a WoO event, will start from his Barry Wright Race Cars house car from the pole position in the first 10-lap heat race on both Friday and Saturday night. He will be seeking to erase memories of his last visit to Charlotte Oct. 13, when he was forced to relinquish his pole starting spot in the World of Outlaws Late Model Showdown because an incorrect rear quarter-panel height measurement during pre-race inspection prompted officials to penalize him to the rear of the field.
Davenport was the only driver to secure two pole starting spots in World Finals heat races. Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y., Gregg Satterlee of Rochester Mills, Pa., Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., and Dan Schlieper of Sullivan, Wis., earned pole slots for Friday prelims, while NASCAR veteran Ken Schrader of Concord, N.C., Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., Rick Eckert of York, Pa., Tommy Kerr of Maryville, Tenn., and John Blankenship of Williamson, W.Va., will start from the pole in Saturday heats.
Defending WoO LMS champion Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., who enters the World Finals leading the national tour’s points standings by 22 points over 2008 titlist Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., timed 15th fastest in Friday’s qualifying round and 19th fastest in Saturday’s session. Richards got an early upper hand on Lanigan, who managed only the 48th and 42nd fastest laps during Thursday’s qualifying rounds and will have to work his way forward in both of his heats.
The World Finals continue on Friday and Saturday, with gates opening at 3 p.m. and hot laps scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. each night. Racing will immediately follow the completion of practice sessions.
First round qualifying
76. Larry Wight (99), Phoenix, N.Y., no time