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Waycross Motor Speedway

Notes: Bowyer enjoys Davenport's debut, win

February 12, 2012, 3:36 am
By Todd Turner
DirtonDirt.com managing editor
Jonathan Davenport (left) and Clint Bowyer (right) share a laugh in victory lane. (DirtonDirt.com)
Jonathan Davenport (left) and Clint Bowyer (right) share a laugh in victory lane. (DirtonDirt.com)

WAYCROSS, Ga. (Feb. 11) — While Clint Bowyer's NASCAR Sprint Cup season will be rolling before long, he spent Saturday enjoying a visit with his two-car Dirt Late Model team at Waycross Motor Speedway, even if temperatures dipped into the 30s on a blustery night in south Georgia. | Complete Speedweeks coverage

"I love it, that's why we're out here freezing our butts off, that's why we're all out here, right?" Bowyer asked the healthy crowd in an interview following his Jonathan Davenport's victory in the $10,000 Battle in the Swamp.

While Jared Landers was knocked from contention by a first-lap spin while battling for second, Davenport drove his Georgia Boot-sponsored No. 15 — matching Bowyer's new number with Michael Waltrip Racing — to victory in his first start for his new team.

"I'm pretty excited and proud of all of our guys. I think Jared was going to be up there in the hunt, and it got a little wild there at the first," Bowyer said. "I couldn't be happier for Georgia Boot and Jonathan Davenport, everybody, Barry Wright Race Cars. Brand new race cars for both (drivers), and engine program, Roush Yates, everybody involved in this deal, I couldn't be more happy with the way the first race turned out."

Davenport was excited about the team's quick start in victory lane, too.

"I can't say enough for my guys. We've only been together about two months. We put these cars together in the shop, working hard, all kinds of late nights. I just can't think Georgia Boot, Klotz Fuels (enough), and then, of course, Clint Bowyer for giving my this opportunity," he said. "I had a good run with (former car owner) Barry (Wright). We stayed with his car, and Barry built us some great cars to come back over here, the Roush (Yates) power was great. We're just putting all the pieces of the puzzle together, and I think we've got a great race team here."

Meshing with new crew chief Tommy Grecco and the rest of the team didn't take long, Davenport said.

"We all seemed to come together pretty quick there, you know? As far as the cars, I'm just doing the same thing I always did with 'em," he said. "Barry builds some great cars. The only really difference I had was the Roush (Yates) motors. They seem to be real good. It took a little bit of tuning to 'em to get adjusted a little bit to my balance back in the car that I had to do a little bit different things — but everything seemed to work out pretty good."

Erb posts top-three finish

Dennis Erb Jr. cut his racing teeth on smaller Illinois tracks, but the frequent traveler didn't have much trouble adjusting to the Waycross oval, formerly measured at a half-mile but down to 4/10s after turns three and four were drawn in during off-season reconfiguration.

"It's a lot different from back home, but I always enjoy coming down here and running," said Erb, who finished third in his Georgia-Florida Speedweeks opener. "It's a little different challenge and I like coming down."

Erb started fourth and quickly moved into second behind Jonathan Davenport, but he lost his chance to challenge the leader when he got too high and allowed eventual runner-up Billy Moyer past.

"He got up in that fluff there, and he got up there and got a little high," Moyer said. "It just (about) sucks you into the wall when you did that. I was probably costing myself a little time to make sure I didn't do that."

In a race of "playing follow the leader," Erb said of the one-grooved track, it cost him a runner-up finish.

"We were running there and just slipped up just enough to let him by me," he said. "Other than that, I think we definitely had second. We had a good car. We got up there with 'em a little bit, but just that one little slipup."

Third place amid the likes of Davenport and Moyer is good news for Erb as he tackles two weeks worth of racing at Tampa's East Bay Raceway Park and Volusia Speedway Park near Daytona.

"These guys, I've ran with 'em all last year through the end of the year, too," he said. "It's good to come out and start off good, and have a good finish here. We'll go on to the next one."

The little engine that could

Battle in the Swamp runner-up Billy Moyer didn't exactly bring a knife to a gunfight, but after damaging his primarily powerplant Friday at Screven Motor Speedway in Sylvania, Ga., the team dropped a subpar replacement into his No. 21. Or so they thought.

Moyer smiled when talking about how well his "little bitty, popcorn motor" performed in carrying him to a second-place finish.

"It's a good little piece, so I'm tickled to death to run the way we ran," Moyer said. "It's a little cubic inch and 5 or 6-year-old motor. To run against these guys — that guy (Davenport) that won I know has brand new everything — so we were off a little under the hood, but my man's working on it and we'll have our good stuff back here in a day or so."

Moyer pulled alongside Davenport midway through the race, but after being rebuffed, he wasn't able to mount another serious challenge running between Davenport and Erb.

"We had a little harder tires on than both them guys had, or I think most everybody had, and it just took us a while to get going," Moyer said. "There just wasn't much racetrack to do anything with."

Odds and ends

Most teams running at Waycross will likely head to Golden Isles Speedway near Brunswick, Ga., on Sunday afternoon for the $10,000-to-win Super Bowl VII. The driver with the best combined finish between the tracks receives a $2,000 bonus. ... Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., who recently added sponsorship from Baird Transport, had to overcome to get his fifth-place finish. Oil-pump problems forced him to skip time trials, then a collision with Donald Bradsher in his heat race cost him a better starting spot in the main event. Madden discussed the incident with Bradsher at the scales before two police officers encourage Madden to return to his machine. ... Fourth-place Jordy Nipper of Gray, Ga., posted his best career finish in an event with a five-figure payday. ... Benji Cole scratched from the feature after mechanical problems struck at the conclusion of his heat race. ... Fans weathered brutally cold temperatures and winds as temps were below freezing overnight.

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