TUCSON, Ariz. — Jonathan Davenport’s chances for the Keyser Quarter-Million Challenge fell by the wayside after a difficult night in Saturday’s opener, but the 32-year-old Blairsville, Ga., driver rebounded Sunday with a $5,000 victory in the second round of the Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout at USA Raceway.
The fifth-starting Davenport dove under polesitter and race-long leader Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., heading into turn one on the 27th lap and led the rest of the 30-lapper for his first victory at the 3/8-mile desert oval.
While the $250,000 bonus for sweeping the miniseries is off the table for Davenport and everyone else, there’s still a $100,000 bonus for winning five races (only Davenport and Saturday winner Don O’Neal are eligible) while four victories would pay a single driver $50,000 from title sponsor Keyser Manufacturing.
Davenport’s miniseries got off to a tough start when he was disqualified from a Saturday heat race victory for failing to report directly to the scales, and while the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion salvaged a fifth-place finish in Saturday’s feature, Sunday’s victory provided a little consolation.
The K&L Rumley Longhorn Chassis has “been awesome ever since we unloaded,” Davenport said Sunday in victory lane. “I put us behind the eight ball last night, or maybe this would be two in a row.”
Mars, a three-time Tucson winner, settled for second in the caution-free main event while Jason Papich of Nipomo, Calif., nearly caught the frontrunners in the final laps before settling for third. Garrett Alberson of Las Cruces, N.M., scored a Tucson-best fourth-place finish while O’Neal, of Martinsville, Ind., rounded out the top five finishers.
Mars jumped into the early lead, stretching it on the second lap when Ryan Gustin of Marshalltown, Iowa, slipped high in turn one to give up the second spot to Alberson.
By the time Gustin reclaimed second from Alberson, Mars had a full straightaway lead and was cruising while Gustin, Alberson and Davenport gave chase. Mars had more than a two-second lead before the halfway point, but Gustin cut that margin in half by lap 14 as the lead pack tightened up over the next 10 laps.
While Davenport made up ground running a higher groove, he dove low in turn three on lap 24 to take the second spot. Gustin did his best to answer Davenport exiting turn two on the next lap, but a 360-degree spin took him out of contention, moving Papich into the third spot as he and Davenport continued the pursuit of Mars.
Davenport drew close to Mars as they completed the 26th lap then made a high-to-low move on the frontstretch to beat Mars into turn one. Mars powered through turns three and four to nearly nose back ahead at the line on lap 27, but Davenport — who entered the miniseries as the odd-on favorite to have the best shot at a bonus — drew away for the victory.
“The track was way different than it was last night — of course, you could see that — but it was really slick, and it was just all about momentum,” Davenport said. “I kept searching around doing a couple of different lines there and finally got to where I could get a little bit of a run off the corner.
“I had to slide by both of them there — I hope I cleared ‘em and gave ‘em enough room. That was about the only pass I was going to be able to make.”
Mars was at his best in the first half of the race, but he couldn’t maintain a winning pace.
“Yeah, we missed it a little bit. Congratulations to Jonathan there. Obviously everybody knows he’s pretty quick, so I guess if we’re on the same straightaway as him, I’m pretty happy with it,” said Mars, who was sidelined in Saturday’s prelims by radiator issues. “We just missed it a little bit there at the end. The car’s pretty good. We had some bad luck last night and took a deep breath and started over today. That’s the cool thing about being at one track. The next day’s a new day, so we’ll be working hard, just keep plugging away.”
The third-finishing Papich, the miniseries points runner-up last year, tied his best career finish at Tucson.
“I had ‘em in my sights the whole time, obviously, and I’d gain on ‘em. These guys are a little smoother on the gas than I am at times,” he said. “I get a little overzealous …. I got too excited and then I calm back down and step on those eggshells. We were just as good as them. I needed to move up a little bit (on the track) and be a little smoother on the gas.”
Wild West Shootout competitors take a few days off before returning to action Wednesday evening for a $5,000-to-win event, the richest midweek event in Arizona history. DirtonDirt.com’s pay-per-view production begins at 5:15 p.m. Mountain Time with hot laps scheduled for 5:30 and racing at 7.
Notes: Austin Siebert of Grandview, Mo., scratched from the main event after transferring through a consy ... Chase Junghans of Manhattan, Kan., won the Pro Power Dash for non-qualifiers, electing to accept the $1,000 winner’s purse instead of starting on the tail of the feature. … Among Late Model drivers who entered Saturday’s action who didn’t enter Sunday: Billy Franklin and Greg Jelvik. … Seven-time World of Outlaws Sprint Car champion Donny Schatz is expected to join the field Wednesday after doing some off-season sprint-car racing in Australia. … Sunday’s show at Tucson had another sprint car star on hand with 20-time WoO champ Steve Kinser on hand, waving the green flag on the Late Model feature.
Late Model feature lineup
Row 1: Jimmy Mars, Ryan Gustin
Row 2: Garrett Alberson, Jason Papich
Row 3: Jonathan Davenport, Don O'Neal
Row 4: A.J. Diemel, Kyle Beard
Row 5: Tony Toste, Steve Francis
Row 6: Morgan Bagley, Brad Looney
Row 7: Shane Clanton, Chris Simpson
Row 8: Terry Phillips, Darrell Lanigan
Row 9: Billy Moyer, Brandon Sheppard
Row 10: Jason Krohn, R.C. Whiwell
Row 11: Austin Siebert, Jake O'Neil
Row 12: Rodney Sanders, Rob Sanders
Late Model consolation results
(12 laps; top three transfer)
First consolation: Darrell Lanigan, Jason Krohn, Jake O'Neil, Jason Rauen, Ricky Weiss, Don Shaw, Dustin Strand, Larry Childress, Billy Moyer Jr., Clay Daly, Sean Bray, Rob Odegard, James Laing.
Second consolation: Billy Moyer, R.C. Whitwell, Rodney Sanders, Pat Doar, Joey Moriarty, Vic Hill, Scott Lewis, Ronny Lee Hollingsworth, Dave Deetz, Brad Whitfield, John Duty, Rick Ortega, Junior Coover, Bucky Andrews.
Third consolation: Brandon Sheppard, Austin Siebert, Rob Sanders, Chase Junghans, Tyler Erb, Scott Ward, Doug Blashe, Justin Duty, Jeremy Keller, Terry Carter, Dana Fite, Paul Guglielmoni.
Late Model consolation lineups
(12 laps; top three transfer)
Row 1: Darrell Lanigan, Jason Krohn
Row 2: Larry Childress, Ricky Weiss
Row 3: Billy Moyer Jr., Don Shaw
Row 4: Dustin Strand, Jason Rauen
Row 5: Jake O’Neil, Ray Moore
Row 6: Rob Odegard, James Laing
Row 7: Sean Bray, Clay Daly
Row 1: Billy Moyer, Rodney Sanders
Row 2: Vic Hill, Pat Doar
Row 3: R.C. Whitwell, Ronny Lee Hollingsworth
Row 4: Joey Moriarty, Brad Whitfield
Row 5: Scott Lewis, John Duty
Row 6: Dave Deetz, Junior Coover
Row 7: Rick Ortega, Bucky Andrews
Row 1: Justin Duty, Brandon Sheppard
Row 2: Austin Siebert, Rob Sanders
Row 3: Tyler Erb, Terry Carter
Row 4: Doug Blashe, Chase Junghans
Row 5: Scott Ward, Hunter Rasdon
Row 6: Dana Fite, Jeremy Keller
Row 7: Paul Guglielmoni, Carlos Ahumada
Late Model heat results
First heat: Tony Toste, Garrett Alberson, Kyle Beard, Terry Carter, Doug Blashe, Vic Hill, Brad Whitfield, Junior Coover, Rick Ortega.
Second heat: Jason Papich, A.J. Diemel, Austin Siebert, Morgan Bagley, Ronny Lee Hollingsworth, Ricky Weiss, Ray Moore, John Duty, Hunter Rasdon, Paul Guglielmoni.
Third heat: Steve Francis, Brad Looney, Chris Simpson, Billy Moyer, Shane Clanton, Tyler Erb, Chase Junghans, Jeremy Keller, Clay Daly.
Fourth heat: Jimmy Mars, Rodney Sanders, Terry Phillips, Don O'Neal, Billy Moyer Jr., Jason Rauen, Scott Lewis, Sean Bray, Dana Fite.
Fifth heat: Ryan Gustin, Jason Krohn, Rob Sanders, Pat Doar, Dustin Strand, Joey Moriarty, Jake O'Neil, Scott Ward, Carlos Ahumada.
Sixth heat: Jonathan Davenport, Brandon Sheppard, Darrell Lanigan, Larry Childress, R.C. Whitwell, Don Shaw, Justin Duty, Rob Odegard, James Laing.
Late Model heat lineups
(Eight laps; top 15 in passing points locked in)
Row 1: Bucky Andrews, Junior Coover
Row 2: Tony Toste, Brad Whitfield
Row 3: Terry Carter, Kyle Beard
Row 4: Garrett Alberson, Vic Hill
Row 5: Rick Ortega, Doug Blashe
Row 1: Ray Moore, Jason Papich
Row 2: Austin Siebert, A.J. Diemel
Row 3: John Duty, Ronny Lee Hollingsworth
Row 4: Paul Guglielmoni, Morgan Bagley
Row 5: Hunter Rasdon, Ricky Weiss
Row 1: Steve Francis, Jeremy Keller
Row 2: Brad Looney, Clay Daly
Row 3: Chris Simpson, Chase Junghans
Row 4: Billy Moyer, Dave Deetz
Row 5: Tyler Erb, Shane Clanton
Row 1: Rodney Sanders, Sean Bray
Row 2: Jimmy Mars, Scott Lewis
Row 3: Terry Phillips, Jason Rauen
Row 4: Billy Moyer Jr., Dana Fite
Row 5: Don O'Neal
Row 1: Rob Sanders, Jason Krohn
Row 2: Ryan Gustin, Dustin Strand
Row 3: Pat Doar, Carlos Ahumada
Row 4: Joey Moriarty, Jake O'Neil
Row 5: Scott Ward
Row 1: Brandon Sheppard, James Laing
Row 2: Rob Odegard, Jonathan Davenport
Row 3: Darrell Lanigan, Justin Duty
Row 4: R.C. Whitwell, Larry Childress
Row 5: Don Shaw
Modified feature results
Top 10: Cade Dillard, Ricky Thornton Jr., Stormy Scott, Brad Dierks, Jake Hartung, Blake Jegtvig, Danny Bayer, Matt Leer, Royal Jones, Bobby Hogge IV.
Modified consolation results
First consolation (top five): Phillip Houston, Matt Gilbertson, Justin Rexwrinkle, Kent Arment, Jimmy Ray.
Second consolation (top five): Kyle Beard, Christy Georges-Barnett, Greg Chusley, Brent Dutenhoffer, Mickey Lassiter.
Modified heat results
First heat: Matt Leer, Royal Jones, Fito Gallardo, Cade Dillard, Greg Jelvik, Corky Thomas, Justin Rexwinkle, Tim Thomas, Carlos Ahumada Jr., Shawn Fletcher.
Second heat: Rodney Sanders, Brad Dierks, Todd Shute, Phillip Houston, Kyle Beard, Jimmy Ray, Darron Fuqua, Scott Sluka, Mickey Lassiter.
Third heat: Stormy Scott, Jake Hartung, Danny Bayer, Bobby Hogge IV, Chad Olsen, Christy Georges-Barnett, Matt Gilbertson, Mykeo Atkinson, Daryl Fisher, Steve Streeter.
Fourth heat: Ryan Mikkelson, Blake Jegtvig, Ricky Thornton Jr., Greg Chesluy, Jeff Hartley, Brent Dutenhoffer, Bob Salmon, Casey Skyberg.
(All times Mountain Standard)
11 a.m. - Pit gate opens (draw begins)
2:30 p.m. - Drivers’ meeting
3 p.m. - Grandstands open
3:30 p.m. - Hot laps (modifieds, X-mods, Late Models by heat lineups)
4:45 p.m. - National anthem
5 p.m. - Racing begins
Heat races: Modifieds (eight laps), X-mods (six laps), Late Models (eight laps)
Consolations: Modifieds (12 laps), X-mods (10 laps), Late Models (12 laps)
Modifieds (25 laps)
Pro Power Dash: Late Models (10 laps)
X-mods (20 laps)
Late Models (30 laps)