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Daily Dirt 05/25/2024 02:16:04

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April 13
Lucas Oil Speedway,
Wheatland, MO
Sanction: Lucas Oil Midwest LateModel Racing Association (Lucas Oil Spring Nationals) - $20,000
Information provided by: Series and track reports (last updated April 14, 7:03 am)
Davenport rolls to $20,000 win, Wheatland sweep
Lucas Oil Spring Nationals
  1. Jonathan Davenport
  2. Ricky Thornton Jr.
  3. Garrett Alberson
  4. Mike Marlar
  5. Mason Zeigler
  6. Chad Simpson
  7. Chris Simpson
  8. Daulton Wilson
  9. Justin Wells
  10. Gordy Gundaker
  11. Rodney Sanders
  12. Tony Jackson Jr.
  13. Earl Pearson Jr.
  14. Logan Martin
  15. Dillon McCowan
  16. Blair Nothdurft
  17. Justin Duty
  18. Trevor Gundaker
  19. Matt Johnson
  20. Jeff Herzog
  21. Steve Stultz
  22. Aaron Marrant
  23. Cole Wells
  24. Dustin Hodges
  25. Dusty Leonard
  26. Garrett Smith
presented by
Heath Lawson/heathlawsonphotos.com
Jonathan Davenport celebrates his second flag-to-flag victory in as many nights at Wheatland.
What won the race: Completing a dominant weekend at Lucas Oil Speedway, Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., led from start-to-finish without facing a serious challenge to capture Saturday’s 60-lap finale of the Lucas Oil MLRA Spring Nationals Presented by Arizona Sport Shirts. The 40-year-old superstar beat Ricky Thornton Jr. to the finish line for the second consecutive night, this time beating the Chandler, Ariz., star by 4.237 seconds to earn a $20,000 top prize.
Key notes: Davenport’s ownership of the weekend was complete as he led all 100 feature laps contested over the two nights. … The back-to-back victories pushed Davenport’s Wheatland total over the past two years to seven, including four Late Model and one SRX victory in 2023. He also now owns 14 career MLRA checkered flags. … The feature’s three caution flags flew for Chris Simpson slowing (lap 25), Matt Johnson’s turn-two spin (lap 35) and a multi-car tangle between turns three and four on lap 38 that included Dillon McCowan, Cole Wells, Aaron Marrant and polesitter Dustin Hodges.
On the move: Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., started 21st and finished fourth.
Winner's sponsors: Davenport’s Lance Landers Motorsports Longhorn Chassis carries sponsorship from Nutrien Ag Solutions, ASC Warranty, Dynagro Seed, Mark Martin Automotive, Mega Plumbing & HVAC, Lucas Oil, Hoosier Racing Tire, VP Racing Fuels, Bilstein and Midwest Sheet Metal.
Points chase: After Wheatland Saturday: 1. Chad Simpson (400); T2. Tony Jackson Jr. (375); T2. Chris Simpson (375); 4. Justin Duty (330); 5. Gordy Gundaker (320); 6. Trevor Gundaker (310); T7. Dillon McCowan (305); T7. Jeff Herzog (305); 9. Dustin Hodges (290); 10. Matt Johnson (260).
Current weather: Clear, 66°F
Car count: 44
Fast qualifier: Dustin Hodges
Time: 14.788 seconds
Polesitter: Dustin Hodges
Heat race winners: Dustin Hodges, Justin Wells, Jonathan Davenport, Mason Zeigler
Consolation race winners: Dusty Leonard, Aaron Marrant
Provisional starters: Trevor Gundaker, Justin Duty, Tony Jackson Jr., Steve Stultz
Next series race: April 18, Cedar County Raceway (Tipton, IA) $5,000
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.
By Lyndal Scranton
Lucas Oil Speedway P.R.

WHEATLAND, Mo. (April 13) — Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., lived up to his nickname of "Superman" once again on Saturday night at Lucas Oil Speedway, completing a dominating weekend sweep of the 11th annual MLRA Spring Nationals Presented by Arizona Sport Shirts.

One night after leading all 40 laps to take home a $7,000 prize, Davenport paced all 60 circuits to once again outdistance Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., and take home the finale’s $20,000 check.

After winning five times at Lucas Oil Speedway in 2023, the 40-year-old star is two-for-two this season after beating Thornton by 4.23 seconds for his latest triumph in south-central Missouri.

“We got a good starting spot from qualifying,” said Davenport, who took the green flag from the outside pole. “My guys have been doing a great job. We were so good in that heat race we were afraid to change anything. We over-adjusted last night. We did finally make some changes there and I don’t know if they were the right ones, but we it sure made it easier to drive. I could maneuver very well. The car was really good."

Just as he did a night earlier, Davenport sprinted to the lead at the start from his front-row starting position. He opened a 3.1-second edge just six laps in over Mason Zeigler of Chalk Hill, Pa., with Thornton running third.

By lap 12 Davenport caught lapped traffic and that allowed Zeigler to shave a half-second off his lead. It didn’t take Davenport long to stretch his advantage back out to 4.07 seconds by lap 20 as Thornton moved into the runner-up spot.

The long green-flag run from the start continued and Davenport threatened to make it a complete runaway as his lead hit 4.8 seconds by lap 25. That’s when the first caution flag flew as Chris Simpson slowed on the track with a flat tire.

Davenport and needed just five laps to re-open a 1.5-second lead over Thornton with Garrett Alberson of Las Cruces, N.M., third and Zeigler fourth. His margin was 2.1 seconds when the race’s second caution appeared on lap 35 after Matt Johnson’s spin in turn four.

It took only three laps after the restart for the next caution, with the top four unchanged. However, Mike Marlar continued an impressive march, going from 21st and into the fifth by lap 38 when a five-car pileup in turn three brought out the red to clean up the debris.

When action resumed, it was more of the same with Davenport using the high groove to quickly open a two-second lead over Thornton by lap 43. Marlar continued to ascend using the extreme low line, passing Alberson for third on lap 46.

The race remained caution-free the rest of the way and that was all Davenport needed to weave his way through lapped traffic all the way to the checkers.

Thornton held off Alberson for second with Marlar slipping to fourth in the final laps after briefly climbing as high as second when he traded sliders with Thornton on lap 49. Zeigler settled for fifth and reigning MLRA champ Chad Simpson was sixth for the second straight night.

Davenport said he didn’t change his driving approach after the cautions wiped out his sizable leads, but he definitely kept an eye on the video board to see who was behind him.

“I got into a pretty good rhythm there and the biggest thing that won me the race was through lapped cars,” Davenport said. “I tried not to get complacent and get behind one. Even if it was the wrong line, I tried to keep my momentum up and try to pass them in the next corner.

“I knew those guys were right on me. Ricky’s been really good and Garrett was coming up through there.”

Thornton said he thought the final caution would provide him a chance to see how he matched up with Davenport after losing to him at the finish by just over a second on Friday night.

“The one yellow came out and I thought I could at least see how comparable I am to him and he just drove off,”Thornton said. “That’s why we’re here. We need to get better. We’ll keep working.”

“Hopefully when we come back here for the Show-Me (May 23-25) we can finish a little better in the heat race. That’s a big thing here."

Feature lineup

Row 1: Hodges, Davenport
Row 2: J. Wells, Zeigler
Row 3: G. Smith, Cha. Simpson
Row 4: Thornton, McCowan
Row 5: G. Gundaker, Herzog
Row 6: Martin, C. Wells
Row 7: Alberson, Sanders
Row 8: Nothdurft, Pearson
Row 9: Leonard, Marrant
Row 10: Wilson, Chr. Simpson
Row 11: Marlar, Johnson
Row 12: T. Gundaker, Duty
Row 13: Jackson, Stultz

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