WHEATLAND, Mo. (July 11) — If there was any driver at Lucas Oil Speedway who didn’t need two drivers to fall out in front of him, it’s Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series points leader Jonathan Davenport.
But that’s exactly what happened over a three-lap stretch early in Saturday's CMH Diamond Nationals at Lucas Oil Speedway, handing Davenport the lead on the 17th lap. From there, Davenport blew the 28-car field field away, lapping all but nine competitors and winning by a half-track margin at the 3/8-mile oval.
Davenport’s series-leading eighth victory of the season paid $10,000 and clearly established him as the favorite for Sunday’s $30,000-to-win Show-Me 100, the crown jewel event that was postponed by rain on Memorial Day weekend.
“I love coming up here and smiling and getting my picture made,” the Blairsville, Ga., driver said in victory lane. “This is just a remarkable season for us, unbelievable. I’ve gotta thank (car owners) Kevin and Lee Roy (Rumley), Brian, and everybody back at Longhorn Chassis.
“We had a really long week this week. We wrecked a car last week at Portsmouth and we had to build a new one this week. So we left North Carolina at 2 o’clock this morning and drove all the way through all night, and got here just in time for the drivers’ meeting. Now we can sit back and relax a little bit and figure out what we need to do for 100 laps tomorrow.”
Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn. — driving a Jared Landers backup car after his team’s hauler broke down en route to Wheatland — rallied from 17th to second, but by the time he was challenging fellow Tennessean Jimmy Owens for the second spot, they were seven seconds behind the dominating Davenport.
Bloomquist and Owens were followed to the checkers by ninth-starting Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., and 22nd-starting Chris Simpson in Oxford, Iowa, in a race slowed by three cautions.
“We spent the whole (night) playing catchup. The car was extremely good, and I want to thank Jared and Lance (Landers) and Mark Martin for letting us run this car,” Bloomquist said. “We lost an air pump in our rig on the way here, and he finally got it fixed I think about 8 o’clock this evening, and he still had 10 hours or 11 hours to go.
“We build Jared’s cars exactly like mine this year, and this is the first time I’ve come and felt like I was going to use another person’s car at the racetrack that I knew was as good as mine.”
Owens ran second most of the way before giving up the spot to Bloomquist in the final laps, but he’d nearly forgotten what Davenport’s car looked like in the second half of the race.
“He’s got it going for him right now,” Owens said of Davenport. “He’s been doing really great. You know, my hat’s off to 'em. They’ve had a great season and he keeps backing it up with wins. … wreck last week and win this week. It’s working out for 'em.
“I had a pretty good hot rod. I might’ve got on it a little early and run a little hard early in the race, and that kind of killed me there toward the end. But, you know, this is a lot better than last time we was here earlier this year, so we’ve got something to work with tomorrow.”
Landers, of Batesville, Ark., led the first 11 laps, but while mixing it up with Billy Moyer and Davenport, Landers lost control on the frontstretch and spun driver’s side first into the turn-one wall. He wasn’t injured.
Moyer led the field back to green but two laps later appeared to lose power on the frontstretch and Davenport briefly nosed underneath him before Moyer rolled to a stop in turn two. Moyer was able to return to restart on the tail, catching a break after another lap-16 caution on the restart when Jesse Stovall got into an infield tire barrier and the resulting scrambling sent Kent Robinson spinning inside turn four.
Davenport was glad he didn’t make any more contact with Moyer than he did.
“I got a big run on him right there. I was actually just letting off — I was going to try to go by him on the outside, and I guess that’s (good) luck that I was going to do that, because I’d already rolled out of the throttle, so I didn’t hit him so hard,” he said. “Luckily it didn’t get into our radiator.”
Bloomquist expects to be back in his own equipment for Sunday’s 100-lapper, where he’ll start outside the eighth row.
“I’m pretty sure Jared’s going to want this car back,” Bloomquist said. “I think he might’ve hurt his a little bit. If I was him I’d just add the 30 pounds to the seat and go for it, because this thing’s ready to race.”
First consolation (top three transfer): Scott Bloomquist, Shannon Babb, Brantlee Gotschall, Don O'Neal, Jason O'Brien, Raymond Merrill, Jason Bodenhamer, Mark Dotson, Gavin Landers, Rick Kimberling, Steve Johnson, Jake O'Neil, Reid Millard, Chad Simpson, Dan Shepherd, Gordy Gundaker.
Second consolation (top three transfer): Jesse Stovall, Brian Shirley, Chris Simpson, Earl Pearson Jr., Steve Francis, Robert Baker, Jason Utter, Devin Moran, Scott Lewis, Wendell Wallace, R.C. Whitwell, Ryan Gustin, Austin Siebert, Ben Nicastri.
(12 laps; top three transfer)
Row 1: Brantlee Gotschall, Scott Bloomquist
Row 2: Jason O’Brien, Chad Simpson
Row 3: Gavin Landers, Don O'Neal
Row 4: Raymond Merrill, Shannon Babb
Row 5: Jason Bodenhamer, Mark Dotson
Row 6: Gordy Gundaker, Jake O'Neil
Row 7: Reid Millard, Rick Kimberling
Row 8: Dan Shepherd, Steve Johnson
Row 1: Jesse Stovall, Brian Shirley
Row 2: Ryan Gustin, Jason Utter
Row 3: Steve Francis, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 4: Robert Baker, Chris Simpson
Row 5: R.C. Whitwell, Devin Moran
Row 6: Wendell Wallace, Scott Lewis
Row 7: Terry Phillips, Austin Siebert
Row 8: Ben Nicastri, Kyle Berck
(Top four transfer)
First heat: Billy Moyer, Chris Brown, Brandon Sheppard, Hunter Rasdon, Brantlee Gotschall, Jason O'Brien, Gavin Landers, Raymond Merrill, Jason Bodenhamer, Gordy Gundaker, Reid Millard, Dan Shepherd.
Second heat: Jason Papich, Garrett Alberson, Dennis Erb Jr., Eddie Carrier Jr., Scott Bloomquist, Chad Simpson, Don O'Neal, Shannon Babb, Mark Dotson, Jake O'Neil, Rick Kimberling. Scratched: Steve Johnson.
Third heat: Jared Landers, Jonathan Davenport, Tony Jackson Jr., Kent Robinson, Jesse Stovall, Ryan Gustin, Steve Francis, Robert Baker, R.C. Whitwell, Wendell Wallace, Terry Phillips, Ben Nicastri.
Fourth heat: Jimmy Owens, Jeremy Payne, Kolby Vandenbergh, Jacob Magee, Brian Shirley, Jason Utter, Earl Pearson Jr., Chris Simpson, Devin Moran, Scott Lewis, Austin Siebert. Scratched: Kyle Berck.
(10 laps; top four transfer)
Row 1: Billy Moyer, Jason O'Brien
Row 2: Brandon Sheppard, Chris Brown
Row 3: Brantlee Gotschall, Hunter Rasdon
Row 4: Jason Bodenhamer, Gavin Landers
Row 5: Raymond Merrill, Reid Millard
Row 6: Gordy Gundaker, Dan Shepherd
Row 1: Jason Papich, Garrett Alberson
Row 2: Mark Dotson, Chad Simpson
Row 3: Eddie Carrier Jr., Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 4: Don O’Neal, Scott Bloomquist
Row 5: Jake O’Neil, Shannon Babb
Row 6: Steve Johnson, Rick Kimberling
Row 1: Jared Landers, Jonathan Davenport
Row 2: Tony Jackson Jr., Jesse Stovall
Row 3: Kent Robinson, Robert Baker
Row 4: Ryan Gustin, Ben Nicastri
Row 5: Steve Francis, R.C. Whitwell
Row 6: Wendell Wallace, Terry Phillips
Row 1: Jimmy Owens, Kolby Vandenbergh
Row 2: Scott Lewis, Jacob Magee
Row 3: Jeremy Payne, Chris Simpson
Row 4: Brian Shirley, Devin Moran
Row 5: Austin Siebert, Jason Utter
Row 6: Earl Pearson Jr., Kyle Berck
Time trials (unofficial)
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 15.104
Jason Papich (91p), Nipomo, Calif., 15.195
Jason O’Brien (15), Atlantic, Iowa, 15.319
Garrett Alberson (F5), Las Cruces, N.M., 15.513
Brandon Sheppard (B5), New Berlin, Ill., 15.655
Mark Dotson (85D), Cameron, Mo., 15.742
Chris Brown (21), Spring, Texas, 15.752
Chad Simpson (25), Mount Vernon, Iowa, 15.758
Eddie Carrier Jr. (28), Salt Rock, W.Va., 15.913
Hunter Rasdon (R5), Jonesboro, Ark., 15.919
Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 15.932
Jason Bodenhamer (2B), Centerview, Mo., 15.935
Don O’Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind., 15.949
Gavin Landers (77), Batesville, Ark., 15.980
Scott Bloomquist (777x), Mooresburg, Tenn., 15.987
Brantlee Gotschall (4G), Nevada, Mo., 16.021
Raymond Merrill (18x), Sallisaw, Okla., 16.257
Jake O’Neil (J0), Tucson, Ariz., 16.260
Reid Millard (14m), Jefferson City, Mo., 16.269
Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 16.373
Gordy Gundaker (11), St. Charles, Mo., 16.421
Steve Johnson (116), Joplin, Mo., 16.615
Dan Shepherd (68), Denver, Colo., 17.141
Rick Kimberling (1k), Slater, Mo., 17.227
Jared Landers (777), Batesville, Ark., 15.299
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 15.610
Jonathan Davenport (6), Blairville, Ga., 15.640
Kolby Vandenbergh (18), Ashland, Ill., 15.719
Tony Jackson Jr. (56), Lebanon, Mo., 15.749
Scott Lewis (99), Henderson, Colo., 15.772
Jesse Stovall (00), Billings, Mo., 15.783
Jacob Magee (10), Caney, Kan., 15.829
Kent Robinson (7r), Bloomington, Ill., 15.832
Jeremy Payne (186), Springfield, Mo., 15.987
Robert Baker (17m), Bryant, Ark., 15.993
Chris Simpson (R5), Oxford, Iowa, 16.101
Ryan Gustin (19r), Marshalltown, Iowa, 16.148
Brian Shirley (3s), Chatham, Ill., 16.206
Ben Nicastri (99), Camden, New South Wales, 16.243
Devin Moran (99m), Dresden, Ohio, 16.281
Steve Francis (15), Ashland, Ky., 16.286
Austin Siebert (16), Grandview, Mo., 16.349
R.C. Whitwell (6), Tucson, Ariz., 16.352
Jason Utter (31), Columbus Junction, Iowa, 16.401
Wendell Wallace (6m), Batesville, Ark., 16.450
Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla., 16.605
Terry Phillips (75), Springfield, Mo., 17.059
Kyle Berck (14), Marquette, Neb., no time