TUCSON, Ariz. — Outside front-row starter Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., led all the way Wednesday night at USA Raceway, scoring his second straight $5,000 victory at the Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout.
Davenport’s second straight 30-lap miniseries victory keeps alive his chances for a $100,000 bonus via the Keyser Quarter-Million Challenge, with posted bonuses for multiple victories of $250,000 (six victories; no drivers eligible), $100,000 (five victories; only Davenport eligible) and $50,000 (four victories; Davenport and Don O’Neal eligible).
Third-starting Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., got within a few lengths of Davenport at halfway and again on lap 22, but Davenport edged away in the race’s late stages to capture the third round at the Arizona event. Patience in traffic helped Davenport keep his pursuers at bay.
“I really didn’t know where they were gaining on me at, because I’d pull away and (crew member) Bryan (Liverman) would (signal) me they would gain back in traffic, which I figured they would, because I would hit it first,” Davenport said. “I just tried to be patient with ‘em and pick my lines where I could get a good run off the corner and just not kill my momentum too bad.”
Lanigan finished a half-straightaway behind in second while polesitter Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., was third. Seven-time World of Outlaws Sprint Car champ Donny Schatz of Fargo, N.D., came from ninth to finish fourth and Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville, Ark., rounded out the top five. Davenport lapped all but 14 competitors in a race where the lone caution flag appeared on the eighth lap for a slowing A.J. Diemel.
Lanigan scored his second top-five finish of the miniseries and while he got within striking distance of Davenport, his chances for victory faded over the final laps.
“Not quite enough for ‘em. We’re getting closer and closer … hopefully here at the end of the week we can get us a win,” said Lanigan, a two-time winner at last year’s Wild West Shootout. “We had a good car there at the end. I just wish we could get around that lapped traffic a little quicker.”
World of Outlaws Late Model Series champion Clanton, who joined Davenport for a potent front row of reigning national touring champs and Georgia standouts, scored his best finish of the week but knows he’s got work to do to outrun Davenport, the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champ.
“We still want that win … We’ve got stop Davenport from winning that bonus here,” Clanton said. “We’ve just gotta work on our car a little bit more. The balance is almost there, we’ve just gotta get a little bit better.”
Davenport ran the high side most of the way on a smooth track that had streaks of black, but lapped traffic he hit before halfway caused a few problems.
Other competitors were “blowing just enough grit across the racetrack to make it a little slippery (instead) of just the black (surface) it was. But yeah, this car as phenomenal. I could drive around the top, the bottom, the middle, you know, once I found my rhythm there — especially in lapped traffic, it kind of messed me up a little bit.
“But other than that, man, I can’t say enough for (crew chief) Kevin Rumley and (engine builder) Lee Roy (Rumley) back home watching, Gaynell, everybody else back home watching. Bryan (Liverman) has been doing a phenomenal job. Heath came on to help us out. Baird Transport has come on board this year to help us out, and everybody back at the Longhorn shop, I can’t thank them enough.”
And what about his chances for a $100,000 or $50,000 bonus?
“I don’t know. Like I said before, it’s hard to be perfect in this sport. Tonight we started dead last in our heat and had Clanton and Lanigan, and two or three other really good guys," said Davenport, who was hampered in the opener by a disqualification in his heat race for failing to report directly to the scales. "I don’t know, we’re going to give it our best shot. I’d like to have that other one under our belt. I think we could definitely get one more, maybe, unless things go really the wrong way. we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Miniseries drivers take their final day off of the week Thursday before returning to action Friday with a $5,000-to-win event. Pay-per-view coverage begins at 5:15 p.m. Mountain Time with hot laps at 5:30 and racing at 7.
The Wild West Shootout concludes with a $5,000-to-win event Saturday and $11,000-to-win event Sunday. Weekend start times are 3:15 p.m. for the pay-per-view and 5 p.m. for racing.
Notes: The passing-points format calls for locking in 15 drivers (with the heat winners guaranteed) into the feature field; because of a lineup error, 16th-starting Ryan Gustin was included in the feature field without running a consolation race, thus 25 drivers started the feature. … Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., drove the J.R. Haley-owned No. 33x Black Diamond car driven previously by Vic Hill of Mosheim, Tenn.; Thornton finished eighth. … Besides Thornton, there were two other new miniseries entries on Wednesday: Marshall Miles of Sierra Vista, Ariz., and fourth-place finisher Donny Schatz, who came to Tucson after competing in Australia sprint car action.
Late Model feature lineup
Row 1: Shane Clanton, Jonathan Davenport
Row 2: Darrell Lanigan, Jason Krohn
Row 3: Rodney, Sanders, Garrett Alberson
Row 4: Billy Moyer Jr, Brad Looney
Row 5: Donny Schatz, Billy Moyer
Row 6: Brandon Sheppard, Chris Simpson
Row 7: Ronny Lee Hollingsworth, Tyler Erb
Row 8: Clay Daly, Ryan Gustin
Row 9: Don O'Neal, Jimmy Mars
Row 10: Morgan Bagley, Ricky Thornton Jr.
Row 11: Hunter Rasdon, A.J. Diemel
Row 12: Jason Papich, Ricky Weiss
Row 13: Ray Moore
Late Model consolation results
(12 laps; top three transfer)
First consolation: Don O'Neal, Ricky Thornton Jr., Jason Papich, Chase Junghans, Pat Doar, Scott Ward, Joey Moriarty, Kyle Beard, Rob Odegard, Tony Toste, Terry Carter, Rick Ortega, Marshall Miles.
Second consolation: Jimmy Mars, Hunter Rasdon, Ricky Weiss, Billy Franklin, Larry Childress, Austin Siebert, Steve Francis, Doug Blashe, Brad Whitifeld, Bucky Andrews, Junior Coover, Don Shaw.
Third consolation: Morgan Bagley, A.J. Diemel, Ray Moore, Rob Sanders, Dustin Strand, Jeremy Keller, Justin Duty, Terry Phillips, James Laing, Sean Bray, Jake O'Neil, R.C. Whitwell.
Late Model heat results
(Eight laps; top 16 in passing points transfer)
First heat: Brandon Sheppard, Jason Krohn, Donny Schatz, Pat Doar, Ray Moore, Ryan Gustin, Billy Franklin, Rob Odegard, Sean Bray, Marshall Miles, Scott Ward.
Second heat: Chris Simpson, Billy Moyer Jr., Rodney Sanders, Don O'Neal, R.C. Whitwell, Terry Phillips, Joey Moriarty, Dustin Strand, Jeremy Keller. Scratched: Kyle Beard, Jake O'Neil.
Third heat: Ronny Lee Hollingsworth, Tyler Erb, Billy Moyer, A.J. Diemel, Jason Papich, Garrett Alberson, Hunter Rasdon, Austin Siebert, Rob Sanders, Terry Carter, Rick Ortega.
Fourth heat: Garrett Alberson, Brad Looney, Jimmy Mars, Steve Francis, Ricky Thornton Jr., Morgan Bagley, Ricky Weiss, Chase Junghans, Justin Duty, Junior Coover.
Fifth heat: Shane Clanton, Jonathan Davenport, Darrell Lanigan, Clay Daly, Don Shaw, Larry Childress, Tony Toste, Brad Whitfield, Bucky Andrews, Doug Blashe.
Late Model heat lineups
(Eight laps; top 15 in passing points transfer)
Row 1: Brandon Sheppard, Billy Franklin
Row 2: Pat Doar, Sean Bray
Row 3: Jason Krohn, Donny Schatz
Row 4: Ray Moore, Marshall Miles
Row 5: Scott Ward, Ryan Gustin
Row 6: Rob Odegard
Row 1: Chris Simpson, R.C. Whitwell
Row 2: Terry Phillips, Billy Moyer Jr.
Row 3: Don O’Neal, Jake O'Neil
Row 4: Rodney Sanders, Joey Moriarty
Row 5: Kyle Beard, Dustin Strand
Row 6: Jeremy Keller
Row 1: Ronny Lee Hollingsworth, A.J. Diemel
Row 2: Tyler Erb, Austin Siebert
Row 3: Jason Papich, James Laing
Row 4: Hunter Rasdon, Billy Moyer
Row 5: Rob Sanders, Terry Carter
Row 6: Rick Ortega
Row 1: Jimmy Mars, Garrett Alberson
Row 2: Steve Francis, Brad Looney
Row 3: Justin Duty, Ricky Weiss
Row 4: Ricky Thornton Jr., Chase Junghans
Row 5: Morgan Bagley, Junior Coover
Row 1: Brad Whitfield, Bucky Andrews
Row 2: Doug Blashe, Larry Childress
Row 3: Tony Toste, Clay Daly
Row 4: Don Shaw, Shane Clanton
Row 5: Darrell Lanigan, Jonathan Davenport
1 p.m. - Pit gate opens (draw begins)
4:30 p.m. - Drivers’ meeting
5 p.m. - Grandstands open
5:30 p.m. - Hot laps (modifieds, X-mods, Late Models by heat lineups)
6:45 p.m. - National anthem
7 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)
Features: Modifieds (25 laps), X-mods (20 laps), Late Models (30 laps)