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Daily Dirt 05/27/2023 22:44:49

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April 2
East Alabama Motor Speedway,
Phenix City, AL
Sanction: Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (Bama Bash) - $12,000
Information provided by: Series and team reports (last updated April 3, 9:25 am)
Davenport nips Landers in Lucas debut at EAMS
Bama Bash
  1. Jonathan Davenport
  2. Jared Landers
  3. Scott Bloomquist
  4. Jimmy Owens
  5. Darrell Lanigan
  6. Earl Pearson Jr.
  7. Brandon Sheppard
  8. Dennis Erb Jr.
  9. Don O'Neal
  10. Tim McCreadie
  11. Steve Francis
  12. Devin Moran
  13. Austin Horton
  14. Austin Smith
  15. Dale McDowell
  16. Randy Weaver
  17. Chris Madden
  18. Joe Armistead Jr.
  19. Mason Massey
  20. Clint Smith
  21. Colton Flinner
  22. Tod Darda
  23. Matt Dooley
  24. Brian Reese
presented by
Heath Lawson/heathlawsonphotos.com
Jonathan Davenport (6) survived this tense moment racing Scott Bloomquist (0) en route to winning at East Alabama.
What won the race: Coming alive in the final laps, Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., overtook race-long pacesetter Jared Landers of Batesville, Ark., to lead the final three circuits of the first Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series visit to East Alabama Motor SSpeedway. Davenport earned $12,000 in taking the checkers 0.939 seconds ahead of Landers in the 60-lapper.
Key notes: Davenport won his series-leading sixth series victory of 2016 and 22nd of his career. He has 10 victories overall in 2016. ... Turn one zapped two competitors: second-running Chris Madden went over the banking to draw a lap-25 yellow, then Randy Weaver's car flipped over the berm shortly after the ensuing restart. ... Weaver's car was heavily damaged, but he appeared to be OK. ... Besides Madden, Darrell Lanigan (laps 25-29) and Scott Bloomquist (30-54) ran in the second spot.
On the move: Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., started 16th and finished fourth.
Winner's sponsors: Davenport's Longhorn Chassis is sponsored by CV Racing Products, Dirtwrap, FK Rod Ends, JRi Shocks, K&L Rumley Enterprises, Mega Plumbing of the Carolinas, Sundance Services, Bryson Motorsports, Baird Transport and TS Crane Service.
Points chase: Jonathan Davenport extended his points advantage; he's got 1,830 to lead Scott Bloomquist (1,615) and Jared Landers (1,575).
Car count: 27
Fast qualifier: Jared Landers
Time: 14.385 seconds
Polesitter: Jared Landers
Heat race winners: Jared Landers, Brandon Sheppard, Darrell Lanigan
Consolation race winners: Colton Flinner
Provisional starters: Matt Dooley, Mason Massey
Next series race: April 9, Brownstown Speedway (Brownstown, IN) $12,000
Editor's note: Corrects Davenport's laps led to three sted two.
From series and staff reports

PHENIX CITY, Ala. — It took a while — nearly the entire 60-lap distance — for Jonathan Davenport’s right-rear tire to fire, but everyone knew when it did.

The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series points leader from Blairsville, Ga., came alive late in the 19th annual Bama Bash, overtaking race-long leader Jared Landers of Batesville, Ark., with three laps remaining for a $12,000 victory in the tour’s first visit to East Alabama Motor Speedway.

Davenport deftly handled the tricky top groove that knocked two drivers out of contention — Randy Weaver more dramatically than Chris Madden — as he charged past Scott Bloomquist and then Landers to grab his series-leading sixth victory of the season.

In gunning for his second straight series title, the K&L Rumley Enterprises driver increased his points lead to 215 with Bloomquist and Landers vainly trying to keep up so far early in the national tour’s season.

Davenport started fifth, but mostly hung around the top five the first two-thirds of the race while Landers dominated and Madden, Weaver, Darrell Lanigan and Bloomquist took turns in the second spot. But with his harder-compound right-rear tire improving while the competition’s tires began to fade, Davenport was poised to charge forward late in the race at the 3/8-mile high-banked oval.

“I kept trying to count the laps down in my head, and I kept looking at the flagman. Those restarts was killing me,” Davenport said. “Man, once we got rolling, I tried not to blister it going those short runs. Just kept easing into it, easing into it.”

He survived a couple of tense moments on the high-side banking of the track that lacks outside walls, finally grabbed the lead on lap 58 and edged away to win by nearly a second.

Landers settled for second while Bloomquist, who had to switch to a backup car after hot laps, settled for a third-place finish at the track where he’s won eight unsanctioned National 100s. Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., started 16th and slipped over the banking to fall back on the first lap, but he rallied to finish fourth while Lanigan, of Union, Ky., rounded out the top five.

Two contenders weren’t around at the finish. Madden, another former National 100 winner, slipped over the banking in turns one and two on a lap-24 restart to fall back in the field, then decided to call it a night. Shortly after the ensuing restart, Weaver, the Crossville, Tenn., driver who won last year’s Bama Bash, also got over the banking, but  with more disastrous results while he was in the eighth position.

Weaver’s No. 116 Longhorn Chassis flipped violently over the turn-two berm, rolling multiple times until coming to a rest out of the view of the packed grandstands. He climbed out and was able to walk away during the red-flag cleanup, but the car was left in a heap.

After Weaver’s accident, the last of four race stoppages, Landers continued his race-long domination, but he struggled somewhat with lapped traffic in trying to stay ahead of Bloomquist while Davenport haunted them in the third spot.

“I kind of got myself out of the rhythm,” said Landers, who joked that the longer-distance events on the tour for 2016 — paying an extra $2,000 to the winner — didn’t help him. "Yeah, I'm kind of disappointed they added 10 laps to these races on Saturday night.”

Before Davenport caught fire, it appeared Bloomquist might be able to eclipse Landers himself, but he ended up losing a position instead of gaining one.

"We did catch (Landers) but, again, I was pushing extremely hard, and all of a sudden I felt the right rear (tire) started going away on us,” the Mooresburg, Tenn., driver said. “You decide when it's to go and give it all you got, and we did. It was either go for broke right then and maybe be taking chance at winning the race or ... which obviously when Davenport’s right-tire tire came in, it was all over.”

Notes: Davenport dedicated the victory to his father’s 66th birthday, which was Friday. … Nine drivers completed 60 laps. … Cautions appeared on lap five for Joe Armistead Jr., lap 24 for Mason Mason (and then Chris Madden) and for Randy Weaver’s lap-26 wreck. … Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., started outside the front row but slipped back to finish seventh. … No Alabama drivers competed in the feature event. … Ivedent Lloyd Jr. of Ocala, Fla., was among drivers failing to make the feature. … The Bama Bash originated at Green Valley Speedway in Glencoe, Ala., and moved to EAMS three years ago.

Feature lineup

Row 1: Landers, Sheppard
Row 2: Lanigan, Pearson
Row 3: Davenport, Madden
Row 4: Bloomquist, Weaver
Row 5: McCreadie, A. Smith
Row 6: McDowell, C. Smith
Row 7: Moran, Erb,
Row 8: O'Neal, Owens
Row 9: Erb, Francis
Row 10: Flinner, Armistead
Row 11: Reese, Horton
Row 12: Dooley, Massey

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