COLUMBUS, Miss. (May 31) — Jonathan Davenport rarely has two subpar nights in a row. By his standards, Thursday’s 10th-place finish in the weekend’s opening preliminary feature for the 11th annual Geico Clash at the Mag, was lackluster at best. It took less than 24 hours for the Blairsville, Ga., driver to bounce back however.
Darting into the lead from his pole starting position, Davenport led all 25 laps Friday night at Magnolia Motor Speedway to win the second 25-lap preliminary feature for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event. Davenport earned $5,000 in the caution-free feature for his series-leading seventh victory of the season.
“Just like last night … this Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series is so competitive, just going out (in time trials) a couple cars too late almost put us out of the top 10 last night,” said Davenport. “And I know (track promoter) Johnny (Stokes) is gonna keep working on this racetrack and make it better. These places like this are almost like race cars, you gotta keep adjusting on ‘em to make ‘em better and I know he’ll get it right for that 100-lapper tomorrow.”
Davenport tweaked his Lance Landers-backed Longhorn Chassis just enough. After qualifying ninth in his group on Thursday, he improved six spots Friday and qualified third in the first group. That put him on the outside front row of the first heat, which he won, giving him the pole for Friday’s main event.
Davenport parlayed that into a flag-to-flag win. Davenport pulled ahead of Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., on the opening lap, Davenport and eased out to a comfortable lead. After sailing around the top for half the race, he managed to pull back down to the bottom groove just in time to keep a fast-charging Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., at bay over the final 10 circuits.
McCreadie, who started seventh, finished second, backing up Thursday’s runner-up finish, while Devin Moran of Dresden, Ohio, advanced from 11th to finish third. Marlar slipped to fourth after starting on the front row alongside Davenport, and Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., finished were he started in fifth.
“I think we’ve definitely turned the corner with these (Longhorn Chassis). We’re getting better and better and now (Tim) McCreadie’s rolling really good also,” said Davenport. “We’re trying different things on the car. These things have been so spot on the last two months. We really haven’t gotten to race a lot, so we’ve just been unloading with kinda one package and working around it. So we definitely changed so things up the last two nights, seeing what works better and not.
“The racetrack kinda throwed us a curveball. I didn’t know when it was gonna move off the top. I knew it was going to at some point. Luckily I could see (crew chief and spotter) Jason (Durham) tonight. That’s the first time I’ve been able to see him. I moved him on around the corner where I could see him. We moved down at the right time and we held on for one more win.”
McCreadie was right in Davenport’s tracks at the finish. He began working the low side sooner than most, using it move into fourth on lap seven and third on lap eight. While second-running Marlar chipped into Davenport’s lead, McCreadie was trimming his deficit behind them both. Marlar pulled even with Davenport in turn two on lap 10. But as soon as Davenport was clear, he headed to the bottom also.
McCreadie, who grabbed second from Marlar on lap 12, said his poor qualifying effort put him behind early in the night.
“I don’t know what happened in qualifying,” he said. “I got a little wide over there and I guess it was just still a little slimy and it put us a little behind. And then I messed up. It was a little tough with the crumbs down there on the bottom, but all in all we’ll take it and move on to tomorrow and hopefully we can put 100 laps together.”
By virtue of his two runner-up finishes, McCreadie will start from the pole of Saturday’s $15,000-to-win, 100-lap Geico Clash at the Mag finale. Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., who won Thursday and finished seventh on Friday, will start on the front row as well. O’Neal will start third, with Davenport starting fourth. Marlar and Moran will start from the third row.
Drivers’ combined results from the Thursday and Friday preliminary features determined the first nine rows of Saturday’s main, along with the lineups for Saturday’s two consolation races. While no provisionals were given on Thursday and Friday, the standard two series provisionals will be used on Saturday.
Row 1: Jonathan Davenport, Mike Marlar
Row 2: Michael Arnold, Josh Richards
Row 3: Don O’Neal, Tyler Erb
Row 4: Tim McCreadie Brian Rickman
Row 5: Kyle Bronson, Earl Pearson Jr.
Row 6: Devin Moran, Neil Baggett
Row 7: Timothy Culp, Shanon Buckingham
Row 8: Dane Dacus, Stormy Scott
Row 9: Robbie Stuart, Scott Dedwylder
Row 10: Bobby Pierce, Jimmy Owens
Row 11: Morgan Bagley, Billy Moyer
Row 12: Rick Rickman, B.J. Robinson
First consolation (top four transfer): Robbie Stuart, Bobby Pierce, Morgan Bagley, Rick Rickman, Hudson O’Neal, Shay Knight, Clay Fisher, Christian Hanger, David Payne, Chad Thrash, Austin Arnold.
Second consolation (top four transfer): Scott Dedwylder, Jimmy Owens, Billy Moyer, B.J. Robinson, Shelby Sheedy, Eric Cooley. Colton Horner, Billy Moyer Jr., Joey Moriarty, Gavin Landers.
(12 laps, top four transfer)
Row 1: Robbie Stuart, Rick Rickman
Row 2: Morgan Bagley, Austin Arnold
Row 3: Shay Knight, Clay Fisher
Row 4: David Payne, Chad Thrash
Row 5: Hudson O’Neal, Christian Hanger
Row 6: Bobby Pierce
Row 1: Scott Dedwylder, Billy Moyer Jr.
Row 2: B.J. Robinson, Billy Moyer
Row 3: Joey Moriarty, Jimmy Owens
Row 4: Colton Horner, Eric Cooley
Row 5: Gavin Landers, Shelby Sheedy
Heat race results
First heat (top four transfer): Jonathan Davenport, Don O’Neal, Kyle Bronson, Timothy Culp, Robbie Stuart, Morgan Bagley, Shay Knight, David Payne, Hudson O’Neal, Bobby Pierce.
Second heat (top four transfer): Michael Arnold, Tim McCreadie, Devin Moran, Dane Dacus, Rick Rickman, Austin Arnold, Clay Fisher, Chad Thrash, Christian Hanger.
Third heat (top four transfer): Mike Marlar, Tyler Erb, Earl Pearson Jr., Shanon Buckingham, Scott Dedwylder, B.J. Robinson, Joey Moriarty, Colton Horner, Gavin Landers.
Fourth heat (top four transfer): Josh Richards, Brian Rickman Neil Baggett, Stormy Scott, Billy Moyer Jr., Billy Moyer, Jimmy Owens, Eric Cooley, Shelby Sheedy.
Heat race lineups
(10 laps, top four transfer)
Row 1: Kyle Bronson, Jonathan Davenport
Row 2: Timothy Culp, Hudson O’Neal
Row 3: Bobby Pierce, Don O’Neal
Row 4: Robbie Stuart, Shay Knight
Row 5: Morgan Bagley, David Payne
Row 1: Austin Arnold, Michael Arnold
Row 2: Dan Dacus, Devin Moran
Row 3: Tim McCreadie, Christian Hanger
Row 4: Rick Rickman, Chad Thrash
Row 5: Deck Fisher
Row 1: Mike Marlar, Shanon Buckingham
Row 2: Tyer Erb, Scott Dedwylder
Row 3: Earl Pearson Jr., B.J. Robinson
Row 4: Joey Moriarty, Gavin Landers
Row 5: Colton Horner
Row 1: Josh Richards, Brian Rickman
Row 2: Neil Baggett, Billy Moyer Jr.
Row 3: Jimmy Owens, Billy Moyer
Row 4: Eric Cooley, Stormy Scott
Row 5: Shelby Sheedy
Driver (car no.), hometown, time
Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., 13.745
Austin Arnold (A8), Kosciusko, Miss., 13.826
Jonathan Davenport (49), Blairsville, Ga., 13.871
Michael Arnold (4), Hattiesburg, Miss., 13.892
Timothy Culp (C8), Prattsville, Ark., 13.950
Dane Dacus (54), Lakeland, Tenn., 13.978
Hudson O’Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., 13.991
Devin Moran (1), Dresden, Ohio, 14.009
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 14.092
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y., 14.138
Don O’Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind., 14.157
Christian Hanger (29), Winchester, Tenn., 14.261
Robbie Stuart (6R), DeRidder, La., 14.328
Rick Rickman (86), Columbus, Miss., 14.397
Shay Knight (3), Columbus, Miss., 14.435
Chad Thrash (1), Meridian, Miss., 14.528
Morgan Bagley (14m), Longview, Texas, 14.594
Clay Fisher (99), Dewitt, Ark., 14.735
David Payne (7), Cabot, Ark., 15.099
Mike Marlar (6), Winfield, Tenn., 13.793
Josh Richards (14), Shinnston, W.Va., 13.795
Shanon Buckingham (50), Morristown, Tenn., 13.826
Brian Rickman (90), Columbus, Miss., 13.860
Tyler Erb (1), New Waverly, Texas, 13.864
Neil Baggett (21xxx), Columbus, Miss., 13.918
Scott Dedwylder (33), Vossburg, Miss., 13.954
Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark., 14.123
Earl Pearson Jr. (1), Jacksonville, Fla., 14.132
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 14.157
B.J. Robinson (1), Haughton, La., 14.192
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 14.272
Joey Moriarty (51), Phoenix, Ariz., 14.347
Eric Cooley (33), Fulton, Miss., 14.447
Gavin Landers (77), Batesville, Ark., 14.485
Stormy Scott (2), Las Cruces, N.M., 14.539
Colton Horner (56jr), Katy, Texas, 14.719
Shelby Sheedy (G4), French Camp, La., 14.919
4 p.m.: Technical inspection and pill draw begins
7 p.m.: Drivers’ meeting
7 30 p.m.: Hot laps/Time trials/Racing
-Durrence Lane Crate Late Model hot laps
-Lucas Oil Late Model hot laps
-Late Model Sportsman hot laps
-Crate Late Model time trials
-Lucas Oil Late Model time trials
-Crate Late Model consolations
-Lucas Oil Late Model heats (10 laps)
-Street stock hot laps
-Factory stock hot laps
-Lucas Oil Late Model consolations (12 laps)
-Late Model Sportsman heats
-Lucas Oil Late Model feature (25 laps)
-Factory stock heats
-Street stock heats
-Crate Late Model feature
-Factory stock feature
-Late Model Sportsman feature
-Street stock feature