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Daily Dirt 03/02/2024 19:44:01

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July 17
Lucas Oil Speedway,
Wheatland, MO
Sanction: Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (Diamond Nationals) - $15,000
Information provided by: Series and track reports (last updated July 18, 11:33 am)
Davenport survives raucous Diamond Nat'ls
Diamond Nationals
  1. Jonathan Davenport
  2. Josh Richards
  3. Kyle Bronson
  4. Stormy Scott
  5. Earl Pearson Jr.
  6. Justin Duty
  7. Jimmy Owens
  8. Aaron Marrant
  9. Shane Clanton
  10. Tyler Erb
  11. Daniel Hilsabeck
  12. Tim McCreadie
  13. Tony Jackson Jr.
  14. Jason Papich
  15. Reid Millard
  16. Jeremiah Hurst
  17. Garrett Alberson
  18. Spencer Hughes
  19. Hudson O'Neal
  20. Chad Simpson
  21. Mason Oberkramer
  22. Brennon Willard
  23. Brian Shirley
  24. Chris Ferguson
  25. Ricky Thornton Jr.
  26. Mike Marlar
presented by
Todd Boyd/photosbyboyd.smugmug.com
Jonathan Davenport heads for his third CMH Diamond Nationals victory at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo.
What won the race: Making a backstretch pass in traffic just before race-long leader Jimmy Owens ran underneath a slowing car on lap 29, Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., won Saturday’s CMH Diamond Nationals at Lucas Oil Speedway for his sixth Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory of the season. Davenport took the checkers 1.407 ahead of Josh Richards for his sixth tour victory of the season on a night with racing delayed by afternoon rain.
Key notes: Two red flags and multiple cautions slowed a raucous event. ... Besides the problem for Owens, a lap-28 pileup on a restart knocked Hudson O'Neal out of the race. ... Series points leader Tim McCreadie started 10th and never contended before sliding into a turn-four mess on the 42nd lap. ... Drivers were able to swap helmets during the lap-28 caution because heavy track conditions left muddy visors throughout the field. ... After rain delayed the program, the feature was on the track shortly after 11 p.m. but wasn't over until nearly an hour later. ... The event was co-sanctioned by the Lucas Oil Midwest LateModel Racing Association.
On the move: Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., started 16th and finished second.
Winner's sponsors: Davenport’s Double L Motorsports Longhorn Chassis is powered by a Cornett Racing Engine and sponsored by Nutrien Ag Solutions, ASC Warranty, Spartan Mowers, Mark Martin Automotive, Lucas Oil, Mega Plumbing of the Carolinas, Center Point Graphics, Midwest Sheet Metal and Fatheadz Eyewear.
Points chase: After Wheatland: 1. Tim McCreadie (3,630); 2. Jonathan Davenport (3,560); 3. Hudson O’Neal (3,435); 4. Kyle Bronson (3,400); 5. Josh Richards (3,305); 6. Tyler Erb (3,225); 7. Shane Clanton (3,185); 8. Jimmy Owens (3,185); 9. Ricky Thornton Jr. (3,140); 10. Mike Marlar (3,120); 11. Earl Pearson Jr. (2,745); 12. Stormy Scott (2,465).
Current weather: Clear, 72°F
Car count: 34
Fast qualifier: Jimmy Owens
Time: 14.738 seconds
Polesitter: Stormy Scott
Heat race winners: Stormy Scott, Kyle Bronson, Jimmy Owens, Jonathan Davenport
Consolation race winners: Ricky Thornton Jr., Garrett Alberson
Provisional starters: Mike Marlar, Chris Ferguson, Tony Jackson Jr., Brennon Willard
Next series race: July 20, I-80 Speedway (Greenwood, NE) $7,000
Editor's note: Corrects Davenport’s series victory total to six sted five.
From staff and series reports

WHEATLAND, Mo. — On a night when the reigning series champion and two of the top three points contenders ran into trouble, Jonathan Davenport was counting his blessings — and $15,000 in earnings — in victory lane at Lucas Oil Speedway.

The Blairsville, Ga., driver avoided trouble on an attrition-filled night at the CMH Diamond Nationals and, as race-long leader and last year's champ Jimmy Owens found trouble on lap 29, led the rest of the 50-lapper for his sixth Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory of the season.

The fourth-starting Davenport kept 16th-starting Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., and Kyle Bronson of Brandon, Fla., in check late in the race for his 56th career victory on the national tour on a night where rain pushed back the night's action and provided a rugged surface requiring a red flag to allow drivers to swap muddy helmets.

"Those guys are really good in these conditions and this place never did slow down at all," Davenport said."I was figuring like maybe it would get a little black streak here and there, but it never did. You just had to search around and it finally started getting a little bit choppy there about halfway on, so you had move around just a little bit off the bottom. I was a little bit better right through the middle through (turns) three and four, but still you had to come back and hug the bottom off of (turn) two."

Davenport took the checkers 1.407 seconds ahead of Richards with Bronson in third. Pole-starting Stormy Scott of Las Cruces, N.M., held steady to finish fourth, his first top-five finish on the series since April 18, while Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., rebounded from a lap-five spin to finish fifth.

The race was as noteworthy for several drivers who ran into trouble in a race where only half the 26-car field completed 50 laps and just 15 were running at the finish.

Newport, Tenn.'s Owens led the first 28 laps, but just after Davenport took the lead exiting turn two, Mason Oberkramer's car appeared to lose power on the backstretch and Owens ran underneath the No. 93, causing nosepiece damage that forced Owens to pit. Third-running Shane Clanton was also caught up in the aftermath and pitted for repairs, returning to finish ninth.

Series points leader Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., struggled, started in 10th and dropping back to 20th before a lap-18 pit stop under caution. He was part of a lap-41 wreck and ended up 12th. And Hudson O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind., who entered the race tied with Davenport for second in the points chase, was in the middle of a pileup on lap-28 restart and retired in 19th.

Davenport didn't see what befell Owens, who is winless in 2021 after 12 victories in last year's title-winning season.

"Man, he's got the worst luck in the world," said Davenport, who chased Owens from the second position from laps 18-28 before taking command. "I hate it for him. He probably had the best car."

But he was glad to stay ahead of Richards and Bronson, who was making up ground on Davenport before a caution with nine laps remaining spoiled his momentum.

Richards barely survived his tangle with O'Neal on the lap-29 restart. Their cars got hung together battling for sixth entering turn three and triggered a pileup that collected Garrett Alberson, Spencer Hughes, Daniel Hilsabeck, Jason Papich, Tyler Erb and Chad Simpson. O'Neal's car was towed off the track.

"There was a lot of attrition there and Hud and I were racing hard down into (turn) three and I was low and he was in the middle and we got stuck there. I hate it for him," Richards said. "Jonathan did a great job. I felt like we had a car good enough to win if we'd gotten out front and got clean air, but we'll certainly take it."

Bronson felt he was in position to win but still logged his fourth consecutive top-five finish during an impressive summer stretch.

"My guys have been busting their butts, Tanner and D.J., they've been working really hard, so you know I want to get them a win there." Bronson said. "We had a pretty good car, really. I was just kind of riding there at the beginning and didn't want to blister no tires as fast as the track was. We was running good and I started running (down) Jonathan there with about 10 laps to go, I felt like I started running him down pretty good.

"The caution killed me there, but them guys have been good. We should've run second. I got hung up behind a street stock on the last lap, but that's the way it goes sometimes."

Besides the incidents that knocked Owens out of the lead and ended O'Neal's race, the 50-lapper was slowed by three other cautions.

On the 42nd lap, Alberson, Tony Jackson Jr. and Tim McCreadie ended up in a turn-three pileup that turned into a red flag.

Other slowdowns came for the sixth-running Pearson's spin in turn one on the fifth lap and on the 19th lap when last year's Diamond Nationals winner Chris Ferguson slowed with a shredded right-rear tire and retired.

The lap-28 incident involving Owens and Clanton also ended up as a red flag when officials allowed drivers to stop without penalty to change helmets. Several drivers were having vision issues in the muddy conditions.

Notes: Davenport carried the No. 08 on his car's roof as a tribute to Cherryville, N.C., driver Buddy Smith, who died recently. "We let him ride with us tonight," Davenport said in victory lane. ... Davenport previously on CMH Diamond Nationals features in 2015 and '19. ... The series returned to action after losing eight of its previous 10 scheduled events to rain, and Wheatland's race was seriously threatened by afternoon rain that pushed the event late. Officials shuffled the night's racing program to run the Late Model straight through with the undercard divisions hitting the track after the 50-lap main event.

Feature lineup

Row 1: Scott, Owens
Row 2: Bronson, Davenport
Row 3: Papich, Pearson Jr.
Row 4: Clanton, O'Neal
Row 5: McCreadie, Duty
Row 6: Marrant, Hilsabeck
Row 7: Hurst, Hughes
Row 8: Simpson, Richards
Row 9: Thornton Jr., Alberson
Row 10: Shirley, Oberkramer
Row 11: Erb, Millard
Row 12: Marlar, Ferguson
Row 13: Jackson Jr., Willard
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