From Mike Warren / worldofoutlaws.com
Jonathan Davenport showed one of his critical abilities Friday at Mississippi Thunder Speedway—the power to conserve.
“Superman” spent the first half of the race searching for the right line before catching fire in the last 20 laps to score the win the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series win on night two of the Dairyland Showdown.
Davenport thundered to the bottom of the speedway, picking off cars one by one before rolling past Tyler Erb with seven laps remaining, a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.
The Blairsville, GA driver conserved his equipment after track officials reworked the surface before the Feature.
“I kind of ran around the bottom at first and kind of conserved tires for a little bit, trying not to blister them too early,” Davenport said. “[Track crews] went and farmed the racetrack, and they did a really good job.
“It was pretty racy, so we just tried not to overheat our tires, to begin with, and once some people did, they started getting loose getting in the corner, and I could get by a couple on the bottom, then I moved to the top and got by one or two more. I just got some runs, and for me, there weren’t any cautions, so everyone was still searching.”
Davenport’s win is the second World of Outlaws win of the season and the 12th of his career. It’s also “Superman’s” fourth win in the last two weeks. He stated a few changes led to his recent hot streak.
“We were just missing a little something, and we just kept changing little things,” Davenport said. “We hit on a little something we think, and we’re just sticking with that.
“Today, everything went our way. We didn’t really get that good of a draw but ultimately, I think it helped us in the end.”
While Davenport passed Tyler Erb for the lead, the New Waverly, TX driver couldn’t defend his lead. A right rear flat tire cost him a chance at the $10,000 prize.
“Terbo” fought to survive the last few laps, crossing the line third.
“With like 10 to go, I guess someone got into me, and it started rubbing the tire and wore three of the center blocks out,” Erb said. “When I finally saw [Davenport] was beneath me, I went to turn down one lap, and it was like terrible.
“Once JD passed me, I was just trying to survive, so I moved all the way to the bottom, and something wasn’t right.”
Bobby Pierce finished second, his second podium finish of the weekend. Like Davenport, Pierce bided his time before charging to the front.
“We were kind of sitting around there in fifth and saw we were already at halfway, and I was like, man, we have to start making something happen,” Pierce said. “[Davenport], me and him were battling, and he kind of started to take off, and then shortly after I started to pass them guys, too.
“Luckily, we were able to get to second at the very end. We needed a caution before we could see if we had anything for JD.”
Spencer Hughes crossed the line fourth, his first top-five in World of Outlaws competition. The Meridian, MS driver felt it was a breath of fresh air after struggling early in the season.
“That’s our first time here, and it feels good to finally put together a good run for our team,” Hughes said. “We’ve been really, a nice way to put it is struggling this year. We hadn’t been putting together many really good runs at all, so this is very important to our season.”
Cade Dillard finished fifth, his second top-five of the weekend. The Robeline, LA driver, led a few laps early but struggled with the handling on his Black Diamond chassis.
“I could tell at the beginning of the race we didn’t have the car to win,” Dillard said. “I knew I was a little too free too early, so the longer the race went on, the freer I got and probably hurt the tire.”
Series points leader Dennis Erb Jr. finished 14th but extended his lead on Max Blair to 60 points.
The World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models are back at Mississippi Thunder Speedway for the final night of the Dairyland Showdown—a 75-lap Feature paying $50,000-to-win.
CASE Construction Equipment Feature (40 Laps):
1. 49-Jonathan Davenport; 2. 32P-Bobby Pierce; 3. 1T-Tyler Erb; 4. 11H-Spencer Hughes; 5. 97-Cade Dillard; 6. 20-Jimmy Owens; 7. 18C-Chase Junghans; 8. 19R-Ryan Gustin; 9. 81E-Tanner English; 10. 2S-Stormy Scott; 11. 25S-Chad Simpson; 12. 58-Garrett Alberson; 13. 16-Tyler Bruening; 14. 28-Dennis Erb Jr; 15. 3S-Brian Shirley; 16. B1-Brent Larson; 17. 111V-Max Blair; 18. 11J-James Giossi; 19. 1-Josh Richards; 20. B9-Brandon Sheppard; 21. 49T-Jake Timm; 22. 99B-Boom Briggs; 23. 11-Gordy Gundaker; 24. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr; 25. 45-Kyle Hammer; 26. 7X-Jesse Glenz
Photo's: Jacy Norgaard / worldofoutlaws.com