From Brandon Paul / floracing.com
Becoming a millionaire isn't easy. On Thursday night at Eldora Speedway, that proved to be true for dirt late model racer Jonathan Davenport.
The driver nicknamed "Superman" held off fierce challenges from a pair of the best drivers in the country to win the second running of the Eldora Million and claim the $1,002,022 prize.
"This is a life-changing moment for sure," Davenport said as he struggled to find words to describe how he felt. "Just looking out and seeing all of ya'll listen to what I have to say is incredible. Wow, I just can't put it into words yet. It's probably not going to sink in until we get that money in the bank account. It's definitely going to change my life and hopefully my son and daughter's. Me and [car owner] Lance [Landers] are going to take this million and make two with it."
Starting from the outside pole, Davenport jumped out to the lead on the opening lap and built up a lead of more than six seconds before the competition began closing in.
Tim McCreadie charged from his ninth starting position to close in on Davenport's bumper in lapped traffic prior to the first caution of the race with 17 laps to go. On the restart, McCreadie took over the lead on lap 84 before Davenport threw a slider to reclaim the lead one lap later. McCreadie battled back to the lead on the following lap and held the top spot when the the second caution of the race occurred.
On the restart, Davenport powered back to the top spot and appeared well on his way to the $1 million victory until a flat right tire on McCreadie's car brought out the yellow flag with two laps to go. That set up a green-white-checkered finish with Davenport choosing the outside and a new challenger, Chris Madden, on his inside.
Madden threw a massive slider to move in front of Davenport in turn one, and Davenport returned the favor in turn three. From there, Davenport pulled away on the final lap to secure the $1,002,022 payday.
"What a hell of a race. These guys gave me one hell of a race car," Davenport said in victory lane. "Me and Timmy are good friends. When it comes to a million dollars, I wouldn't want to wreck him and he wasn't going to wreck me. We were going to race each other hard. Then Madden, me and him have had our differences growing up but I think we finally put that behind us. For him to slide me and then me slide him back with one or two to go, that's just a hell of a feeling."
Madden, who started the race in 19th, held on to collect $100,000 for his second-place finish. Devin Moran, the son of 2001 Eldora Million winner Donnie Moran, completed the podium.
McCreadie finished fourth after leading a pair of laps during his battle with Davenport. Chris Ferguson, who won a preliminary race earlier in the day, completed the top five.
Adding in the $12,000 preliminary victory he scored Thursday afternoon, Davenport collected a total of $1,014,022 at the Eldora Million.
He'll now look to add to the total on Friday and Saturday during the Dirt Late Model Dream, which will pay $129,000 to the winner of Saturday's main event.
Eldora Million A-Feature – (101)Laps:
1. 49-Jonathan Davenport; 2. 44-Chris Madden; 3. 9-Devin Moran; 4. 39-Tim McCreadie; 5. 22-Chris Ferguson; 6. 17M-Dale McDowell; 7. 157-Mike Marlar; 8. 40B-Kyle Bronson; 9. 1-Brandon Sheppard; 10. 71-Hudson O’Neal; 11. 32P-Bobby Pierce; 12. 46-Earl Pearson Jr; 13. 7-Ricky Weiss; 14. 11H-Spencer Hughes; 15. 28-Dennis Erb Jr; 16. 1ST-Johnny Scott; 17. 22S-Gregg Satterlee; 18. 29-Darrell Lanigan; 19. 20-Jimmy Owens; 20. 88-Trent Ivey; 21. 18-Shannon Babb; 22. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr; 23. 2H-Nick Hoffman; 24. 25-Shane Clanton
See the full story here
Photo: Tyler Carr / eldoraspeedway.com
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