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Ferguson holds off Davenport at the line for thrilling Diamond Nationals win at Lucas Oil Speedway

Sunday, July 19, 2020

WHEATLAND, MO (July 19, 2020) - It took a while to get there, but the final lap around Sunday night's CMH Diamond Nationals Presented by Super Clean was a thriller.

Chris Ferguson, in just his second race at Lucas Oil Speedway, beat Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Georgia, at the finish line by half a car length. The Mt. Holly, North Carolina driver pocketed $12,000 for victory.

Davenport briefly passed Ferguson late in the race before Davenport regained the lead and then held on on the final lap, making the outside line stick out of turn four to prevail by a half-car length.

"I could see Jonathan on the big screen, going into (turn) three," the 30-year-old Ferguson said after his second career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win. "He was floating a little bit better than I was.

"Man, that was a hard race. Hats off to Jonathan. He's the best in the country. To race door-to-door with him for a win, it's a dream come true."

The start of the 50-lap main event was delayed for two hours after light-but-persistent rain started to fall as the cars rolled onto the track the first time for the feature.

Once it got rolling, laps times and were fast and the action frantic on the re-worked track. The feature had six cautions, the final one on lap 39 to set up a shoot-out between the top two and third-place Shane Clanton.

"Our car seemed to get better as we went," Davenport said. "Me and Chris put on a heck of a show. The gloves were off and we raced each other clean. I tried to give him room when I tried to slide him over here in (turn) one and tried to come back on the outside.

"We hit going down the back straightaway. As soon as I turned in, I bottomed out so I actually turned in and didn't get to slide across the race track. Congratulations to him."

Several contenders fell by the wayside in the first half of the race. Billy Moyer was running fifth when he slowed suddenly on lap five, bringing out the caution. Moyer took over the lead on lap eight, but Ferguson regained it the next time around.

At the time of the caution, Shannon Buckingham was second with Jimmy Owens third and Billy Moyer Jr. in fourth. Owens moved past Buckingham and into second after the restart and, by lap 25, the top three were separated by just one second.

Tanner English spun on the front straightaway to bring out a lap-29 caution. Shane Clanton by then had moved into fourth, behind the leading trio. Meanwhile, Moyer Jr. had to pull off as well.

The ensuing restart didn't even complete a lap as a multi-car tangle on the backstretch, involving Jesse Stovall, Will Vaught, Jonathan Davenport, Kyle Bronson and Chad Simpson.

At that point, with 21 laps to go, the race was red-flagged to allow drivers to change helmets. Due to the dirt build up from the wet track, drivers had exhausted tear-offs on their helmets and visibility was poor.

Four-time Diamond Nationals winner Owens, the series points leader, used the opportunity to also change a tire that was losing air pressure. He had to restart in 20th instead of second.

They ran just one lap before the fifth-caution, for a slowing Tyler Erb. In that green-flag lap, Clanton zipped from fourth to second and Davenport from sixth to third.

Davenport continued his charge, moving into second on the restart. Meanwhile, fifth-running Mike Marler slowed coming out of turn four and brought out another caution on lap 33.

As Davenport continued to apply pressure to Ferguson, Owens had to pit on lap 39 after he had worked his way back to seventh. He wound up 15th.

From there on, it was a battle between Ferguson and Davenport. Clanton finished third with Rick Eckert fourth and Buckingham fifth.

"I'll tell you man, God is great. I can't even believe we're here," Ferguson said. "I have so many people to thank. If it wasn't for my sponsors, I wouldn't be here right now.

"This is something I've dreamed off for a long time, to come out here to a race track like this and for it to end like this. It's just awesome."

Forty four cars with drivers representing 18 states checked into the pits for the second half of the big weekend doubleheader.

Ferguson, who finished fourth in Saturday's Show-Me 100, set fast qualifying time in Group A and overall at 14.83 seconds. Buckingham of Morristown, Tennessee, third in the Show-Me 100, paced Group B at 15.09.

Ferguson drove to a wire-to-wire first-heat victory to nail down the pole for the main event. Buckingham captured the third heat and grabbed the outside row one feature starting position.

Payton Looney of Republic, winner of the Show-Me 100, had to use an MLRA provisional and started the main event in 26th. Looney pulled off the track on lap six, the first car out of the race.

CMH Diamond Nationals Presented by Super Clean
CMH Diamond Nationals (50 Laps): 1. 22F-Chris Ferguson[1]; 2. 49-Jonathan Davenport[9]; 3. 25-Shane Clanton[7]; 4. 0E-Rick Eckert[12]; 5. 50-Shanon Buckingham[2]; 6. 40B-Kyle Bronson[17]; 7. 8-Kyle Strickler[22]; 8. 16-Tyler Bruening[21]; 9. 14-Josh Richards[24]; 10. 39-Tim McCreadie[18]; 11. 21-Billy Moyer Jr[4]; 12. 81E-Tanner English[25]; 13. 9-Devin Moran[15]; 14. 00-Jesse Stovall[11]; 15. 20-Jimmy Owens[5]; 16. 57-Mike Marlar[6]; 17. 1T-Tyler Erb[23]; 18. 1V-Will Vaught[14]; 19. 1C-Chad Simpson[13]; 20. 1ST-Johnny Scott[10]; 21. 32B-Cody Laney[16]; 22. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[19]; 23. 21M-Billy Moyer Sr[3]; 24. 93-Mason Oberkramer[20]; 25. 1-Earl Pearson Jr[8]; 26. 58-Jeremiah Hurst[27]; 27. 15L-Payton Looney[26]

B-Main 1 Tiger Rear Ends (12 Laps): 1. 40B-Kyle Bronson[2]; 2. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[4]; 3. 16-Tyler Bruening[6]; 4. 75-Terry Phillips[3]; 5. 14-Josh Richards[8]; 6. 59-Garrett Alberson[10]; 7. 12D-Doug Drown[5]; 8. 1X-Aaron Marrant[9]; 9. 91T-Tony Toste[11]; 10. 6H-Al Humphrey[12]; 11. 3W-Brennon Willard[13]; 12. 81E-Tanner English[1]; 13. 50X-Kaeden Cornell[7]; 14. (DNS) 56-Tony Jackson Jr

B-Main 2 Fast Shafts (12 Laps): 1. 39-Tim McCreadie[2]; 2. 93-Mason Oberkramer[4]; 3. 8-Kyle Strickler[6]; 4. 91P-Jason Papich[3]; 5. 58-Jeremiah Hurst[5]; 6. 15D-Justin Duty[9]; 7. 22H-Daniel Hilsabeck[8]; 8. 78S-Steve Stultz[10]; 9. 21F-Johnny Fennewald[11]; 10. 12C-Scott Crigler[7]; 11. 53-Andrew Kosiski[12]; 12. 1T-Tyler Erb[1]; 13. (DNS) 15L-Payton Looney; 14. (DNS) 2S-Stormy Scott

Heat 1 Penske Shocks (10 Laps): 1. 22F-Chris Ferguson[1]; 2. 20-Jimmy Owens[3]; 3. 49-Jonathan Davenport[2]; 4. 1C-Chad Simpson[5]; 5. 81E-Tanner English[8]; 6. 75-Terry Phillips[4]; 7. 12D-Doug Drown[10]; 8. 50X-Kaeden Cornell[9]; 9. 1X-Aaron Marrant[6]; 10. 91T-Tony Toste[7]; 11. 3W-Brennon Willard[11]
Heat 2 FK Rods (10 Laps): 1. 21M-Billy Moyer Sr[1]; 2. 25-Shane Clanton[2]; 3. 00-Jesse Stovall[6]; 4. 9-Devin Moran[4]; 5. 40B-Kyle Bronson[8]; 6. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[3]; 7. 16-Tyler Bruening[5]; 8. 14-Josh Richards[9]; 9. 59-Garrett Alberson[7]; 10. 6H-Al Humphrey[10]; 11. (DNS) 56-Tony Jackson Jr.
 Heat 3 Simpson Race Products (10 Laps): 1. 50-Shanon Buckingham[1]; 2. 57-Mike Marlar[4]; 3. 1ST-Johnny Scott[6]; 4. 1V-Will Vaught[5]; 5. 1T-Tyler Erb[3]; 6. 91P-Jason Papich[7]; 7. 58-Jeremiah Hurst[9]; 8. 12C-Scott Crigler[10]; 9. 15D-Justin Duty[8]; 10. 21F-Johnny Fennewald[11]; 11. 15L-Payton Looney[2]
Heat 4 Ohlins Shocks (10 Laps): 1. 21-Billy Moyer Jr[1]; 2. 1-Earl Pearson Jr[2]; 3. 0E-Rick Eckert[4]; 4. 32B-Cody Laney[3]; 5. 39-Tim McCreadie[5]; 6. 93-Mason Oberkramer[6]; 7. 8-Kyle Strickler[9]; 8. 22H-Daniel Hilsabeck[11]; 9. 78S-Steve Stultz[10]; 10. 53-Andrew Kosiski[8]; 11. 2S-Stormy Scott[7]

Group A Time Trials (2 Laps): 1. 22F-Chris Ferguson, 00:14.838[5]; 2. 21M-Billy Moyer Sr, 00:14.912[6]; 3. 49-Jonathan Davenport, 00:14.989[9]; 4. 25-Shane Clanton, 00:15.045[20]; 5. 20-Jimmy Owens, 00:15.047[17]; 6. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr, 00:15.103[22]; 7. 75-Terry Phillips, 00:15.133[2]; 8. 9-Devin Moran, 00:15.212[4]; 9. 1C-Chad Simpson, 00:15.285[14]; 10. 16-Tyler Bruening, 00:15.285[18]; 11. 1X-Aaron Marrant, 00:15.389[13]; 12. 00-Jesse Stovall, 00:15.392[8]; 13. 91T-Tony Toste, 00:15.396[19]; 14. 59-Garrett Alberson, 00:15.400[15]; 15. 81E-Tanner English, 00:15.426[21]; 16. 40B-Kyle Bronson, 00:15.432[16]; 17. 50X-Kaeden Cornell, 00:15.528[1]; 18. 14-Josh Richards, 00:15.576[7]; 19. 12D-Doug Drown, 00:15.582[11]; 20. 6H-Al Humphrey, 00:15.780[10]; 21. 3W-Brennon Willard, 00:15.821[3]; 22. (DNS) 56-Tony Jackson Jr, 00:58.800

Group B Time Trials (2 Laps): 1. 50-Shanon Buckingham, 00:15.095[9]; 2. 21-Billy Moyer Jr, 00:15.235[15]; 3. 15L-Payton Looney, 00:15.275[5]; 4. 1-Earl Pearson Jr, 00:15.368[6]; 5. 1T-Tyler Erb, 00:15.381[19]; 6. 32B-Cody Laney, 00:15.386[18]; 7. 57-Mike Marlar, 00:15.400[13]; 8. 0E-Rick Eckert, 00:15.412[3]; 9. 1V-Will Vaught, 00:15.495[20]; 10. 39-Tim McCreadie, 00:15.519[14]; 11. 1ST-Johnny Scott, 00:15.525[22]; 12. 93-Mason Oberkramer, 00:15.532[11]; 13. 91P-Jason Papich, 00:15.552[21]; 14. 2S-Stormy Scott, 00:15.610[2]; 15. 15D-Justin Duty, 00:15.641[12]; 16. 53-Andrew Kosiski, 00:15.667[1]; 17. 58-Jeremiah Hurst, 00:15.689[10]; 18. 8-Kyle Strickler, 00:15.838[8]; 19. 12C-Scott Crigler, 00:15.861[4]; 20. 78S-Steve Stultz, 00:16.041[17]; 21. 21F-Johnny Fennewald, 00:16.155[16]; 22. (DNS) 22H-Daniel Hilsabeck, 00:59.801

Original article by the Lucas Oil Speedway