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Davenport Continues Wheatland Dominance--Wins MLRA Spring Nationals Opener


Lucas Oil MLRA

Davenport Continues Wheatland Dominance--Wins MLRA Spring Nationals Opener

Wheatland, MO (April 12, 2024) – On the heels of a 2023 campaign that found him in victory lane four times at the Lucas Oil Speedway, Jonathan Davenport picked up right where he left off, as he again visited victory lane on night # 1 of the 11th Annual MLRA “Spring Nationals” Presented by Arizona Sport Shirts.

A total of 44 cars checked in to contend for the $7,000 weekend opener, with Davenport scoring the win in his respective heat race behind the wheel of a new Longhorn chassis, after he collected the nights MyRacePass “Fast Time” Award with a lap of 14.802 seconds.

Heat one winner Garrett Smith led the field to the green for the 40 lapper alongside Davenport, but series officials deemed that Smith jumped the initial start prior to the Nutrien Ag Solutions start zone, resulting in him being set back one row for the restart. Davenport would take advantage and grab the early race lead. A total of three cautions slowed the pace during the opening nine laps all while Davenport was able to fend off all challengers.

Smith quickly found himself back in the second spot, but locked in a heated side-by-side battle with Mason Zeigler. The field began to work lapped traffic by lap 24, and just one lap later disaster struck Smith, as he got high exciting turn four and made heavy contact with the wall resulting in damage to his XR1 Rocket Chassis that would end his night. The restart would set up a 15-lap dash to the finish with seventh starting Ricky Thornton Jr. now up to second.

JD would again move out to a comfortable lead only to see it slip away in the closing laps. With Thornton navigating the low line, he began to close ground on the leader as Davenport had to contend with heavy lapped traffic. In the end, Davenport went on to score his 13th career Lucas Oil MLRA late model feature and 11th all time at the Lucas Oil Speedway by 1.029 seconds. Thornton Jr., who won the season opener one year ago settled for second, with Ziegler finishing 3rd in his first start of the season. Garrett Alberson and two time series champion Tony Jackson Jr. rounded out the top five.

“This place just fits me,” commented Davenport following the win. “It constantly changes and gives us all a curve ball for sure. It feels good to come back after that special win with SRX Series, that was definitely cool.”

While Davenport has a perfect score on the night from start to finished, he noted that he wasn’t surprised to see Thornton applying pressure by the conclusion of the 40 lapper.

“You never know who is coming from behind. Ricky didn’t qualify very well, so I knew he would be coming up through there and there were several other cars that didn’t get a good qualifying lap in. That’s one thing about Wheatland, if you don’t like the race track just wait a minute because its going to change. It didn’t quite get as slick tonight as I thought it would, the top stayed there a whole lot longer than I thought it would. We really over tightened and probably shouldn’t have messed with it too much, but we thought we’d try a couple things with this new car and see how it would react.”

Thornton echoed the sentiments of Davenport in saying, “Early in the night we were about a second off the pace of these guys, so we will see if we can get a little better early in the night and start a little further forward. I felt like as the track slowed down our car really came to us,” noted Thornton Jr.

“I was really good on the bottom, and actually I didn’t want that last yellow to come out Under yellow they moved all of the tires back out on us, so the bottom was kind of destroyed after that. Hopefully tomorrow if we knock the tires in a little bit, they will leave them in.”

Zigler started and stayed in the top three for the entire event for his first podium on the year. “I was just a little too tight to be maneuverable right there in the feature. But yeah, first night out feels really good. I think I have a general idea as to what we did that made us a little too snug to get down in the bottom when I needed to in traffic. I'm happy were here for two nights so we can give it another shot tomorrow.”

Saturday nights MLRA “Spring Nationals” Finale will feature a 60-lap showdown paying an event record $20,000 to the winner. Prior to the start of the finale MLRA officials and drivers will pay tribute to longtime series photographer and official Lloyd Collins who recently passed after a battle with cancer.

Lucas Oil Speedway Contingencies 4/12/24
Lap Leaders – Jonathan Davenport (1 -40 )
Cautions – 4

MyRacePass “Overall Fast Time Award" – Jonathan Davenport (14.802 sec.)
Outerwears Crew Chief of the Race – Cory Fostvedt
MD3 "Most Laps Led" – Jonathan Davenport (40)
Swift Springs “Move of the Race” – Justin Duty
Sunoco Race Fuel “Rookie of the Race” – Aaron Marrant
Hooker Harness "11th Place Finisher" – Jeff Herzog
PEM Racing "4th Place Finisher" – Garrett Alberson
Fluidyne: "5th Place Finisher: – Tony Jackson Jr.
Sunoco "Engine Builders Challenge" – Clements
Midwest Sheet Metal "Points Leader Spoiler Challenge" – Tony Jackson Jr.
MSD Performance Holley: “1st B-Main NON-Qualifier” – Daulton Wilson
MD3 Last Place Finisher: – Matt Johnson

Arizona Sport Shirt A Main
40 Laps | 00:34:00.841

  1. 49-Jonathan Davenport[2]; 2. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[7]; 3. 25Z-Mason Zeigler[3]; 4. 58-Garrett Alberson[4]; 5. 25-Tony Jackson Jr[5]; 6. 25S-Chad Simpson[6]; 7. 157-Mike Marlar[15]; 8. 49W-Justin Wells[14]; 9. 15-Justin Duty[23]; 10. 32S-Chris Simpson[10]; 11. 11-Jeff Herzog[12]; 12. 11T-Trevor Gundaker[22]; 13. 36-Logan Martin[9]; 14. 7W-Cole Wells[21]; 15. 22H-Dustin Hodges[11]; 16. (DNF) 8-Dillon McCowan[8]; 17. (DNF) 29-Rodney Sanders[13]; 18. (DNF) 11G-Gordy Gundaker[20]; 19. (DNF) 10S-Garrett Smith[1]; 20. (DNF) 93-Mason Oberkramer[24]; 21. (DNF) 3W-Brennon Willard[25]; 22. (DNF) 1XM-Aaron Marrant[17]; 23. (DNF) 2-Tyler Stevens[18]; 24. (DNF) 7D-Dusty Leonard[19]; 25. (DNF) 1XMJ-Matt Johnson[16]

B1- FAST Shafts
12 Laps | 00:10:47.968

  1. 1XM-Aaron Marrant[1]; 2. 7D-Dusty Leonard[5]; 3. 7W-Cole Wells[9]; 4. 3W-Brennon Willard[2]; 5. 18D-Daulton Wilson[11]; 6. 15-Justin Duty[7]; 7. 8K-Tyler Kuykendall[4]; 8. 15S-Clayton Stuckey[6]; 9. 96-Dalton Imhoff[8]; 10. 65-Jon Binning[12]; 11. 93-Mason Oberkramer[10]; 12. USA1-Chris Hawkins[13]; 13. (DNF) 10-Jacob Magee[3]; 14. (DNS) 1A-Bryon Allison

B2- Wieland
12 Laps | 00:07:24.109

  1. 2-Tyler Stevens[1]; 2. 11G-Gordy Gundaker[4]; 3. 11T-Trevor Gundaker[5]; 4. 76-Blair Nothdurft[7]; 5. 17A-Austin Howes[8]; 6. 82-Jace Parmley[3]; 7. 44W-David Webster[10]; 8. 17T-Jeremy Tharp[14]; 9. 1/4-Jaxon Ertel[2]; 10. 67-Jimmy Vanzandt[9]; 11. (DNF) 78S-Steve Stultz[6]; 12. (DNS) 28G-Jim Greenway; 13. (DNS) 46-Earl Pearson Jr; 14. (DNS) 26-Glen Powell

H1-Flo Sports
8 Laps | 00:05:20.376

  1. 10S-Garrett Smith[1]; 2. 25-Tony Jackson Jr[4]; 3. 36-Logan Martin[5]; 4. 29-Rodney Sanders[6]; 5. 1XM-Aaron Marrant[10]; 6. 10-Jacob Magee[2]; 7. 7D-Dusty Leonard[3]; 8. 15-Justin Duty[8]; 9. 7W-Cole Wells[11]; 10. 18D-Daulton Wilson[7]; 11. USA1-Chris Hawkins[9]

H2-Simpson Race Products
8 Laps | 00:04:14.186

  1. 25Z-Mason Zeigler[1]; 2. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[3]; 3. 22H-Dustin Hodges[2]; 4. 157-Mike Marlar[8]; 5. 3W-Brennon Willard[4]; 6. 8K-Tyler Kuykendall[10]; 7. 15S-Clayton Stuckey[7]; 8. 96-Dalton Imhoff[6]; 9. 93-Mason Oberkramer[9]; 10. 65-Jon Binning[11]; 11. (DNF) 1A-Bryon Allison[5]

H3-Earnhardt Technologies
8 Laps | 00:02:31.480

  1. 49-Jonathan Davenport[1]; 2. 25S-Chad Simpson[3]; 3. 32S-Chris Simpson[4]; 4. 49W-Justin Wells[2]; 5. 2-Tyler Stevens[5]; 6. 82-Jace Parmley[6]; 7. 11T-Trevor Gundaker[7]; 8. 76-Blair Nothdurft[9]; 9. 67-Jimmy Vanzandt[10]; 10. 26-Glen Powell[11]; 11. 28G-Jim Greenway[8]

H4- Lucas Oil
8 Laps | 00:06:47.430

  1. 58-Garrett Alberson[1]; 2. 8-Dillon McCowan[2]; 3. 11-Jeff Herzog[3]; 4. 1XMJ-Matt Johnson[5]; 5. 1/4-Jaxon Ertel[4]; 6. 11G-Gordy Gundaker[9]; 7. 78S-Steve Stultz[6]; 8. 17A-Austin Howes[10]; 9. 44W-David Webster[7]; 10. (DNF) 46-Earl Pearson Jr[8]; 11. (DNF) 17T-Jeremy Tharp[11]

Article Credit: Billy Rock

Submitted By: Billy Rock

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Lucas Oil MLRAas of 5/5/2024
  • 1.Chad Simpson 605pts
  • 2.Chris Simpson 565pts
  • 3.Gordy Gundaker 540pts
  • 4.Tony Jackson Jr540pts
  • 5.Trevor Gundaker 490pts
  • 6.Justin Duty 475pts
  • 7.Dillon McCowan 460pts
  • 8.Jeff Herzog 455pts
  • 9.Earl Pearson Jr445pts
  • 10.Aaron Marrant 390pts
Full Points