Davenport Will Lead USA Nationals Field

Davenport Will Lead USA Nationals Field

Jonathan Davenport (Jacy Norgaard photo)

NEW RICHMOND, Wis. — The 35th annual USA Nationals at Cedar Lake Speedway will start how the 34th ended.

Defending USA Nationals champion Jonathan Davenport thundered to the lead from his second starting spot in Friday’s dash, leading all eight laps to earn the pole for Saturday’s 100-lap, $50,000-to-win finale.

Two rounds of Heat Races for the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series locked the top 16 drivers into the feature—while the top eight raced for a chance at the front row in the dash.

The drivers locked in are Jonathan Davenport, Chris Madden, Jake Timm, Tyler Erb, Brandon Sheppard, Bobby Pierce, Tanner English, Ashton Winger, Frank Heckenast Jr., Ricky Weiss, Jimmy Owens, Shane Clanton, Kyle Strickler, Ryan Gustin, Max Blair and Chad Mahder.

Despite ending the night in a position to succeed on Saturday, Davenport stated he needs to get better to take home $50,000 this weekend.

“Really, I didn’t feel that great car-wise,” Davenport said. “We got stuck with the toughest Heat I feel like in the first one when it was slimy. So, we had a lot of adversity go our way, but we battled through it, and that’s the easiest seven cars I’ve passed all year.

“We’ve still got work to do; I don’t feel like we’re good enough to win by any means, but I feel like we’re in contention.”

While “Superman” has won the USA Nationals twice, he’s yet to do it back-to-back. A victory on Saturday would only add to the Eldora Million winner’s career highlights.

“It’s a lot of luck to just get to the Feature here because of the passing points and the way the racetrack changes,” Davenport said. “I don’t think I’ve ever won a big event back-to-back that I can think of, so this will be, I think, the first time for any event, so it would be something special.”

Davenport has a familiar foe starting beside him for Saturday’s feature, as Chris Madden finished second.

The Gray Court, SC, driver, has already won four $50,000-to-win events in 2022 and is confident he can add another to his resume this weekend.

“We love this place, and we hope the weather doesn’t make it to where it’s hammer down or a Baja the whole race,” Madden said. “If it gets back to what we had (Friday), we’ll have a bunch of great racing, and I think we got a great race car.

“Hopefully, we can stay out of trouble for a little while and be there at the end. This race, sometimes the pace can be pretty fast to start with. They re-work it, and sometimes it can be pretty fast, so you have to know your boundaries and just stay within what you have and plan on racing there the last 20 laps.”

Jake Timm finished third in the dash holding off Tyler Erb, who earned the most passing points through the 10 CASE Construction Equipment Heat Races.

Four-time and reigning series champion Brandon Sheppard rounded out the top five.

Another driver who gained momentum entering Saturday’s portion of USA Nationals was Garrett Smith, who won the special standalone FANS Fund Dash worth $3,000.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.