Jonathan Davenport has had a remarkable campaign in 2018. The Blairsville, Georgia driver has taken a total of 13 checkered flags so far this year as well as the season-long championship for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. Furthermore, the No. 49 Longhorn Chassis pulled into victory lane in the $53,000-to-win Silver Dollar Nationals at Nebraska’s I-80 Speedway and the $20,000-to-win King of the Commonwealth at the Virginia Motor Speedway to score the Lance Landers-owned team’s most lucrative victories.
By almost any standards those are the landmarks of a great season.
But it has to be remembered that this is the driver who pieced together the greatest season any Dirt Late Model racer has ever achieved back in 2015. There will always be some on social media or message boards who will raise the comparison of Davenport’s efforts against those of that magical year. And while that comparison may not necessarily be fair, it is actually a great compliment to this driver and team.
After all, if you are going to have to be compared against someone’s greatness, it might as well be your own, right?
When it was announced in November of 2017 that Davenport would be reunited with engineer Kevin Rumley, with whom he partnered in 2015 with the K&L Rumley team to score a total of 23 victories(including nine that paid $20,000 or more), many predicted similar results for this year. And while Davenport, Rumley, and the entire No. 49 crew would no doubt have loved to post those kinds of results again, that’s a very tough standard to be held to, even for a guy who carries the nickname ‘Superman’.
Davenport’s fourth place finish on Sunday in the Pittsburgher 100 assured ‘The Fast 49’ of the second LOLMDS title of his career. Any championship won against the likes of Richards, Bloomquist, Pearson, Owens, McCreadie, O’Neal and the other Lucas Oil series regulars is worthy of celebration.
Without doubt, Jonathan Davenport has had a great season. For many Dirt Late Model drivers, it would have been a career-best campaign. However, for this driver the career-best is an incredible measure. But don’t forget there are still some pretty big races yet to be run and the No. 49 team will go into those events without having to worry about points.