Jonathan Davenport did not have a terrible season in 2020 by any means. The star driver scored five race wins including a $50,000 triumph in the Intercontinental Classic at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway during the same slot on the calendar that would have featured the World 100 under normal circumstances. The Blairsville, GA native ended his season on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series in the third spot of the final standings with three tour wins.
That said, however, the number of wins scored last year did fall short of the often gaudy numbers we’re used to seeing from this 37-year-old racer. The three-time LOLMDS champion himself admitted that his team was “a little bit off last season” in a recent interview with InsideDirtRacing.com. As a result, he and his Lance Landers-owned operation went to work to build a new No. 49 machine for the purpose of returning to their dominating ways.
If the very small sample of early results serve as any indication, those efforts seem to be paying dividends.
Davenport and his team journeyed west this January for the Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout at FK Rod Ends Arizona Speedway in Queen Creek, AZ and immediately found his way to victory lane. On Saturday night, the Longhorn Chassis car scored its first feature win of the season and earned $5,000 for the team in the process.
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That victory was followed up by a runner-up finish on Sunday evening after charging from the fifth starting position to the lead before being passed just after the halfway mark in another $5,000-to-win event.
But in winning one race and finishing second in another, “Superman” might have found a bit of kyrptonite as he had to fight off a very determined Ricky Thornton, Jr. on night one then was passed for the lead by the Arizona native on the second evening of racing action in the desert.
Thornton and his SSI Motorsports team plan to run the full LOLMDS schedule in 2021 and will likely serve as one of numerous contenders for race wins and the championship on that tour.
Again, this is a very small sample size and in no way offers enough evidence to suggest that this driver will produce another season like the one he had in 2015, but the early returns do seem to indicate that Jonathan Davenport is well into the process of going back to being … Jonathan Davenport.
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