Still winless Jonathan Davenport comes up one lap shy at Wythe

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Jonathan Davenport came close to earning his first victory at Wythe

The Southern Nationals family of races promoted by Ray Cook often play out to a distance of 53 laps rather than the more traditional 50 because of 53 being the promoter’s car number when he himself races. Those extra laps proved to be detrimental to Jonathan Davenport’s hopes of winning Friday night’s Schaeffer’s Oil Spring Nationals event held at the Wythe Raceway.

As explained in an article posted on this website earlier in the season, Davenport and his team are being a bit more selective in the races they run this season compared to previous campaigns. As a result, the Blairsville, Georgia has had fewer starts than many of the other stars of Dirt Late Model racing so far in 2022. And more, with the fact that he is only competing in the bigger shows, every event he enters will feature a field stacked with the top drivers and teams in the sport.

Still, had someone offered a bet that the 38-year-old former Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion and multiple-time crown jewel winner would be without a victory in mid April, there likely would have been quite a few takers.

It looked as if Davenport was set to finally add another winner’s trophy to his already abundant collection on Friday at the Rural Retreat, Virginia track. After setting the second fastest time in qualifying, Davenport won the second of three heat races to assure himself of a front row starting position.

The No. 49 Longhorn Chassis machine immediately went to the race lead when the green flag waved to start the feature race. Meanwhile, Brandon Overton was working his way toward the front of the pack after firing off from the fourth spot on the grid.

Following a lap 18 caution brought on by the slowing car of pole sitter Chris Madden, the feature would stay under green flag conditions for the rest of the way. Overton, who had moved into second after passing Madden earlier, began to harass Davenport for the lead at that point. That harassment would continue over the remaining laps as the No. 76 Longhorn Chassis was able to run a bit lower on the track and maneuvered under Davenport for a peek at the lead of the race multiple times.

Just after the lead duo took the white flag, Overton again went to the bottom in turns one and two. This time the move stuck and the pair drag raced down the backstretch with Overton claiming the top spot in turn three then going on to the finish line in front.

In his post-race interview with FloRacing.com, Davenport pointed out that his car’s handling had been going away as the race wore on.

“We had a real good car early,” the runner-up finisher explained. “My guys, when I jumped on the motorcycle to come over here, said the left rear was flat. Brandon had a little bit harder right front tire on and I just got to where I couldn’t turn into the corner, I just got tighter and tighter. There more I tried to slow up and move down, there worse it made me on exit. He did a great job and I just couldn’t hold him off.”

The bid for the first win of the season came up one lap shy,

“I held him off for probably 20 laps there, but I just couldn’t hold him off for 21.”

Please consider also reading:

Brandon Overton uses last lap pass to claim Spring Nats victory at Wythe

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