Jonathan Davenport Grabs Victory No. 3

Jonathan Davenport races under Josh Richards (1) at Florida's Bubba Raceway Park. (Al Steinberg photo)

OCALA, Fla. — Jonathan Davenport’s return to the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series is off to a superb start, capturing his third series win of the year on Sunday night at Bubba Raceway Park.

Davenport became the third different leader of the 50-lap main event when he took the top spot for good on lap five from Tyler Erb.

Tim McCreadie and Erb started on the front row, with McCreadie leading the first two laps until Erb forged in front on lap three. When Davenport went by Erb two laps later, he never looked back, but was challenged late in the race by Earl Pearson Jr.

Pearson’s Lucas Oil Black Diamond Chassis finished in second with last year’s Lucas Oil Rookie of the Year, Hudson O’Neal coming home in third. Jimmy Owens was fourth with Kyle Bronson taking fifth.

“I thought I was going to turn over at the start. I didn’t know that hole was quite as big as it was,” said the 34-year-old winner. “Tyler [Erb] had a harder tire on at the start and I knew it wouldn’t fire after a few restarts. Our car was really good through the middle of the race. The slime came back up just a little bit. Then the rubber came back really really hard. I was just trying to protect my right rear tire. I was grinding on the right front and then I started to feel it vibrate.”

Jonathan Davenport (Jim DenHamer photo)

Pearson had his best finish of the season with a runner-up position to Davenport. Pearson closed on Davenport in the final laps to make the final outcome close.

“I knew that both of us were on soft tires,” said Pearson, who was referring to Davenport’s choice of tire as well. “I didn’t have much of a tire left. I just started riding to the end.”

The finish:

Jonathan Davenport, Earl Pearson Jr., Hudson O’Neal, Jimmy Owens, Kyle Bronson, Don O’Neal, Matt Cosner, Jason Fitzgerald, Scott Bloomquist, Chub Frank, Tim McCreadie, Brandon Sheppard, Gregg Satterlee, Doug Drown, Dennis Erb Jr., Josh Richards, Bobby Pierce, Darrell Lanigan, Morgan Bagley, Jeff Mathews, Boom Briggs, Tyler Erb, Brandon Overton, Tyler Clem.