Overton Fights Off Davenport At East Bay

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Brandon Overton (76) and Jonathan Davenport, shown at Golden Isles Speedway, battled for the victory Tuesday at East Bay Raceway Park. (Heath Lawson photo)
Brandon Overton (76) and Jonathan Davenport, shown at Golden Isles Speedway, battled for the victory Tuesday at East Bay Raceway Park. (Heath Lawson photo)

GIBSONTON, Fla. — Brandon Overton fought off several tough challengers as he went to Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Victory Lane on Tuesday night at East Bay Raceway Park.

Overton held the lead for the first 12 laps of the 40-lap main event. Jonathan Davenport shot around him on a restart and led three circuits, but Overton never gave up and recaptured the lead on lap 16 as he chased his first Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory of the season.

Davenport had to fight off repeated challenges from Jimmy Owens to hold on to the second spot at the end. Owens came home third to notch his sixth consecutive top-five finish.

Shane Clanton stayed in the mix the entire distance taking fourth at the finish. Kyle Bronson earned the Optima Batteries Hard Charger of the Race coming from 18th to finish in fifth.

Overton was the Performance Friction Brakes Pole Award recipient of the main event and took the lead at the start of the race over Owens and Davenport. Overton was cruising along until a caution on lap 12 slowed the action. On the restart, Davenport went to the outside lane, passing both Owens and Overton to take over the lead.

Overton came right back three laps later to regain the lead for good, as he had to battle heavy traffic in the closing laps with cars running three-wide in front of him. In the end, he was able to reach the checkered flag first for his fifth career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory and his second at East Bay.

With the win the 29-year-old Georgia native becomes the fifth different winner in five races of the series’ reopening tour. Overton had led the previous two Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series races, but a shorted-out coil wire and a broken flywheel knocked him out of contention for the win both times.

“I was definitely concerned about lapped traffic at the end,” he said. “That is the problem about leading here, JD rolled me on that restart, but you just don’t know where to go. It just all worked out for me near the end and they [traffic] were where I needed to be, and I was just trying to be patient. I tried to get as close to them as I could without hitting them and I just held on.”

Davenport, the three-time and reigning series champion moved closer to Tim McCreadie in the championship points race with his second-place run.

“I was trying to find every inch on the race track and I think I just overheated my left rear tire after the last caution,” Davenport said. “That is when the car got really loose. We got lucky when we got the lead, but I went back to the bottom and I left the door open for him [Overton] to get back around me.”

Owens maintains third in the championship points with yet another podium finish for the Tennessee racer.

“We had a really good race car all night long,” he explained. “On that first take-off, the outside was just a little crumbly and we had to run on the bottom quite a bit. I ran a lot of laps on the bottom and then I decided to go to the top. I also made a bad lane choice on that last restart. Everybody’s crew has been working hard and everybody has had their ups and downs, that is just a part of it.”

The finish:

Brandon Overton, Jonathan Davenport, Jimmy Owens, Shane Clanton, Kyle Bronson, Tim McCreadie, Josh Richards, Earl Pearson Jr., Devin Moran, Tanner English, Shanon Buckingham, Stormy Scott, Jeff Mathews, Billy Moyer Jr., Steven Roberts, G.R. Smith, Tyler Bruening, Hudson O’Neal, Ross Robinson, Rick Eckert, Blake Spencer, Todd Brennan, Tyler Erb, Brian Shirley.