Davenport Does It Again In Arizona

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Jonathan Davenport in victory lane (Mike Ruefer photo)

SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. — Jonathan Davenport claimed his second late model victory in three races during Wednesday’s Keyser Manufacturing Wild West Shootout presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts at FK Rod Ends Arizona Speedway.

Stormy Scott drew the pole for the 30-lap, $5,000-to-win feature, but Davenport started outside the front row.

Davenport hammered the cushion on the start and jumped into the early lead with fast-qualifier Ricky Thornton Jr. taking second.

Yellow flags were the story during the early going. The restart after the third yellow flag

changed the complexion of the race. Davenport again executed a perfect restart, sticking primarily to the outside groove, as he had done all race thus far. However, Thornton lost second to Jason Papich and found himself under heavy pressure from Brian Shirley.

The final caution flag came out on lap seven, when Shirley threw a giant slide job into turn one, successfully clearing Thornton. Unfortunately, Shirley slid a little higher than he wanted, getting swallowed by the cushion, causing him to hit the wall and stop in the middle of turns one and two.

Thornton was already committed to the throttle and had nowhere to go, piling into Shirley, who then was hit by Stormy Scott and Bobby Pierce

With four of the top six cars suffering major damage or being eliminated entirely, Davenport took the lap-seven restart with several new faces behind him, including 16th place-starting Tyler Erb, who had worked his way up to third.

Erb didn’t need long to dispose of Papich for second place and had his sights set on Davenport, for the lead. With Erb breathing down his neck, Davenport began to hit lapped traffic just past the halfway mark and experienced difficulty passing the lapped cars, as they stuck to his preferred line around the top of FK Rod Ends Arizona Speedway.

Erb saw his opportunity at the completion of lap 20, getting underneath and alongside Davenport at the exit of turn four. The two drivers banged doors and traded paint coming to start lap 21, with Erb slightly beating Davenport to the line.

However, Davenport would not be denied on Wednesday, sticking to his preferred outside groove around the track and thwarting Erb’s challenges.

Davenport led the rest of the way, winning the $5,000 prize by 0.593 seconds over Erb, who advanced 14 spots to finish in the runner-up position.

Papich, Mike Marlar and Pierce completed the top five.

The finish:

Feature (30 Laps): 1. 49D-Jonathan Davenport[2]; 2. 1-Tyler Erb[16]; 3. 91P-Jason Papich[6]; 4. 157-Mike Marlar[8]; 5. 32-Bobby Pierce[5]; 6. 59-Garrett Alberson[11]; 7. 19-Dustin Sorensen[3]; 8. 28M-Jimmy Mars[7]; 9. 86-Kyle Beard[9]; 10. 15-Donny Schatz[13]; 11. 32S-Chris Simpson[20]; 12. 1ST-Johnny Scott[19]; 13. 130-Chase Allen[14]; 14. 98-Jared Landers[18]; 15. 32B-Cody Laney[21]; 16. 91-Rusty Schlenk[15]; 17. 3S-Brian Shirley[10]; 18. 25F-Jason Feger[22]; 19. 91T-Tony Toste[12]; 20. 75T-Terry Phillips[17]; 21. 20-Rodney Sanders