Matthew Davey is hoping to parlay his Bojangles’ Summer Shootout championship from last season into another set of honors this year, as he makes the jump up to a full-bodied stock car for the first time.
Davey plans to compete in the Allison Legacy Touring Series for the full schedule, chasing rookie-of-the-year honors as well as the season-long championship.
“It’s gonna be a good year, I feel like,” Davey said. “We plan on running the full Allison Legacy Series this year as a family team in conjunction with Chris Woods. It’s a huge step for me because I’ve never run a (full-fendered) car before. So, hopefully, we can get up to speed pretty quickly and have a shot at some big moments this year.”
Last year, the Lake Havasu City, Ariz., native and Mooresville, N.C., resident took Charlotte Motor Speedway’s frontstretch quarter-mile by storm, winning three races en route to the Bandolero Outlaw division championship in his fourth summer of competing in the Shootout.
The moment was a breakthrough for the Mooresville High School junior and his family, who originally relocated from Arizona to Charlotte so Davey could chase his racing ambitions.
“From winning the Summer Shootout championship to finishing my Bandolero career at last year’s Nationals … it was an amazing ride,” he said. “Especially, the Shootout — we did that as a family and that’s a moment that none of us will ever forget.
“My dad had missed most of the summer because he was away in flight school,” Davey added. “But he was able to make it back for the final week and to have him there when we finally sealed the championship; I couldn’t have asked for any more on that night.”
Davey, a high school wrestler in addition to his racing, has overcome several hurdles in order to pursue his passion over the years.
Complications with the ball joints in his hips led to a sequence of five surgeries to repair the condition, one of which left Davey in a wheelchair during the fourth grade as he waited for the completion of the corrective operations.
However, today, he is happy, healthy and able to compete both on the track and on the wrestling mat.
“It’s been a long road, but I’m just happy to be able to do what I love,” Davey said with a smile. “Not many people can say they’ve been through what I have and are still able to do all this. I’m just very blessed.”
As he moves to the Allison Legacy Series, Davey recognizes what competing in the series means as far as the potential advancement of his career.
Current and past NASCAR national series drivers who have competed in the series include Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Trevor Bayne, who won the 2005 title; part-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Regan Smith, who captured the championship in 1999; and NCWTS regular John Hunter Nemechek, who won a staggering 15 of 18 races en route to the 2012 crown.
But in the same vein, he’s simply happy to be closing one chapter of his career and preparing to write a new one.
“It feels good to be out of (the Bandolero),” Davey admitted. “It was a learning curve for me over the past seven years in that car, but it’s a huge accomplishment knowing that now I can move on to a bigger series.
“I’ve waited a long time to be able to say that and I’m proud to be able to look at the Allison Legacy Series and know that we’re throwing our hats into the ring there this year.”