Ken Schrader

Davenport proves super again, winning Camping World SRX Thursday Night Thunder finale at Lucas Oil Speedway in front of big crowd
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8/18/2023

8/18/2023

Lucas Oil Speedway


Davenport proves super again, winning Camping World SRX Thursday Night Thunder finale at Lucas Oil Speedway in front of big crowd

WHEATLAND, MO. (Aug. 17, 2023) - One of the biggest motorsports events in Ozarks-area racing history came to Lucas Oil Speedway on Thursday night and it did not disappoint - with a familiar face taking a trip to victory lane.

Jonathan Davenport, putting on a display worthy of his nickname of "Superman," led all 90 laps to capture the Camping World SRX Thursday Night Thunder season finale in front of 8,710 roaring fans and countless others watching on ESPN.

Davenport, one of the world premier Dirt Late Model drivers, won for the fifth time at Lucas Oil Speedway in 2023 adding to four Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series/Lucas Oil MLRA wins. The Blairsville, Georgia, native emerged from a thrilling battle with Clint Bowyer after a restart with 10 laps remaining that had the big crowd on its feet.

Brad Keselowski rallied to finish second with Ken Schrader third and Ryan Newman, the 2023 Camping World SRX champion, taking fourth.

"I'm speechless. This is awesome," said Davenport, a five-time World 100 winner and three-time Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion. "I was just out there pacing myself, trying to keep the edges on the tires and do dirt-guys stuff.

"Man, this is an awesome experience. Thanks so much to SRX for giving me this opportunity and a chance to come out here and race with some of my heroes, legends and superstars. I'm just an ol' country boy from Georgia that runs dirt cars."

The race was a battle between front-row starters Davenport and Bowyer throughout. Several times, after caution flags, Bowyer pulled underneath Davenport but could never make the pass.

Just 10 laps from victory, the battle for the lead between those two was hot when a yellow flew for a spinning Ernie Francis Jr. That set it up for a sprint to the finish with a restart to remember featuring a wild sequence as Bowyer went full-send, tried to use a slide job to get around Davenport.

Crossing in front of Davenport twice but without enough room to fully clear, Davenport gave Bowyer a bump off turn two and again off turn four. The second time saw Davenport regain the lead and cars going three and maybe four-wide as Bowyer lost momentum.

"I didn't know Clint was gonna slide me up there or I'd have let go on across, but I hit him at the right time. I was already on the gas," Davenport said. "I knew he was gonna come back again, so I just lifted and somebody took us three-wide. At that point, with not many laps left, I'd done saved long enough."

Keselowski, Schrader and Newman took advantage of the situation and got around Bowyer. But the drama wasn't over. With three laps to go, Bobby Labonte spun to bring out a caution and set up one more restart for Davenport to navigate.

The 39-year-old took away the mystery and drove away for the win, beating former NASCAR Cup Series champ Keselowski by about five car lengths as the checkers flew, fireworks lit the sky and the enormous crowd cheered.

"This has got to be way up there, just the versatile field that was here," Davenport said of where the win ranks on his lengthy list of dirt-track accomplishments. "I can't say enough about how many times I've watched these guys. Some are legends and some are gonna be superstars.

"It's been a wonderful experience. I never dreamed that I would be up here winning a race. I just wanted to compete and put on a great show for these awesome fans."

Davenport started up front after a strong showing in the two heats earned him the pole. He had a four-car-length lead over Bowyer when caution waved on lap 12.

During a lengthy green-flag run, Davenport lapped Keselowski on lap 29 as he opened a two-second lead over Bowyer. It was well back to Andretti and Labonte in third and fourth when a competition caution on lap-34 slowed the action.

As it turned out, Keselowski said he was saving his tires and expected a bigger drop off in grip than wound up occurring.

"Once it got to the halfway point, I said 'I'd better go,'" Keselowski said. "Then Clint tried to pull the slide job and that didn't quite work out.

"I thought for a minute there I might have something for Davenport, but I'm glad to be here and I want to thank everybody for coming out tonight."

As the race hit the halfway mark on lap 45, Bowyer pulled alongside the leader off turn four but was unable to make the pass. Davenport kept fending off Bowyer and was able to gradually open up some breathing room when a lap-50 caution appeared.

The Davenport-Bowyer duel resumed with the green as the pair were three seconds clear of the field. Helio Castroneves spun on lap 61 to bring out a caution and Bowyer fell back to fourth on the restart, with Andretti taking second. But Bowyer nudged his way around the defending series champ to regain second on lap 66.

The battle for the lead between those two again heated up before a lap-75 yellow for Ernie Francis Jr., who spun in turn four. That set it up for a sprint to the finish with 10 to go when green-flag action resumed.

What a wild sequence it was over the next two laps as Bowyer tried to slide job to around Davenport, but the leader was able to hang on with three-wide action bringing the fans to their feet. Meanwhile, Keselowski, Schrader and Newman took advantage of the situation and got around Bowyer.

Newman clinched the series championship before the feature race went green. He entered the night with a 39-point lead and finishing 45 in front of the defending champ Andretti and Keselowski who tied for second.

"It means a lot," Newman said of the championship. "Any kind of championship in any series and the Superstar Racing Experience, what can you say? Guys like TOny Stewart. Jonathan Davenport, who's won everything on dirt. Racing against Kenny Schrader, Kenny Wallace, it's just a whole lot of fun. Castroneves, an Indy Car champion and four-time winner. It's very special."

Duvall wins Modified Invitational: Joe Duvall of Claremore, Okla., led all 20 laps to win the 20-car Cedar Creek Beef Jerky USRA Modified Invitational.

Duvall started on the pole after winning his heat race and opened a five-car-length lead over Peyton Taylor just four laps into the feature. Following a lap-five restart, Tad Davis slid past Taylor for second.

Wheeler moved into contention on lap 11, powering his way to third behind Duvall and Taylor. Over the next several laps, the top three opened a two-second lead over Davis in fourth.

Duvall was able to use an extended green-flag run to pull away late and earn the victory with Taylor just holding off Wheeler for the runner-up position.

"The last restart I knew Peyton was on the outside of me and I heard him wind that big ol' motor up and ... I thought, well it's time to go," Duvall said. "He showed me something down in (turn) one and two and I had just enough momentum to sneak up there stay in front of him. Then, I guess I pretty dang good the rest of the race."

Davis finished fourth with Paden Phillips recovering from an early spin to grab fifth.

LUCAS OIL SPEEDWAY UNOFFICIAL RESULTS (Aug. 17, 2023)
Camping World SRX Thursday Night Thunder
Feature - 1, Jonathan Davenport. 2, Brad Keselowski. 3, Ken Schrader. 4, Ryan Newman. 5, Clint Bowyer. 6, Marco Andretti. 7, Tony Stewart. 8, Kenny Wallace. 9, Helio Castroneves. 10, Hailie Deegan. 11, Ernie Francis Jr. 12, Bobby Labonte.

Heat 1 - 1, Jonathan Davenport. 2, Ken Schrader. 3, Clint Bowyer. 4, Marco Andretti. 5, Brad Keselowski. 6, Hailie Deegan. 7, Ernie Francis Jr. 8, Ryan Newman. 9, Kenny Wallace. 10, Tony Stewart. 11, Bobby Labonte. 12, Helio Castroneves.

Heat 2 - 1, Bobby Labonte. 2, Clint Bowyer. 3, Kenny Wallace, 4, Jonathan Davenport. 5, Marco Andretti. 6, Ernie Francis Jr. 7, Ryan Newman. 8, Tony Stewart. 9, Brad Keselowski. 10, Hailie Deegan. 11, Ken Schrader. 12, Helio Castroneves.

Cedar Creek Beef Jerky USRA Modified Invitational
Feature - 1. 91-Joe Duvall[1]; 2. 01-Peyton Taylor[2]; 3. 88-Chad Wheeler[8]; 4. 75-Tad Davis[5]; 5. 127-Paden Phillips[3]; 6. 17-Drake Long[6]; 7. 5-Robbie Reed[4]; 8. 73B-Shad Badder[14]; 9. 9-Kenton Allen[18]; 10. C3-Chad Staus[17]; 11. 23-Lucas Dobbs[15]; 12. 356-Reggie Jackson[11]; 13. (DNF) 151-Lucas Gibbs[13]; 14. (DNF) 92-Tyler Grooms[10]; 15. (DNF) 21M-Ryan Middaugh[7]; 16. (DNF) 33-Chad Smith[19]; 17. (DNF) 98-Jeff Cutshaw[9]; 18. (DNF) 3J-Lewis Jackson[16]; 19. (DNF) 99-Dylan Hoover[12]; 20. (DNS) 21-Greg Scheffler

Heat 1 - 1. 91-Joe Duvall[3]; 2. 127-Paden Phillips[5]; 3. 88-Chad Wheeler[1]; 4. 98-Jeff Cutshaw[6]; 5. 21M-Ryan Middaugh[10]; 6. 356-Reggie Jackson[7]; 7. 73B-Shad Badder[4]; 8. 3J-Lewis Jackson[8]; 9. C3-Chad Staus[2]; 10. (DNF) 21-Greg Scheffler[9]

Heat 2 - 1. 01-Peyton Taylor[2]; 2. 75-Tad Davis[3]; 3. 5-Robbie Reed[7]; 4. 17-Drake Long[8]; 5. 92-Tyler Grooms[1]; 6. 99-Dylan Hoover[6]; 7. 151-Lucas Gibbs[9]; 8. 23-Lucas Dobbs[4]; 9. 9-Kenton Allen[5]; 10. 33-Chad Smith[10]

410 Winged Sprints on Saturday: The second half of a big week of racing at Lucas Oil Speedway will find the POWRi 410 Outlaw Sprints headlining the action on Saturday night.

A 30-lap feature will cap the action for the special appearance by the 410 Winged Sprints, with the Hermitage Lumber Late Models and O'Reilly Auto Parts USRA Stock Cars also in action. They will both have 25-lap features paying $1,000 and $750 to win, respectively.

Pit gates open at 4 p.m. Saturday with grandstands at 5. Hot laps are set for 6:30 p.m. and racing at 7:05 p.m.

Saturday admission:
Advance discount tickets online only (16 and up) - $22
Adults (16 and over) - $25
Seniors (62 and up)/Military - $22
Youth (ages 6-15) - $10
Kids (5 and under) - FREE
Family pass (two adults and up to three youth) - $60
Pit pass - $45

Bingo for Bikes on Friday night: For fans attended the weekend of action, there will be bingo at 6:30 p.m. Friday in front of the Diamond Bar on the Midway on the north end of the main complex. The buy-in of $20 will go toward Kids' Bicycle Night 2024, where youngsters receive free bicycles. A total of 123 were awarded in 2023.

The Diamond Bar will be open for pizza, popcorn, ice cream and nachos, plus beer, soft drinks and water. Bingo winners will receive gift packs, gift cards and other prizes.

For information on any event at Lucas Oil Speedway in 2023 contact admissions director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or email her at nichole@lucasoilspeedway.com for more information.

CONTACT:
Danny Lorton
Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager
Office: (417) 282-5984
DLorton@lucasoilspeedway.com
Complete Lucas Oil Speedway event information, archived race recaps, previews and driver features, along with ticket information and schedules can be found by visiting LucasOilSpeedway.com.

Lucas Oil Speedway is located at Highways 83 and 54 in Wheatland, Missouri. A campground with shower and bathroom facilities is also available. With its entrance located just outside the pit gate this sprawling scenic camping facility will continue to enhance the racing experience at the Diamond of Dirt Tracks.

Click LucasOilSpeedway.com for more information and detailed directions to the speedway or call the Track Hotline at (417) 282-5984. The Lucas Oil Speedway EZ Texting number is (417) 804-4141.

In addition, fans can get social with Lucas Oil Speedway by following @LucasSpeedway on Twitter, clicking "Like" at www.facebook.com/LucasOilSpeedway and on www.youtube.com/LucasOilSpeedway

About Lucas Oil Speedway
Lucas Oil Speedway is considered by fans, drivers and industry insiders to be one of the top five racing facilities in the nation. Located in Wheatland, Missouri, approximately an hour from Springfield, Missouri, and just an hour and a half from the Kansas City metro area, the "Diamond of Dirt Tracks" lives up to its title.

Twenty-One VIP Luxury Suites, HD Jumbo-Tron Screen, Stadium Style Musco Sports Lighting, a Bose Sound System, Go-Kart Slick Track, The Diamond Bar, Track Treasures Gift Shop, the best track food in the country and paved pits are a few of the spectacular amenities setting the Diamond of Dirt apart. This year marks the 12th season for the Liquid Quarter Mile Drag Racing Lake, "Lake Lucas." New for 2017 was all-purpose built Off Road facility featuring a host of regional events.

Lucas Oil Speedway's dirt oval track plays host to some of the largest and most-popular events in the Midwest with national and regional touring series appearing frequently including: The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, POWRi Midget National Series, Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League, United States Modified Touring Series, ASCS Sprint Cars and the Lucas Oil MLRA.

In addition to the special events, the Lucas Oil Speedway Weekly Racing Series features the Late Models, USRA Modifieds, USRA Stock Cars and USRA B-Mods.

2023 Official Lucas Oil Speedway Marketing Partners

Arizona Sport Shirts
"The Official Merchandise Provider" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Bill Roberts Chevrolet-Buick
"The Official Truck" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Dixie Chopper
"The Official Mowers of Lucas Oil Speedway"

General Tire
"The Official Tire" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Lucas Oil Products
"The Official Oil" of Lucas Oil Speedway

MAVTV
"The Official Television Network" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr. Pepper
"The Official Soft Drink" of Lucas Oil Speedway

RacingJunk.com
"The Official Classifieds" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Rugged Radios
"The Official 2-Way Communications Provider" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Summit Racing Equipment
"The Official Sponsor" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Sunoco Race Fuels
"The Official Fuel" of Lucas Oil Speedway

Super Clean
"The Official Sponsor" of Lucas Oil Speedway

2023 Lucas Oil Speedway Supporters Include:
AM Pyrotechnics, Alliance Sport Marketing, Arctic Food Equipment, Arizona Sport Shirts, Berry Tractor and Equipment Co., Big Adventure RV, Bill Roberts Chevrolet-Buick, Bolivar Auto Sales & Detailing, Bolivar Farmers Exchange-MFA, Boone's BBQ Barn, Boubin Tire/American Racer, Branstetter & Lightfoot LLC, Bridal Cave, BWI Sanitation, Camden on the Lake Resort, Candlelight Creations-Dick's Wild Root Horseradish, Casey's, Cedar Creek Beef Jerky, Citizens Memorial Healthcare, City Magnet, Clearlight Inn, Dirt Track Specialist, Dixie Chopper, Eagle Vision Paving LLC, Eibach Springs, Farmers Insurance Agent Kristy Reynolds, Fast Shafts by Axle Exchange, Foley Equipment-Cat Rental Store, Frog Signs, Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare, Hermitage Lumber, HICKAMO Country Store, Hobbytime Motorsports, Impact Signs Awnings Wraps, In the Garden of Eden, KC Bobcat, Kettle Treats, Keyser Manufacturing, Kluhsman Racing Components, Kona Ice, Lucas Cattle Company, MD3, Midwest Sheet Metal, Miller Welding, Missouri Division of Tourism, MyRacePass, Nutrien Ag Solutions, OakStar Bank, O'Bannon Bank, O'Reilly Auto Parts, Ozark Golf Cars, Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr. Pepper, Ozarks Community Health Center, PEM, Pitts Homes, Pitts Realty, Pitts Cattle, Pomme de Terre Resort, ProThings Apparel, RACEceiver, Racinboys.com, RacinDirt.com, RacingJunk.com, Rains Ice Company, Real Racing Wheels, Reed Environmental, River's End Motel & RV Park, Rod End Supply, Ron Jenkins Accounting & Tax Service, Rugged Radios, Ryan E. Murphy Law Firm LLC, SBU Athletics, Safety Kleen, Scott Furniture, Sidetrack RV Park, Simpson Racing Products, SMC, Southwest Electric Cooperative, State Tech, Stillwater Resort, Summit Racing Equipment, Sunoco Race Fuels, US Army Corps of Engineers-Pomme de Terre, Vietti Marketing Group, Wasoba Seed & Trucking, Wheatland Motel, White's Marine Center, Wieland, Wild Animal Safari, Woods Supermarkets.


Article Credit: By Lyndal Scranton, Lucas Oil Speedway

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