Jonathan Davenport (Portrait of Jesse Norgaard)
New Richmond, Wisconsin – The 35th annual USA Nationals race at Cedar Lake Speedway will begin how the 34th race ended.
USA Champion Jonathan Davenport took the lead from his second starting point in Friday’s dash, driving all eight laps to claim first place in Saturday’s 100-lap final, and $50,000 to win.
Two rounds of late-model World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Series heat races locked the top 16 drivers into the advantage—while the top eight raced for a front-row chance at the dashboard.
The trapped drivers are Jonathan Davenport, Chris Madden, Jake Tim, Tyler Earp, Brandon Shepard, Bobby Pierce, Tanner English, Ashton Winger, Frank Hickenast Jr., Ricky Weiss, Jimmy Owens, Shane Clanton, Kyle Strickler, Ryan Justin, Max Blair and Chad Meherer. .
Despite ending the night in a position to succeed on Saturday, Davenport stated that he needs to get better to come home with $50,000 this weekend.
“I really didn’t feel that great wisdom in the car,” Davenport said. “We had the hardest Heat I could feel the first time when it was slimy. So, we had a lot of ordeals on our way, but we did, and these are the seven easiest cars I’ve had all year.
“We still have work to do; I don’t feel like we’re good enough to win by any means, but I feel like we’re in competition.”
While “Superman” has won the US title twice, he has yet to do so again and again. Saturday’s win would only add to the highlights of the Eldora Million winner’s career.
“It’s just so lucky to get to the advantage here because of the traffic points and the way the racetrack is changing,” said Davenport. “I don’t think I’ve ever won a major back-to-back event that I can think of, so I think this will be the first time for any event, so it will be something special.”
Davenport has a familiar foe starting alongside him in Saturday’s advantage, with Chris Madden finishing second.
The Gray Court, SC, driver has already won four events in 2022 worth $50,000 and is confident he can add another to his resume this weekend.
“We love this place, and hopefully the weather doesn’t get to where the hammer is or where the whole baja race is,” Madden said. “If he goes back to what we had (Friday), we’ll have a bunch of great races, and I think we’ve got a great race car.
“Hopefully we can stay out of trouble for a little while and be there at the end. This race, sometimes the pace can be too fast to start with. They rework, sometimes it can be really fast, so you have to know your limits and stay within What do you have and plan to race there in the last 20 laps.”
Jake Tim finished third in his dash over Tyler Earp, who had the most points in the 10 CASE construction equipment heat races.
Four-time series champion Brandon Shepard finished in the top five.
Another driver who gained momentum to enter the Saturday part of the USA was Garrett Smith, who won the $3,000 FANS Fund Dash Independent Independent Prize.