Short-Track Top Five: Jonathan Davenport
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Short-Track Top Five. Every week NSSN will talk to a different short-track driver and get his or her thoughts and opinions on a series of five questions.
This week National Speed Sport News talks to dirt-late-model driver Jonathan Davenport. Nicknamed Superman, Davenport is a 27-year-old native of Blairsville, Ga.
During the 2010 season Davenport broke out, winning his first races in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and the World of Outlaws Late Model Series. He also has victories in the Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series, Southern All Star Late Model Series and the Fastrak Late Model Series to his credit.
NSSN: What influenced you to become a race car driver?
DAVENPORT: I guess I’ve just been around it ever since I was probably a week old. My dad, he raced. My grandpa always owned race cars. It was just something all my cousins and everybody liked to do. I was always competitive growing up so it was just kind of a natural fit.
NSSN: If you had the chance to race in the Daytona 500 or the Indianapolis 500, which would it be and why?
DAVENPORT: I’d have to say the Daytona 500. My family never was much into the Indy car and open-wheel stuff. I’ve grown to like it personally. It’s pretty cool, all the technology and everything. I’m more stuck on the stock-car part of it.
NSSN: How healthy is short-track racing in the United States?
DAVENPORT: I don’t know. I think the dirt part of it is pretty good. I think it’s growing more and I think the asphalt’s falling off from what I know. I know back when I use to run asphalt you didn’t have the fan base or anything like these dirt tracks I’m traveling to and seeing. I don’t know, I guess the TV has kind of taken away from it a little bit. As far as the dirt, this is really the first year that I’ve gone out and really seen the country and went to shows like this. It’s definitely strong.
NSSN: What is the wildest race you’ve ever been a part of?
DAVENPORT: I guess I’d have to say just about a month ago [October 2010], my first Lucas Oil [Late Model Dirt Series] win. I raced side by side with Jimmy Owens and Earl Pearson, Jr. pretty much the whole race. Josh Richards was in there and all four of us were trading positions back and forth. I was fourth at one point and leading at one point then back to second and third. It was a lot of fun. It was a real racy track, real short track. You could run high, low or middle. It didn’t matter. Wherever the guy in front of you wasn’t, was were you needed to run. That was a pretty cool deal, especially being my first Lucas Oil win to top it off.
NSSN: At the end of your career, what do you hope people will remember about you?
DAVENPORT: Oh man, I don’t know. I just hope I can make it long enough to retire you know? Not having to do nothing else, just keep living the dream doing what I’m doing. I don’t know. I guess I was always competitive and I was a threat to win wherever I showed up. I try to take time out for the fans and make it worth wild because definitely without them we wouldn’t be sitting in here doing what we love to do.