Blairsville’s Jonathan Davenport Wins Driver of the Year Honors From The Georgia Racing Hall of Fame
Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., has had a season many in the sport of auto racing are calling the best ever by a dirt Late Model driver. To date he’s won 23 major races, including a sweep of the major Late Model races at Eldora Speedway, and the championship of the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series. Now he’s added another honor to the list as he has been named Driver of the Year by the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.
Davenport, 32, was the unanimous choice of a panel comprised of Georgia’s leading racing journalists. He joins former winners of the prestigious award including Chase Elliott, Clint Smith, Shane Clanton and Bubba Pollard.
“It’s definitely an honor to have my name alongside a group like that,” Davenport said. “It’s another moment in what has been a really great season.”
Davenport, like many a successful racer today, started driving go-karts, in his case at age seven. From there he moved on to Legends and asphalt short track cars before joining the dirt Late Model ranks in 2003. He’s had some good seasons in recent years, but none like this year. Already this season, he has won dozens of major races all across America, most of which carried handsome paychecks for the winner. His victories include the Dream at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway, which paid $100,000 to win the main event, plus another $7,500 for sweeping the preliminary events.
Also at Eldora, Davenport won dirt Late Model racing’s premier event, the World 100, which paid $48,000 for the main event. His win in the Show-Me 100 at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo., paid $30,000. He earned $26,000 for winning the Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury Speedway in Illinois and $50,000 apiece for wins in the USA Nationals at Cedar Lake Speedway in Wisconsin and the North-South 100 at Florence Speedway in Kentucky.
“It’s something you dream of to win those races in your whole career, and we’ve done it in one season,” Davenport said. “It’s just unbelievable how fortunate we’ve been.”
Davenport credited his car owners Kevin and Lee Roy Rumley and his crew member Bryan Liverman for their work throughout the year. “I couldn’t have done it without them,” he said.
Davenport will be honored during the induction ceremonies for the 2015 Class of the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame on Nov. 14 at 2 p.m. The 2015 inductees are C.L. Pritchett, Jim Downing, Billy Clanton, James Lyle and Harold Fryar.