Friday Dream Twin 25’s At Eldora To Jonathan Davenport & Shane Clanton

Story By: ELDORA SPEEDWAY – ROSSBURG, OH – A pair of Georgians ruled Dream XXV preliminary action Friday at Eldora Speedway. By the end of the two 25-lap, $10,000-to-win features at the Tony Stewart-owned half-mile, both Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., and Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., were simply gone with the wind. Davenport, the 2015 Dream winner, won Friday’s first feature, while Clanton, the 2012 Dream winner, won the second feature.

Leading 24 laps of the caution-free opener, Davenport improved one spot from Thursday’s main event — when he was passed on the final lap by Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky. — as he steered his Lance Landers-backed Longhorn Chassis to victory ahead of polesitter Kent Robinson of Bloomington, Ind. Davenport overtook Robinson on the second lap and stayed comfortably ahead en route to 1.223-second victory. Ricky Weiss of Headingly, Manitoba, who won a prelim feature on Thursday, finished third, while Lanigan improved two positions to finish fourth. Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., completed the top five after starting ninth.

“We tried a little bit different stuff tonight,” Davenport said in victory lane. “I don’t think my car was quite as good tonight as it was last night. So we’ll just keep going through the notebook and keep fine-tuning on this thing. We’ve got a few more things we need to do and I think we’re going to be OK. Just as long as we get through these heat races (Saturday).”

Robinson, who finished second in his heat, made a big leap forward from Thursday’s prelim, when he finished 12th.

“I’m just happy to be here right now,” Robinson said. “They call it the world’s greatest dirt track and it continues to live up to that name. I’m just proud to be here and continue to get a little bit better in this race car. Small changes. It’s that close.”

In the nightcap, Clanton ran away from the field. Starting from the pole, Clanton dominated the second preliminary feature, driving his Ron Davies-backed Capital Race Car to a 3.494-second victory ahead of Chris Ferguson of Mount Holly, N.C., in a race slowed by one caution. The fourth-starting Ferguson shuffled polesitter Ross Bailes of Clover, S.C., back to third on a lap-2 restart and futilely gave chase. Bailes settled for third, while Chase Junghans of Manhattan, Kan., finished fourth and Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., fifth.

“I knew I had a good car,” said Clanton. “I just needed to keep the nose clean. I tried the top a little bit and (Gregg Satterlee was) trying to get some of that moisture leaving the bottom and he was right were I needed to be to make a good lap, but I knew I was OK where I was. I didn’t feel like I was losing no ground and I could maintain down the straightaway.”
After finishing fourth in his preliminary feature on Thursday, Ferguson was pleased with Friday’s runner-up finish finish.

“That was fun,” said Ferguson. “Me and Ross (Bailes) we’re just a bunch of rednecks from South Carolina and North Carolina. We’re not supposed to be good on this stuff, but that just shows how tough we are around home. We were good here at the World, but just had some bad luck. It’s so fun to come up here and run good.”

Action Thursday and Friday determined the lineup for Saturday’s heat races for the 25th running of the Dream. Davenport and Weiss accumulated the most points through the two preliminary rounds and are guaranteed a starting spot in the 100-lap, $125,000-to-win main event.