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Davenport rules at Virginia Motor Speedway

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Chris Madden (44), Billy Moyer (21), Jonathan Davenport (6) and Greg Satterlee (22) battle four wide for second during the Aaron’s King of the Commonwealth at Bill Sawyer’s Virginia Motor Speedway.

by Kelley Carlton and Dave Seay

For driver Jonathan Davenport of Georgia, and car owners Kevin and Leroy Rumley of Greensboro, N.C., the Aaron’s King of the Commonwealth at Virginia Motor Speedway was a highly coveted victory. On Saturday the team notched a big win when Davenport overtook early leader Billy Moyer Jr. on lap 17 and held off a hard-charging Scott Bloomquist in the late stages of the 60-lapper to claim the $20,000 winner’s check. The win also propelled Davenport into a tie with Chris Madden for the National Dirt Racing League point lead.

Davenport was fastest in Group A of Keyser Manufacturing Time Trials lowering the VMS track record to 16.745 seconds for the half-mile dirt oval. However, it was hall-of-famer Scott Bloomquist in Group B who picked up the Bell Helmet’s fast time award when he erased the record Davenport had just set. Bloomquist tripped the clock at a mind boggling 16.509 seconds. Earl Pearson, Jr., Chris Madden and Don O’Neal rounded out the top 5 qualifiers.

Wins in the 10-lap heat races went to Davenport, Billy Moyer Sr., Gregg Satterlee and Billy Moyer Jr. Finishing second in heats and going to the redraw were O’Neal, Bloomquist and Dennis Erb Jr.

At the outset of the Aaron’s event, pole sitter Billy Moyer Jr. took command while Davenport sliced through the middle of a 3-wide melee in turn one to move to second, with the remainder of the field locked in double formation to complete lap one. Moyer Jr. moved away as Davenport had to fend of challenges from Moyer and Satterlee.

Madden and Bloomquist battled door to door. Up front Davenport began to reel in Moyer Jr. as they both began to encounter backmarker traffic. By lap 15 Davenport was all over Moyer, first stepping outside but finally making the move around the hub. Bloomquist slipped by Madden and set after Billy Moyer Sr. as they both drew to the rear deck on Billy Moyer Jr. Over the next several laps the Moyers raced wheel to wheel with the elder finally covering the spot. The pass also allowed Bloomquist to close in on Billy Moyer Jr. and take another spot away one lap later.

After the halfway mark, Davenport was in heavy traffic and Billy Moyer Sr. was able to close down on his fellow Longhorn Chassis driver. Moyer began to put some pressure on Davenport, nosing alongside the leader on multiple occasions. But the race for the lead was quelled when the event’s lone yellow flag waved.

For the restart, Billy Moyer Sr. opted for the inside, which moved Bloomquist to the outside. When Davenport brought the field back to green Bloomquist made his move for second. Sweeping around the outside of turn 2 Bloomquist took over second and set after the leader. With only 10 laps remaining, Bloomquist pulled to Davenport’s rear deck. Bloomquist threw all he had at Davenport but a slick move around a lapped car coming to the white flag sealed the deal and gave Davenport just enough open space to grab the checkers and the $20,000 check.

The top 10 finishing order: Davneport, Bloomquist, Billy Moyer Sr., Don O’Neal, Saterlee, Billy Moyer, Chris Madden, Steve Francis, Dennis Erb, Jr. and Jason Covert.

VMS is located on Route 17, eight miles north of Saluda. Visit http://www.virginiamotorspeedway.com for details.

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 04.16.2014

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