Superman Repeats At Vado! Jonathan Davenport Goes Back-To-Back To Start ’23 Wild West Shootout

Story By: WILD WEST SHOOTOUT – VADO, NM – It’s only eight days into the new year and Jonathan Davenport appears on his way to another wallet-busting season, one that could very well again eclipse a million dollars by year’s end.

For the second straight night, the sport’s juggernaut from Blairsville, Ga., laid a smackdown on the competition at the 17th annual Rio Grande Waste Services Wild West Shootout presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts, leading all 40 laps at FK Rod Ends Vado Speedway Park from the outside front row, pocketing another $10,000 to begin 2023.

Better yet, Davenport remains eligible for the $300,000 Penske Racing Shocks Paydirt Jackpot bonus should he sweep the week’s four remaining features.

Though Davenport never officially relinquished the lead, he had to turn back a bevy of sliders from Elk Grove, Calif.’s Kyle Larson, who gave Superman all he could handle down the stretch. Larson finished 1.840 seconds behind Davenport in second.

“He just wouldn’t give up. I’m like, dammit, just quit,” a smiling Davenport said of Larson in victory lane. “No, he did a good job. I couldn’t really tell where he was getting a run on me because he kept sliding me in different corners, so I kept changing my line up a little bit — how hard I’d run around the cushion.”

All told, Larson attempted five sliders on the pace-setting Davenport over Sunday’s final 19 laps. The last of those came with four laps to go, when the former NASCAR Cup champion drove Kevin Rumley’s Late Model hard into turn three and narrowly cleared Davenport rounding the front stretch.

Larson couldn’t maintain his momentum in that final effort, though, as Davenport regathered himself — and the lead — before the flag stand to nearly win by multiple seconds. Davenport and his new-look crew bolted on a softer tire than what they used in Saturday’s win, which added a wrinkle in Sunday’s winning strategy.

“It was kind of a different tire game tonight once again,” Davenport said. “The track was obviously totally different than what it was last night. … I just tried to save it so the last 10 to 15 laps I could burn it down.”

Only two cautions slowed Sunday’s feature. The first yellow flag flew for Cade Dillard on lap 13, which erased Davenport’s two-second lead, while the second stoppage occurred on lap 16 for Don Shaw.

The last 24 laps set the stage for the thrilling finish between Davenport and Larson. Oakwood, Ill.’s Bobby Pierce briefly made it a three-way battle for the win with nine laps remaining, dislodging Larson from the runner-up position off bold slide job through turn one.

Larson regained second with seven laps to go, though, as Pierce couldn’t keep his new Longhorn Chassis off the wall when attempting another slider.

“You can’t ever count none of these guys out, no matter what Bobby was out there lurking somewhere,” Davenport said. “There was a big cushion up there, so I knew he was going to be good. We just happened to get lucky and draw on the front row there and hang on. We’re keeping that dream alive so far.”

The dream Davenport speaks of is the potential $300,000 Paydirt Jackpot should he sweep the week’s remaining four features. If there’s anything else to gather from Sunday’s second night of the Wild West Shootout, it’s that Davenport doesn’t seem to be putting himself under too much pressure. His humor is evident.

“Man, I need to keep my fat butt off the couch and need to start doing something in the winter,” Davenport said through a laugh. “I was about wore out there. I just have thank my guys once again. They did an excellent job.”

The miniseries will see a day off on Monday before hosting an Open Practice Session on Tuesday, Jan. 10 from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. MST. Grandstand and pit admission is free. Any team wishing to practice will be charged a flat fee of $200.

Racing action resumes on Wednesday, Jan. 11 with the second round of the mega miniseries. The evening’s festivities will include complete programs for the Dirt Track Bank Super Late Models presented by Black Diamond Race Cars ($10,000-to-win), the Mesilla Valley Transportation / Border Tire Modifieds presented by Rancho Milagro ($1,000-to-win), and Shocker Hitch X-Mods presented by Barnett Harley-Davidson ($500-to-win).

The pit gate opens at 2:00 p.m. MST with grandstand gates opening at 4:00 p.m. Hot laps are at 4:30 p.m. with racing action at 6:00 p.m.

Grandstand general admission (ages 13-and-up) is $25, while children (ages 6-12) are $10, and kids (ages 5-and-under) are free.


17th annual Rio Grande Waste Services Wild West Shootout presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts
FK Rod Ends Vado Speedway Park
Jan. 8, 2023


Dirt Track Bank Super Late Models presented by Black Diamond Race Cars

A Feature 1 (40 Laps): 1. 49-Jonathan Davenport[2]; 2. 6-Kyle Larson[5]; 3. 32-Bobby Pierce[3]; 4. B5-Brandon Sheppard[4]; 5. 7-Ricky Weiss[7]; 6. 157-Mike Marlar[13]; 7. 32S-Chris Simpson[15]; 8. 1T-Tyler Erb[18]; 9. 58-Garrett Alberson[1]; 10. 1ST-Johnny Scott[6]; 11. 21-Billy Moyer Sr[17]; 12. 20-Rodney Sanders[9]; 13. 28-Dustin Sorensen[21]; 14. 14S-Collen Winebarger[22]; 15. 49T-Jake Timm[16]; 16. E85-Jason Strand[19]; 17. 04-Tad Pospisil[8]; 18. 28W-Jim Whisler[24]; 19. 15S-Clayton Stuckey[25]; 20. 2S-Stormy Scott[10]; 21. 75-Terry Phillips[11]; 22. 42S-Don Shaw[14]; 23. 15-Justin Duty[20]; 24. 97-Cade Dillard[12]; 25. 7C-Cole Wells[23]

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