Spencer Davis kicked off his busy 2015 racing schedule in style this past weekend by winning his first race of the season at New Smyrna Speedway (FL). After setting fast time in qualifying and starting third on the grid following an invert, the 16-year-old rising star from Dawsonville, Georgia took over the lead on lap 8 of the Zack Donatti Memorial and never looked back on his way to carrying his first checkered flag of 2015.
“We left 2014 on a little bit of a sour note by not
running well at the Snowball Derby, but we started off
2015 right with the first Late Model win of the year at
New Smyrna and my first win of the year,” said an
excited Davis. “We were just good all weekend and
very fortunate to get the Pro Late Model win. I just
can’t wait to also start the year with Hillbilly Racing in
the Modified and do some more Late Model races as
Despite having 50 laps to get to the front, Davis had extra motivation to get to the lead early. Lap 9 of the race was dedicated to Zack Donatti, a former New Smyrna Speedway Late Model champion. Davis really wanted to lead that lap in honor of Donatti and got up on the wheel in order to do so.
“I got turned sideways a little bit on the initial restart, which set us back a little bit more than I would have liked, but our main goal was to lead lap nine in memory of Zack,” said Davis, the 2014 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Rookie of the Year. “It meant a lot to lead that. That was my whole drive to get up there was to lead that lap for him.”
From the time he took the lead until the checkered flag was in the air, Davis turned in a dominant performance. At times he managed to build up a straightaway lead over the rest of the competition and when he crossed the stripe for the final time he had no pressure from behind.
“We had a dominant performance and a great car all weekend long,” Davis said. “I can’t thank the guys enough for putting a great car underneath me. You don’t have those races very often where you just have a perfect car and I just wanted to make the most of it.”
Like he has done so often in the past, Davis didn’t have a lot of time to celebrate on Saturday night as he had to quickly strap into his Super Late Model to compete in the Red-Eye 100. Starting from the eighth positions, he quickly began his march towards the front during the early stages of the race. He was able to make his way to third position before handling issues halted his progress.
Davis would be able to hold onto the third spot until a late race caution that forced him to restart in the unpopular inside groove of the race track. Despite the tough luck and an ill-handling racecar, Davis crossed the finish line with a strong fifth-place effort.
“We were good at the beginning of the race,” said Davis. “We came from eighth all the way up to third and the car just got real tight in the center of the corner about midway through the race, which prevented us from gaining any more positions.”
After two strong showings at New Smyrna Speedway this past weekend, Davis will return to the track on January 24 for the Pete Orr Memorial, a 100-lap Super Late Model feature.
For more information on Spencer Davis, visit www.spencer-davis.net or follow Spencer on Twitter at @SpencerDavis_29.