Chris Davidson Scores a BIG win in Pro Late 100; Waited 20 years!admin
At Last: After 20-plus Years Racing at Five Flags, Davidson Finally Snags Pro Late Model Checkered
By Chuck Corder
The adage goes: Good things come to those who wait.
Chris Davidson just wishes it didn’t take so long.
The veteran Late Model driver has been driving over to Five Flags Speedway from his native Texas for more than two decades. In that span, Davidson had never won a feature – neither in the Pro nor Super Late Model classes. He notched a victory in the last chance race at last year’s Snowball Derby, but never a regular-season feature.
That all changed Friday night at the famed half-mile asphalt oval. Davidson dominated the first of four Allen Turner Pro Late Model 100 races this season, holding off a hard-charging Ryan Paul late in the race en route to a memorable Victory Lane celebration.
“The car was really good all night,” Davidson said. “I have to thank Ryan Paul for driving me clean. The car didn’t fire off on (a late) restart and he had an opportunity to turn me and didn’t. Not too many racers would do that.”
Paul finished runner-up while last season’s defending Allen Turner PLM track champion Jake Garcia came home third.
Davidson took the lead from fast-qualifier Kyle Plott on Lap 15, avoided lapped cars, and withstood three cautions – including one with four laps left – to overwhelm the 19-car field.
His biggest test came on the final restart with 96 laps complete. Davidson struggled to get going and Paul pounced and tried to rattle the leader’s cage. He made several attempts to get around Davidson, and each time the Pearland, TX, driver thwarted Paul’s plans.
Fourteen-year-old Grant Thompson struggled in his debut behind the steering wheel of a PLM, driving Augie Grill’s famed Grand American Race Car to a seventh-place result.
In what could be the first of many compelling battles the duo wage, Thompson and fellow teen Jake Garcia drove door-to-door in the opening laps following the drop of the green flag. Garcia, 15, got the better of Thompson, keeping the Mobile young hotshoe on the outside and forcing Thompson to chew up precious rubber on his right-side tires.
Davidson had no idea what was playing out behind him. He got around Plott early on and was into the wind for the remainder of the evening.
Ryan Paul of Mobile finished 2nd, Jake Garcia of Monroe Ga was 3rd, Daniel Dye of Deland FL 4th, and Chris Tullis 5th.
Faith Chapel Outlaws
Derrick Griffin was disqualified in post-race technical inspection for an engine infraction. Gulf Breeze’s Kevin Chase moved up one spot to claim his first career win at Five Flags Speedway.
Derrick Griffin wasn’t planning on racing Friday at Five Flags.
Good thing Jake Finch encouraged him to bring both Phoenix racing machines to Pensacola’s high banks.
Griffin, who sets up Finch along with several other Outlaw cars, was in full control and cruised to Victory Lane in the 35-lap Faith Chapel Outlaws feature.
Griffin, the Midwest transplant, became the third feature winner in as many races for the Outlaws this season. Bill Tutchtone and John Heil were the other winners in this adjusted season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I can’t complain,” Griffin said. “This was a pretty good opportunity. Jake asked, ‘Why don’t we run both?’ And, I thought that made sense.
“This place puts on helluva show.”
Cantonment’s Bubba Winslow finished second and Todd Jones third.
Chase and Todd Jones won heat races to get the night going Friday.
Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks
Daryl McDonald III and Jerry Goff Jr. are setting the stage for an epic war this season.
While Goff won the first battle of the season last month, the young McDonald has scored the last two victories. McDonald, “D-III” affectionately, made his second trip to Victory Lane at Five Flags in as many races Friday when he won the Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks 20-lap feature.
“It was good race,” the Theodore, AL, driver said. “The car handled pretty well, and I’m really impressing myself with how this season has started.”
While McDonald made it two victories in a row, Goff scored his second consecutive runner-up finish and Caleb Burkett rounded out the podium.
McDonald’s win gives him the same number of wins at the famed half-mile asphalt oval that he had all last season.