“Superman” became the “Million Dollar Man” Thursday night as Jonathan Davenport held off a late-race charge from Chris Madden and Tim McCreadie in a 101-lap feature at Eldora Speedway that paid $1,002,022 to win. Davenport now holds the distinction of winning the most lucrative late model race in history.
“This is a life-changing moment for sure,” Davenport said at FloRacing.com. “Just looking out and seeing all of y’all listen to what I have to say is incredible.
“Wow, I just can’t put it into words yet. It’s probably not going to sink in until we get that money in the bank account. It’s definitely going to change my life and hopefully my son and daughter’s. Me and [car owner] Lance [Landers] are going to take this million and make two with it.”
This is the second time in late model history that a million dollars has been on the line. The inaugural Eldora Million was scheduled for October, 2000 until heavy rains and cold temperatures delayed it until the following June.
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While Davenport dominated the 2022 race, it didn’t come easy as he was forced to battle McCreadie and Madden for the lead.
Charging forward from his ninth-place starting position, it took 75 laps without the benefit of a caution for McCreadie to catch Davenport, who started on the outside of the front row.
At that point, the two combatants swapped sliders as McCreadie took the lead on Lap 84 and Lap 86 before heartbreak hit two laps from the end. McCreadie suffered a flat tire, but with five drivers on the lead lap, he was still able to finish fourth.
With McCreadie out of the way, it was Madden’s chance to steal the payday from Davenport. Madden executed a slide job in Turn 1 on the final restart only to have Davenport return the favor in Turn 3.
“Madden, me and him have had our differences growing up. but I think we finally put that behind us,” Davenport said. “For him to slide me and then me slide him back with one or two to go, that’s just a hell of a feeling.”
Madden held on to finish second.
Devin Moran, who’s father Donnie was the original “Million Dollar Man” with his 2001 win, finished third.
Chris Ferguson rounded out the top five.
Attention now shifts to The Dream, another 100-lap feature. Brandon Overton won last year’s edition of this race.