Late-race pass gives Jonathan Davenport his first Knoxville Late Model Nationals win

Davenport Knoxville Nationals
LucasDirt.com
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Superman goes where he’s needed and with his cap flying stiffly behind him in the 18th running of the Knoxville Late Model Nationals, Jonathan Davenport scored a $50k win over Iowa’s Tyler Bruening on the half-mile Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway.

It was the ninth Lucas Oil Late Model win of the season in his 29th start – a statistic that includes a remarkable six consecutive wins from July 24th through August 26th. Davenport also has four World of Outlaws Late Model victories and a half-dozen wins in other major series this season for a total of 21 overall.

Even with all that success, this was a bucket list win for man called Superman. It is his first at Knoxville – a track famed for spring car racing that is becoming a staple of late models as well.

Davenport led the 50-lap affair early, but gave it up to Bobby Pierce on Lap 9 as the field returned to green after a caution. Two laps later, Bruening commanded the top spot and held it for the next 37 laps.

In the closing laps, Bruening stretched his advantage to two seconds until Davenport found the high side. With Lap 45 in the books, Davenport closed the gap and was on Bruening’s back bumper by Lap 47. Davenport dove to the bottom groove in Turn 1, pulled alongside and took the lead on the following circuit, denying Bruening the first Lucas Oil Late Model win of his career.

“I wish I could have said that I was planning for that,” Davenport said in a press release. “I was just too tight there. I didn’t have the best race car by far. I made a mistake first in lapped traffic I thought I might get rolled on the outside and let Bobby [Pierce] around me so I chose the bottom and let Tyler around me.

“I was trying to race Earl [Pearson Jr.] as clean as I could there, but I knew I had to get by him. I got a big run on Tyler there one time getting into one. I could have blasted on him, but I knew this could be his first crown jewel, so I didn’t want to take it away from him like that.”

More: Mike Marlar wins 2021 Knoxville Late Model Nationals

For Bruening, the disappointment was bitter. In 40 combined starts this season with the Outlaws and Lucas Oil, he’s earned seven top-10s, but the closest he came to winning was a pair of fourth-place results at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D. and Boone Speedway in his native Iowa.

“I needed two less laps I guess to hold him off,” Bruening said. “I don’t know. When you are out front for all those laps it’s pretty tough to move out of your line that’s worked the whole race.

“I didn’t know how close he was until it was too late there getting off of four. I didn’t know how high I could go if all the way up there would do it. It was fun to run up front. We just got beat by the best in the world right now.”

Brandon Sheppard scored his 25th top-five of the season and rounded out the podium.

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.