They tried taking a couple of swings at him on a late-race restart, but they couldn’t quite get around Jonathan Davenport, known better in the dirt-racing world as Superman, making him the third driver to win on debut in the Camping World SRX Series in 2023.
The 39-year-old driver was the final addition to Thursday’s Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) event at Lucas Oil Speedway, replacing the suspended Paul Tracy. However, the late invitation didn’t stop him from kicking the field’s butt.
After a random draw placed him on the pole, Davenport put on a dominant performance in order to win the evening’s first of two heat races, which sent him to the rear for the second 25-lap heat.
Although, a lack of track position – like we saw several times on Thursday – didn’t impede his progress through the pack, putting himself up to fourth-place by the end of the second heat race.
The results of the two heat races would put Davenport and Bowyer on the front row for the 90-lap main event, as arguably the two fastest drivers in the 12-driver field. While that battle would rage on throughout the entire event, it really got lively at the end.
Bowyer, driving the Bass Pro Shops-sponsored No. 07, appeared to clearly have a better vehicle than Davenport in the closing stages, and thoroughly stalked him throughout the final 20-or-so laps of the event, but could never fully get past.
However, a restart with just 10 laps remaining in the event, was the time that Bowyer decided to make his move, throwing a mind-boggling slide job into the first set of corners on the restart.
When that didn’t work out for him, the 10-time NASCAR Cup Series winner threw another haymaker into the final set of corners, which sent both he and Davenport up the track, and caused a massive four-wide scramble for the lead.
Bowyer got knocked back to fifth place, while Davenport set sail on the pack. After enduring a couple of more cautions, where the field has essentially no chance to catch him, Davenport crossed the start-finish line ahead of runner-up Brad Keselowski.
For Keselowski, the rebound in Thursday’s season-finale for the Camping World SRX Series was phenomenal, considering he went a full lap down in the middle portion of the event on pace alone. The 2012 NASCAR Cup Series championship made his way through the chaos to score a runner-up result.
Ken Schrader, who became the oldest winner in a NASCAR-sanctioned event in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series on Monday, came back to finish in third place, while Ryan Newman and Clint Bowyer completed the top five.
Ryan Newman, who entered Thursday’s season-finale with a staggering margin in the standings, clinched the title after the first heat race, when his only championship contender Tony Stewart spun late in the race, handing the NASCAR Cup Series winner the title.
At the end of the six-week stretch of racing for the Camping World SRX Series, Marco Andretti and Brad Keselowski finished the season tied for second in points, while Tony Stewart ended up fourth, and Ken Schrader fifth.
Bobby Labonte and Hailie Deegan rounded out the seven full-time drivers in the series for this season, finishing sixth and seventh in point standings, respectively.