Tuesday, June 5, 2018

K&N WEST: Spencer Davis leads laps, then falls out late at Memphis


by William Soquet
LASTCAR.info Guest Contributor

Spencer Davis finished last for the first time in his NASCAR K&N Pro Series East career in Saturday night’s Memphis 150 presented by AutoZone at the Memphis International Raceway when his #82 Horton Avenue Materials LLC / Danny Watts Racing Chevrolet fell out with electrical issues after 139 of the race’s 150 laps. The finish came in Davis’ 25th series start.

Davis has emerged as one of a number of prospects jostling for seat time in a crowded field of Toyota development drivers. He started racing karts at the age of six, winning multiple championships in his home state in Georgia, and eventually progressed to pro trucks at eleven, then pro late models at twelve. A year later, he ran his first All American 400 as an independent. He continued running big-ticket late model races until 2015, where he debuted in both the K&N Pro Series East and West. A year later started out with a promising deal to run the K&N East schedule with Ranier Racing with MDM, but that fell apart mid-season due to funding issues. Davis spent the rest of the year bouncing between teams, including his family team, Jefferson Pitts Racing and Hattori Racing Enterprises.

In 2017, Davis found himself in the ARCA Racing Series, running seven races with four top tens for Venturini Motorsports. He also traveled around the country as a Toyota super late model driver. He stepped up this year to run a few Truck races for Kyle Busch Motorsports, joining a multitude of Toyota drivers getting limited seat time, sharing the #51 truck with Harrison Burton, Brandon Jones, Riley Herbst, David Gilliland and Kyle Busch. Less publicized, however, is Davis’ effort in the K&N Pro Series East, a part-time deal with Danny Watts Racing in the #82 car. The team, prior to Memphis, had finished between fifth and eighth in all four of its 2018 starts.

Memphis’ entry list yielded 19 cars and was heavy on part-time returns. Armani Williams was the only driver to make a debut, driving with Calabrese Motorsports, a team which had previously entered cars for Joe Graf Jr. and Eddie MacDonald earlier in the season. Also returning were all three of the Bill McAnally Racing cars, with Derek Kraus, Hailie Deegan and Cole Rouse back for the first time since Bristol. Trey Hutchens returned to the series for the first time in 2018 after running nearly half the schedule last year. Colin Garrett and his Hunt-Sellers Racing team returned after a rough set of Twin 100s and J.P. Morgan made his first start in the #23 machine since New Smyrna. Missing from the entry list again was Salvatore Iovino, whose full-season effort was apparently abandoned.

Last in practice on Saturday was the aforementioned Williams. The practice session was one of the closest of the season, as Williams’ fastest lap was only a second slower than leader Tyler Dippel. The 43 car again anchored the charts in the next event of the weekend, qualifying, this time slipping to almost two seconds behind leader Tyler Ankrum.

In the race, Williams held last until about Lap 35, when Juan Manuel Gonzalez dropped to last and became the first to fall a circuit behind on Lap 39. After the first mid-race break, Williams dropped to last again, only for it to be re-claimed by Gonzalez on Lap 65. He didn’t stay there long, however, as Cole Rouse pitted on Lap 70 to diagnose an engine issue and spent eight circuits on pit road, dropping the #99 to last. Rouse held that spot until around Lap 145, when Davis dropped to last. After the second mid-race break, electrical problems hampered the team, and a steady fall through the running order ended after 139 laps.

Rouse finished eighteenth, the last car running. Gonzalez finished four laps down, Williams three in arrears, and Trey Hutchens was the last car one lap down to round out the Bottom Five.

19) #82-Spencer Davis / 139 laps / electrical
18) #99-Cole Rouse / 142 laps / running
17) #5-Juan Manuel Gonzalez / 146 laps / running
16) #43-Armani Williams / 147 laps / running
15) #14-Trey Hutchens / 149 laps / running

1st) Toyota, Chevrolet (3)

1st) Bill McAnally Racing, Ronald Bassett Jr., Charles Buchanan Jr., Carroll Motorsports, Hunt-Sellers Racing, Danny Watts Racing (1)


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