Just the other day I was sitting around thinking about how impressive it is that in both Sprint Car and Late Model racing right now there are two drivers that are completely dominant in an era that it is incredibly hard to do so. Donny Schatz in the Sprints and Jonathan Davenport in the Late Models.
I know, I know, we’ve all heard the stories of past legends that dominated the sport at one time or the other. In the Sprints the most famous example is Steve Kinser who won 45 or so World of Outlaws races in a year in the late 80’s, and Scott Bloomquist in the Late Models, but in an era where everyone gets to buy a competitive car and passing it as a premium at a lot of racetracks, what Schatz and Davenport are doing currently is just staggering.
Take a look at Donny Schatz’s numbers. If you do not think that Schatz is the best Sprint car driver in the world right now, you’re fooling yourself. It’s only the end of June and Schatz currently has 16 World of Outlaws feature victories. Yea, you read that right, 16. He also has 28 top 5 finishes and 35 top 10 finishes. The guy never breaks and no matter where he starts in the field he is coming to the front. I was at the Knoxville Nationals in 2013 when he came out of the B-Main to win the A-Main on Saturday night. Coming from 21st in the biggest Sprint car race in the country to take the win is indeed impressive, and it doesn’t look like he will be slowing down anytime soon. With the Kings Royal and the Knoxville Nationals looming in the near future, the smart money would be on Schatz.
In the Late Models pure dominance like Schatz’s sprint dominance hasn’t been seen in a while. Sure Scott Bloomquist, Billy Moyer, and Jimmy Owens have went on stretches in recent years that were incredibly impressive, but Davenport strung together 9 straight victories prior to running 3rd in the Lucas Oil event at Smoky Mountain this past Saturday, and that was after mechanical issues in time trials forced him to start last in his heat race. He also took the win in the Dirt Late Model Dream and took wins in his preliminary feature the previous two nights before the feature night at Eldora. He’s on a different planet right now then the rest of the drivers in the sport and looks like it’ll be a while before the others get caught up.
What Donny Schatz and Jonathan Davenport are doing right now is so impressive that it deserves attention, and while Davenport is garnering a lot of fans at the moment due to this driving style and the fact that he has taken the attention away from Bloomquist, Schatz has been booed for years as the dominant figure in sprint car racing. Go to a World of Outlaws event in Central Pennsylvania if you want to see a fan reaction with tons of boos for a driver. They despise Schatz up there. But we all have to give credit where credit is due. There are a ton of good drivers and a ton of good teams in our sport at this moment, and to see just how dominant Schatz and Davenport have been in recent months is staggering.