Following a couple of wildly successful seasons, Jonathan Davenport recently announced his return to Cowpens, South Carolina based Barry Wright Race Cars.
Among the changes for Davenport will be a new engine program. BWRC and Davenport along with Joplin, Missouri based Hatfield Racing Engines are excited to announce a brand new partnership.
"I'm glad to be working with Park and Tony this season," commented Davenport. "We got together and have put something together to work for both of us."
Davenport, having raced several different brands of engines throughout his immensely successful career further elaborated about a few things he expects out of his race engines.
"First and foremost they have to be durable. You can't make any money if you aren’t finishing races. Drivability and power are a couple other important things that have to be there. I also have a few specifics to my style of driving, and they seem to be willing to work with us. I can be picky at times!"
To start the year, he will begin with four different Hatfield power-plants. Three are wide-bore Chevrolet based engine. The other is the wildly popular RY45 Ford based engine.
"I've always kind of leaned towards Chevy power," said Davenport. "But last year when I was racing some for Randy Weaver, I ran Ford's and it really opened my eyes to what else was out there. I'm happy to run either or both."
For Hatfield Engines the partnership brings them back into the National Dirt Late Model market. For many years they enjoyed success with Marshall Green, Dennis Erb Jr., Terry Phillips, Al Purkey and Dale McDowell.
"We've obviously seen what Jonathan is capable of and it really excites us to be working with him and the Barry Wright house car team," said Park Jones. "We haven't had a Late Model driver who followed a mostly national schedule for several years. We're always up for a good challenge and hope to help put the #49 team in Victory Lane a lot this coming season."
Davenport ran two shows for Wright near the end of the 2016 campaign. He won them both, but they were crate races. The pairing has yet to run an open engine with their all new designed Icon by Barry Wright.
"I was fortunate to have several offers out there, when the Rumley deal wasn't going to continue," commented Davenport. "I chose to go back to Barry and Lance because it was more than just racing. It was about looking into my future. Weaver's wreck really opened my eyes. You never know when you might not be able to race anymore. I really had a hand in designing this new car. It is the safest Dirt Late Model I have ever seen."
The team has prepared a true "outlaw" type schedule with events plotted all over the country. They plan to run regional special events as well as the biggest crown jewels in the nation.
"We have some work to do to get Barry's customer base built back up. While we're doing that I hope to be able to showcase these Hatfield Engines and get a few more guys running them too. Our schedule will force us to run well regionally and nationally to accomplish our goals."