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Davenport opens PIR season with win

By Daniel Paulling dpaulling@paducahsun.com

Tait Davenport left Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway on April 12 thinking a flat left front tire cost him a win. He only needed to wait six days to make up for it.

The Paducah driver took the lead on lap 5 of the 15-lap Crate Late Model feature Friday at Paducah International Raceway and went on to earn his second win this season.

"It means a lot," Davenport said. "It's good to win at home."

The race was the first this season at Paducah International Raceway after the track hosted just 10 last year. The Mason family, who own two teams, leased it in an effort to have weekly races.

Davenport's victory came at the expense of Kevin Cole, who started on the pole and jumped to an early lead in the feature. But then Cole's engine overheated, forcing him to slow.

On what would've been lap nine, Cole finally had to pull out of the race.

"I tried to back down as much as I could without getting beat real quick," he said. "There's six or so laps left, I didn't think it was going to make it. I pulled off trying to not tear anything up.

"I got a light on it once it gets to a certain temperature. It was on pretty early. We were kind of holding (Davenport) up. We were probably where he needed to be. Hopefully we can get it fixed and try again."

The key to winning a feature Friday, it seemed, was simple: get ahead early and run away.

Michael Watson did so in taking the 4 cylinder outlaw feature. Street stock winner Tony Cruse started on the pole and was only threatened a couple of times. Modified winner Josh Harris fell behind Justin Story off the start but cruised to a win after passing him.

Unfortunately for Cole, his engine wouldn't allow him to do that. But part of Davenport's win, and his chance to make amends for missing out on one six days before, could be credited to how his car has run since installing a new shock package two weeks ago.

"The last two weeks have been killer," he said.

"Normally when you make a change like that, it takes a while to figure it out. We've only had them on for a few weeks, but they keep hitting."

Call Daniel Paulling, a Sun sports writer, at 270-575-8662, or follow on Twitter @DanielPaulling.

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