ELKHART LAKE, Wis. — James Davison channeled his inner Cole Trickle during the opening stage of Sunday’s Johnsonville 180 at Road America, leading every lap en route to his first NASCAR XFINITY Series stage win.
Davison rocketed around the outside of Cindric when the initial green flag flew, taking the top spot on entry to Turn 1 from the outside pole and leading by as much as a second early, despite struggling with front grip in his No. 20 Toyota.
The gap was reduced to nothing when the race’s first caution flew on lap five, after Scott Lagasse Jr. tried to rocket from ninth to seventh around Elliott Sadler and Ryan Reed and overcooked Turn 5, spinning into the gravel trap and being unable to escape.
That allowed several drivers, including Sadler and former Road America winner Brendan Gaughan, to drop down pit road in an early strategy play, while up front, Davison and Cindric led the field back to green with three laps remaining in the first stage.
The restart saw a back-and-forth gunfight between Justin Marks and Cindric for the runner-up spot, with Marks passing Cindric at Turn 2, Cindric shoving Marks back out at Turn 3 and Marks ultimately getting the position between Turns 5 and 6.
All the while, Davison was able to open up his lead to 2.563 seconds as he drove away from Marks in the final laps of the stage.
Cindric faded to third, battling minor damage to the nose of his car after the earlier contact with Marks, followed by Brennan Poole and Justin Allgaier.
Ryan Reed, Matt Tifft, William Byron, Christopher Bell and Sheldon Creed completed the points scoring drivers in the top 10, with Creed making a late pass of Jeremy Clements on the back side of the course to take the final points position.
After his stage win, Davison led the leaders down pit road for service and was penalized for speeding on pit exit, being relegated to the tail end of the field for the next restart.
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Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
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