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Ferguson holds off Davenport for Diamond Nationals win

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Chris Ferguson celebrates his CMH Diamond Nationals victory Sunday night, July 19, at Lucas Oil Speedway. 

Chris Ferguson, in just his second race at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, beat Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Georgia, at the finish line by half a car length to win the Diamond Nationals late model dirt series event.

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Chris Ferguson, No. 22, and Jonathan Davenport, No. 49, battle it out in the closing laps of the Diamond Nationals at Lucas Oil Speedway. 

The Mt. Holly, North Carolina, driver pocketed $12,000 for the victory.

Davenport briefly passed Ferguson late in the race before Davenport regained the lead and then held on on the final lap, making the outside line stick out of turn four to prevail by a half-car length, according to a Lucas Oil news release. 

"I could see Jonathan on the big screen, going into (turn) three," Ferguson said in the release. "He was floating a little bit better than I was.

The start of the 50-lap main event was delayed for two hours due to rain, the release stated. 

The feature had six cautions, the release stated. The final caution flag on lap 39 set up a shoot-out between the top two and third-place Shane Clanton.

Several contenders fell by the wayside in the first half of the race, the release stated. Billy Moyer was running fifth when he slowed suddenly on lap five, bringing out the caution. 

Moyer took over the lead on lap eight, but Ferguson regained it the next time around.

At the time of the caution, Shannon Buckingham was second with Jimmy Owens third and Billy Moyer Jr. in fourth. Owens moved past Buckingham and into second after the restart and, by lap 25, the top three were separated by just one second.

Tanner English spun on the front straightaway to bring out a lap-29 caution. Shane Clanton by then moved into fourth behind the leading trio. Meanwhile, Moyer Jr. had to pull off, as well.

The ensuing restart didn't even complete a lap before being disrupted by a multi-car tangle on the backstretch, the release stated. 

At that point, with 21 laps to go, the race was red-flagged to allow drivers to change helmets. Due to the dirt build up from the wet track, drivers had exhausted tear-offs on their helmets and visibility was poor, the release stated.

Davenport continued his charge, moving into second on the restart and continuing to apply pressure to Ferguson

"I'll tell you man, God is great. I can't even believe we're here," Ferguson said in the release. "I have so many people to thank. If it wasn't for my sponsors, I wouldn't be here right now.”

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