Davidson Says Rookie Southeast Series Season Was Successful
26-Year-Old Had A Steep Learning Curve, Long Haul Each Week
PEARLAND, TX (November 17, 2004) -- Texas-native Chris Davidson knew coming into the 2004 season, he would already be at a disadvantage, being one of just two Texas racers who were looking to compete in the NASCAR Elite Division Southeast Series full time. Not only did he have a long haul and a little less time to prepare for each race because of it, but he would be racing on many tracks that he'd never seen before.
However, Davidson overcame the obstacles and finished the year sixth in points, second in the Rookie of the Year standings, and represented the Southeast Series mightily proud in the second running of the NASCAR Toyota All Star Showdown in Irwindale (CA) to round out the season. It was, what Davidson considered, a successful rookie campaign.
"It was a struggle, but I think it was an overall success," said Davidson. "Of course, you always want to do better than what you did, but what racer doesn't think that? This was a big learning year for us. We had to learn new tracks, a new type of car and race with a new group of racers. Overall, I think a top-10 points finish and some of the good runs at certain races we had this year made the year pretty good. We will just look to get better from here on out. But look at some of the guys we finished behind. They are some of the best short track racers in the country."
Several highlights dotted the 12-race 2004 Southeast Series schedule for Davidson, none more special than his runner-up finish at Kentucky Speedway back in June.
"Running second at a place like Kentucky to a guy like Jeff Fultz was huge. What made that even better was that the week before, we had gotten in a wreck with our primary speedway car, so we used our primary short track and swapped out the other engine and still had a chance at the win. We just missed it, but it was pretty cool."
Davidson also had two top-10 finishes in his first three SES events of the season, one of which came in his home state of Texas, where he finished fifth at Houston Motorsports Park.
"It's always good to run well in front of fans that have watched you race for a long time. There is something to be said about running so close to home and being able to sleep in your own bed at the end of the night."
Davidson had his longest road trip of the year to round out the season, as one of those invited to represent the Southeast Series at the NASCAR Toyota All Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway in California. Chris was fast all weekend long, and was the top finishing representative from the Southeast Series during Friday night's qualifiers, but a bump from another competitor during Saturday night's competition knocked him out early while running inside the top-10.
"I don't see any way we wouldn't have finished solidly in the top 10," added Davidson. "That is part of racing. But it was a great experience. If anyone ever builds a race track and they don't duplicate this one, they need to have a talking to."
Davidson ended the season with two top-five and seven top-10 finishes. Two accidents, both while running in the top-five at Nashville Superspeedway and Kentucky Speedway, ruined his shot for two more great finishes and possibly even a couple of wins.
"Our speedway program was strong this year but we knew it would be coming in," said Daivdson, who had several strong runs with the ROMCO Series on speedways before heading off to the Southeast Series. "We struggled a little at some of the short tracks, but we are visiting most of these places for the first time. Most of these other guys are veterans at most of these places, so I don't think we did too bad at all.
"When you are running with guys like Jeff Fultz, Jason Hogan, Erik Darnell, JR Norris, Kevin Prince and others, then you know that you are running with some of the best in the country. These guys are tough."
Davidson's season is not yet over. He'll join his father, Texas racing legend Greg Davidson, and run cars in both the Snowflake 100 and the 37th Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola (FL) during the first weekend of December.