I’m excited for next week’s Mid-Ohio race, and not just because IndyCar is returning after having been off for the past 8 months or so (ok, so it was a few weeks; that’s not how it feels). We’re getting to see the IndyCar race debut of James Davison, too.
That might seem like a strange thing to get excited about—after all, Davo doesn’t have a huge following compared to some other drivers, he isn’t on the top fan lists of “drivers I want to see in a ride”, and he’s making his debut in Dale Coyne’s 2nd car, which has been a bit feast-or-famine for the most part of the year. But there are some very good reasons to be excited about James Davison finally getting his first chance in the IZOD IndyCar Series:
-He’s a ladder guy! That probably doesn’t matter to some of you, but before the Mazda Road to Indy was officially a thing, Davo went through a year of Star Mazda, a year of Atlantics and two in Indy Lights, finishing runner-up in 2009. Then…he had to wait. And wait. And wait. He’s done sports cars the last few years, but he’s tested IndyCars, and always just sort of hung around the sidelines, waiting to get that chance.
-He’s been an absolute boss at Mid-Ohio, winning the last two races he had here in Lights (including one in some of the strangest circumstances you’ll ever see).
-He’s an Indianapolis winner. No, really—he won the US Grand Prix while he was in Formula BMW Junior Series, during the years that event was held at the Speedway road course.
-He comes from a pretty cool racing family. His grandpa, dad and uncle were racers (his grandpa won the Australian GP four times!), and his cousins race in the always-fun V8 Supercar series back in his native Australia.
-When he couldn’t make the jump to IndyCar (he was supposed to be moving up through Vision Racing in 2010 before they shut their doors), he did all sorts of things to stay involved in racing, including: working as a driving coach for Milka Duno (seriously), doing spotter work, driving in Grand-Am, and was even scheduled to drive in last year’s Indianapolis 3 Hours (the entry retired before he got his chance).
-“Davo” is a really easy nickname to remember. Try it, and sound like a casual, familiar insider!
-It will be really funny watching people accidently refer to him as “James Davidson”. Let’s see how many folks make the mistake either on a broadcast or in a written blurb.
So there you go. Now, when everyone gears up next week and starts talking about the Mid-Ohio race, you’ll be able to drop some casual knowledge about James Davison. “Oh yeah, Davo’s in the 18 car this week,” you’ll say in an offhand manner, as you go on to amaze your friends by telling them all about his background and racing history. Now, let’s go wish Davo the best as he gets to make an IndyCar debut that was a very long time in the making.