DAVENPORT, IA – Davenport Speedway will always hold a place in Tanner English’s heart.
After all, it’s where the Benton, KY driver first tasted victory (twice) with the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series in 2022.
At least year’s Quad Cities 150, English scored his first Series win, beating Bobby Pierce to the finish line by 0.235 seconds. Twenty-four hours later, he backed that up with another win over Pierce, this time worth $30,000.
The World of Outlaws CASE Late Models return to Davenport, Aug. 24-26, for the third annual My Place Hotels Quad Cities 150 presented by Hoker Trucking—an event that’ll always be important to English’s career.
“Just to get my first national touring win and back it up with another one is big,” English said. “It got some momentum going for the rest of the year. And that’s what solidified running second in points last year and wrapping up the rookie of the year.”
English’s preferred line at Davenport is the bottom, a lane he used perfectly to score his two wins. But even with that success, one of the things he loves about the track is the difference between the two grooves.
“It’s just so wide,” English said. “To run the bottom, you about have to idle around there, and you can still keep up with the guys who are running wide open around the top. Just because it’s so wide, you can get away with having two totally different lines and running the track totally different. It’s basically like having two different racetracks. A quarter around the bottom like they say it is, and a 3/8ths around the top.”
While that inside lane momentum propelled him to victory and was the key to success, another factor has changed since the Series last raced at the Iowa bullring.
Earlier this season, Hoosier Racing Tire implemented a new National Dirt Late Model Racing tire, consisting of only four different compounds. English said that change will bring the field closer together, making it more difficult to start mid-pack.
“You can be on a different tire this year, and it doesn’t make that much of a difference,” English said. “Like [Thursday at Cedar Lake], the top 10 were all on different tires. It was a 4, 3, 4, 3; everybody was all the same. But in a 70-lap race like it was that night (at Davenport) if you can manage your tires, you can still get away with snookering them there and putting on a different tire. But it’s definitely tougher than it was last year.”
While English has found success at Davenport, he’s only scored one World of Outlaws win since his two triumphs at Davenport—a win at The Dirt Track at Charlotte during the World of Outlaws World Finals.
However, he’s still had a solid season, entering the Quad Cities 150 seventh in points—only four points behind Brian Shirley for fifth. He’s also earned five podiums in the last 10 World of Outlaws races, including two at Cedar Lake Speedway last weekend.
But there’s one race that still eats at him a bit. A win that slipped away in June at Mason City Motor Speedway.
“We should’ve won at Mason City but had that flat tire,” English said. “We beat Bobby (Pierce) flat out and passed him. It just sucks the one time we felt like we had him beat, we let it go. He’s been tough this year, and everybody’s tough. It’s a stacked field. It’s like me and Dennis (Erb) last year. Even though there’s so much competition, they came in last year and raced with us, and we were still up front.
“It’s just different this year. Everyone’s on top of their game, and I think this tire rule has definitely changed the game a little bit.”
Another thing that’s different for English this year is the team he’s driving for. Last season, both of his wins at Davenport happened with Riggs Motorsports, but this season, he’s driving the Shawn and Lisa Martin-owned Viper Motorsports entry.
Despite being kept out of Victory Lane, English, and the team keep pushing forward, changing things on a nightly basis to improve.
“We’re definitely getting better,” English said. “We’re trying new things. Trying not to get out of a rut and stay in our comfort zone. And we’re not worrying about results. You just have to wing it and see what happens and try to get better.”
That mindset and consistency in the last 10 races may be what it takes to give him another reason to adore Davenport Speedway.
English and the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models return to Davenport Speedway for the My Place Hotels Quad Cities 150 presented by Hoker Trucking on Aug. 24-26, along with the Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota. FOR TICKETS: CLICK HERE.
If you can’t make it to the tracks, you can watch every World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model race live on DIRTVision.