James Davison returned to NASCAR for his first start of the season at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL in the Drive for the Cure 250 for the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Davison, driving the No. 18 for Joe Gibbs Racing, had no problem shaking off the rust, finishing in the top five with a fourth-place finish.
While eventual winner AJ Allmendinger, Ty Gibbs and Noah Gragson were up front battling in the Round of 12 cutoff race, Davison quietly worked through the field after starting 16th and avoided late cautions to tie a career-best finish in NASCAR, regardless of division.
His previous best finish was fourth place at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2017, also in a JGR Xfinity car.
“It’s always a pleasure to go racing with Joe Gibbs Racing; they’re the best organization I’ve been a part of,” Davison said post-race. “I needed to make the most of today’ it was my first race back in a stock car in a year.
“The Xfinity field is the best it’s ever been. The guys finishing ahead of me are all going to be Cup drivers next year. To just finish behind them is all we could’ve hoped for.”
Davison has been known for driving in the NASCAR Cup Series over the last few years for Rick Ware Racing. While decorated in other racing disciplines, NASCAR has never been the place to really show his skillset as a driver thus far.
“The team gave me a good car and made the most out of the restarts,” he said. “I made a couple of mistakes here and there, to be expected. Just have to thank our sponsors.”
Davison also expressed how pleased team owner Joe Gibbs after the race was over.
“When I got out of the car, Joe Gibbs came up to me and said, ‘let’s do this again,’” Davison said. “That’s what you want to hear, but funding is always the challenge for everyone.”
The 36-year-old from Melbourne, Australia, said he feels that strong runs like at the ROVAL can influence drivers from other places across the world to try NASCAR.
“I dominated a stage with Joe Gibbs Racing at Road America  and I think it opened up a lot of people’s eyes,” he said. “You can get establishment over here and there is the opportunity. I love racing here; it’s the best motorsports show on the planet.”
With the newly formed third car for Trackhouse Racing Team, Project91, the seat for international drivers has become more possible. The possibility of racing on the street course in 2023 was met with a smile.
“I just need to chat with Justin Marks, don’t I?”
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