By Brian Eberly, Contributing Writer
A quick Google search on the name Spencer Davis yields results primarily for the musician who founded the 1960s rock band The Spencer Davis Group. The 18-year-old race car driver of the same name looks to change that and this season will compete in several series, including seven ARCA Racing Series events with Venturini Motorsports.
“I had wanted to run some ARCA stuff this year. Billy (Venturini) got wind of it and he gave me a call. I was actually Go-Kart racing down in Daytona for Kart Week,” Davis told Motorsports Tribune.
“We started the process of inking the deal when I got back from that race and luckily it turned into being able to go to the ARCA test at Daytona so I could get some seat time at superspeedways and kind of gel with everyone over there at Venturini. It was a really cool deal to have a phone call from a car owner like that who wants you to come over there and wants you to drive his stuff.”
Davis was able to work with the Venturini organization in January during the test session at Daytona International Speedway. Behind the wheel of the team’s No. 25 Toyota, Davis posted the second fastest speed of the 63 drivers with a lap at 189.092 mph.
“Overall, obviously the test went really well. We were the fastest car in single car runs by two-tenths (of a second). Being a rookie there and going out for the first time and sitting P1 on the board was cool,” Davis said of having the fastest car during the opening day single car runs.
The superspeedway experience will hopefully pay dividends, as Davis will make his ARCA debut at the 2.66-mile Talladgea Superspeedway in Friday’s General Tire 200 behind the wheel of the No. 15 Toyota.
“I’m excited and a little bit nervous about Talladega because as a superspeedway it’s going to be fun, but big tracks call for big wrecks sometimes,” Davis said regarding his outlook on his seven-race ARCA schedule.
The Dawsonville, Georgia native will also compete in the No. 25 Toyota at Pocono Raceway, Michigan International Speedway, Iowa Speedway, Lucas Oil Raceway, Kentucky Speedway and in the series’ finale at Kansas Speedway in October.
“I think the race we’re really going to be hard to beat at is Iowa because I caught on at that track really well when I ran there my first time in K&N,” said Davis, who finished second in the K&N Pro Series East in 2015.
“In addition, I’m also really looking forward to getting mile-and-a-half experience.”
In addition to his ARCA schedule, Davis plans to compete in 20 Super Late Model events and has also made starts in the K&N Pro Series East, finishing third at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Davis has already been noticed, being one of 11 drivers inducted into the 2016-17 NASCAR Next Class, an industry-wide initiative designed to spotlight the best and brightest rising young stars in racing. Drivers must be between the ages of 15-25, have tangible and expressed goals in eventual competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and demonstrate the potential to realize that goal. This year’s NASCAR Next class was selected through an evaluation process that included input from industry executives, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Drivers Council and media.
“Being inducted into the NASCAR Next program, you get some support from NASCAR that I don’t think you get otherwise. It’s help with the media and marketing and I think that’s the biggest benefit,” said Davis, who also noted the program helps drivers get the most potential possible out of social media and branding.
Davis will take to the track at Talladega to begin his ARCA season on Friday, with the race airing live on Fox Sports 1 at 6:00 p.m. CST.