James Davison is hooked on NASCAR.
“It’s everything,” Davison said on The Racing Writer’s Podcast. “Obviously, the racing is so exciting. The spectacle that NASCAR is on the superspeedways; what a monster the cars are on road courses. And then, of course, it’s the big grand show in this country in motorsports, and to be a part of the Cup Series is very special.
“Albeit if you’re with a heavily underfunded team where you have no chance of running better than 32nd unless there’s attrition, it’s still amazing to be a part of the Cup Series, and of course, I’m learning in a very different way. But that’s the only way that I can learn. I don’t have the funding behind me to go run with a top team in Trucks or Xfinity; it’s learning in the Cup Series with an underfunded team.
“I just love it. Everything about it is amazing.”
Davison got his feet wet in two NASCAR Cup Series races for Spire Motorsports and then 13 for Rick Ware Racing last year. This season, Davison expects to be behind the wheel in many more, and he recently announced he would not return to the Indianapolis 500 as he continues to focus on stock cars.
“I was confronted with the situation where I could do the Indy 500 or 26 NASCAR Cup races, and really my heart is in NASCAR,” Davison said. “And I wanted to properly commit to it by doing as many races as I could and also moving to Charlotte (N.C.).”
However, this is not the first time Davison has competed in NASCAR. Davison made four starts in the Xfinity Series between 2016 and ’18, most of which came with Joe Gibbs Racing. All four starts came on road courses, and Davison earned a top-five finish at Mid-Ohio and a top-10 result at Road America.
A 23rd-place finish on the Daytona road course in February and 22nd at Martinsville earlier this month are Davison’s best results in 21 Cup starts. That Daytona finish is also the best result the Ware team has had on a road course.
Davison initially came to the United States chasing the open-wheel dream and IndyCar. But as he continues to get settled in NASCAR and hopes to be around for years to come, Davison would have done things differently if given a chance again.
“To be honest with you, if I had my time again 15 years ago when I came over here, I would have chased NASCAR from the beginning,” he admitted. “Kind of like Michael McDowell. I remember at the 2005 Surfers Paradise (IndyCar) race in Australia hanging out with Michael McDowell at the after-party because I knew he was an open-wheel guy, and we were just talking about how it is, and I think I asked him if he was set for next year, and he just said, ‘Look, I don’t have the funding and I’m looking at other things.’ And he made that decision there, I think in 2006, to go to NASCAR, kind of a similar time that [AJ] Allmendinger did. These guys have had long, successful careers, and it’s definitely something that I took note of but I was kind of committed to open-wheel racing at that time.”
Hear the full interview with Davison on the latest episode of The Racing Writer’s Podcast: