By: Spencer Neff
May 28, 2019 | 11:42 AM
As the 777 drivers who have entered the Indianapolis 500 can attest, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway can be a fickle place. In five starts, Melbourne, Australia’s James Davison has seen many highs lows at the race.
During his rookie campaign in 2014, Davison charged from 28th on the grid to finish a solid 16th for KV Racing.
A year later, a pit road collision with his Dale Coyne Racing teammates ended his day early. In 2017, Davison subbed for an injured Sebastien Bourdais. After starting 33rd, he led two laps before his day ended in a late-race crash.
In 2018, Davison rallied from a Fast Friday crash and safely qualify for the race – starting 19th. Handling issues led to a crash with Takuma Sato and Davison eventually finished 33rd.
For 2019, Davison again teamed with the Byrd and Belardi outfit, but in a change from last year’s affiliation with A.J. Foyt Racing, the group would pair with Dale Coyne Racing.
On the first day of qualifying, a four-lap average of 228.273 mph placed Davison 15th. In doing so, he earned the best starting spot of his IndyCar career.
Despite fuel cell issues during the Monday practice, his Honda-powered entry finished the day 10th on the speed charts. In the final practice on Carb Day, Davison again turned in an impressive performance. At the conclusion of the 90-minute session, he was fifth.
Early on during Sunday’s 200-lap race, Davison charged into the Top 10.
“Obviously, we got a fantastic start – and first restart – and moved up into the top 10 and running comfortably,” he expressed during his post-race comments.
During the first round of pit stops, Davison’s car was clipped by Helio Castroneves. The incident caused Davison to miss his pit stall.
Following the early setback, the veteran racer was able to rally and record an impressive 12th-place finish. Not only was this the best result of his seven IndyC’ar starts, but also his first time running at the finish of a race since his 2014 debut at IMS.
Afterward, Davison lamented the earl pit road issues. Prior to the contact, he also noted that his pit road speed limiter was broken.
“I pitted and the speed limit limiter didn’t work,” Davison noted. “As a result, I had to do it NASCAR-style, just looking at the RPMs on the dash.”
Keeping his own issues in mind, he also expressed sympathy towards Castroneves, who finished 18th (first car a lap down).
“Helio (Castroneves), unfortunately, was a victim of circumstances,” he reflected.
“He pulled out to pass me since I wasn’t going exactly 60 miles per hour doing it manually. Right when I needed to pull into my box, it spun me, and it was unfortunate for both of us.”
Reflecting on the day
Fighting back from the setbacks, Davison and the No. 33 team found their way back to 12th.
Although there were incidents that ultimately hampered their result, the Dale Coyne with Byrd and Belardi driver was ultimately thrilled with his result.
“We recovered from being two laps down,” he emphasized.
“I got a fantastic restart and finished 12th. That was the best that we could do the way the bed was made. I’m just really happy for this crew. It was an epic day. We’ll be back.”
Through just seven NTT IndyCar Series starts, James Davison has proven to be more than capable of running well.
In Sunday’s 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, he was finally able to put everything together for a finish reflective of that ability.
Header Image By Chris Jones/INDYCAR