INDIANAPOLIS — Jonathan Byrd’s Racing is an iconic staple to the Indianapolis 500. They first came in 1985 with Rich Vogler. They’d use grassroots drivers. From Vogler, to Stan Fox, to John Andretti to Bryan Clauson and others that have certainly drove for them, but their choices for drivers is what made them so popular.
So, some may be wondering, how did they get teamed up with James Davison? I mean, nothing against Davison. He’s a hell of a talent and anyone would be dumb to not give the Australian driver a shot. But, from a USAC feeder program almost, to a driver to have never raced in USAC before he teamed with them, how did this relationship start?
Well, it happened by chance actually.
“So he (David Byrd) and I met each other after my first ‘500 in the garage area,” Davison said. “He had done a deal with Bryan Clauson for the next year in 2015. He just asked me what my experience was like with KV and I said it was fantastic. And then he had Bryan Clauson as his driver and then he sponsored the Coyne car when (Conor) Daly drove it.
“But, after the 2017 race here where I got the opportunity to sub for (Sebastien) Bourdais, that was obviously the time to shine for any driver that got that opportunity. So, I did my best with it. Thankfully it didn’t go unnoticed by David and he came up to me in the garage area after the race and said alright, I’ve seen enough, lets partner up.
“So I’ve been very fortunate to have his support for the last 2 1/2 years. It’s a privilege to have someone’s support like that. He bases his whole business model around going racing and leveraging his business relationships off of the Roger Penske model.
“Any young driver just needs someone to believe in them and I’m thankful to have that support by them. It’s been a very great experience so far from all the stuff that we’ve done and hopefully for many more years. Things are looking good.”
Davison is doing just that. He’s opened up his array of racing abilities and that’s all thanks for the Byrd’s. I mean, he’s like a modern day Mario Andretti or AJ Foyt.
He’s raced the Chili Bowl, the 24 Hours of Daytona, the Indy 500 and some select NASCAR races. That’s all just this year alone.
“Just whatever I can race, I’ll keep my name out there and stay sharp and enjoy a career of being an opportunist,” Davison said of racing is so many different disciplines or motorsports now. “It’s quite unique for me to be between IndyCar and NASCAR in one year. It’s pretty cool.
“You can get very close to the limit, but with how competitive racing is these days, the fine details separates the good from the great. Some people can be losing their careers these days or their rides because they are only 2 or 3 tenths of a second too slow. That’s nothing. But, it’s enough to put you back 5-10 spots and then you eliminate your chance to win with track position or your car is off the screen and not on television. It certainly helps running full time in one series that’s for sure.”
Davison, has a great opportunity to really do something special here and after finishing 12th in last year’s race, he can challenge for a top 10 next Sunday. He says that the opportunity in IndyCar to win is much better than in NASCAR right now.
“I think you always have to be careful using the word impossible but it’s all but impossible to win if you’re one of the small teams in NASCAR,” Davison continued. “You’re going to have to have a lot of rain and a lot of attrition like that. In IndyCar, the parity is amazing and every team has a shot for the most part. About 90% of the grid has the opportunity to do well. That’s what’s great about this series. It’s refreshing to have a chance in IndyCar.”