2016 MID-SEASON REVIEW: COLLETE DAVIS
STATS (through 6 of 12 rounds): 8th in Lites points (94); 6 starts, best finish 5th
POSITIVES: Davis has been a completely different driver since joining Rhys Millen Racing in 2016. Buoyed by both an extensive testing program in the offseason and being the team’s lead focus, her confidence has skyrocketed—and her racecraft has taken a huge step forward, too.
The sophomore Lites driver started the season on a high note by transferring directly to the first final of the year in Phoenix, and then earned a career-best fifth place finish in the second final the next day. Even without advancing directly to the main event, she has proven that she’s able to avoid the carnage that comes with most last chance qualifiers, advancing to finals from the four-lap battle on three separate occasions.
NEGATIVES: Contact from behind robbed Davis of what could have easily been her first Lites podium in Phoenix; running third, Travis PeCoy sent her into a tire barrier in the dirt that cut her season opener short. She also has missed two finals out of six so far this year, but with the deepest field in Lites history, many experienced drivers (including all-time leading Lites point scorer Alejandro Fernandez) have faced the same challenges.
“It’s just a testament to the field that’s here—it’s super competitive,” Davis admitted in Phoenix. “You know, half the field is within half a second so it’s pretty intense just coming in here. But running with RMR, I’m feeling great already. We’re definitely seeing where the offseason testing has been paying off immediately. So now we’re just trying to keep working on it and get up to the top.”
OUTLOOK: The Lites class has gotten deeper, sure, but Davis’ progress as a driver has matched the growth and expansion of the field. It’s hard to crack the podium, but by no means impossible, and the RMR squad has already gotten a driver there in 2016 with Blake “Bilko” Williams. Davis has shown that she can easily be next.
Photo credit: Louis Yio (1); Larry Chen (2)