David Gravel Tackles the Trophy Cup at Tulare
By DDR Motorsports PR
WATERTOWN, Conn. — Oct. 16, 2013— David Gravel got his first taste of Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif., earlier this year with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series. After a successful first visit to the high-banked, one-third-mile he was looking forward to hopefully returning to the track next season. Thanks to opportunity to drive for Rod Tiner in the prestigious Trophy Cup, Gravel won’t have to wait that long, as he’ll return to Tulare this week.
The 20th Annual Southwest Contractors Trophy Cup is set for Friday, October 18 and Saturday, October 19 at Thunderbowl Raceway. The event benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation. A full race program will be contested on the opening night, with event points earned. On Saturday, heat races and features will be run, with the night culminating with a 50-lap main event that is completely inverted based on event points. The driver that earns the most overall event points following the 50-lapper will be crowned the Trophy Cup Champion and take home the $25,000 top prize. Over 90 cars/drivers are currently entered for the winged sprint car portion of the Trophy Cup.
“The Trophy Cup is the biggest race of the season in California and it’s definitely an honor for me to get to race in it,” said Gravel. “I’m looking forward to the competition there. It sounds like there are going to be a ton of cars and a lot of great drivers. Tulare (Thunderbowl Raceway) was fun when I raced there with the Outlaws and it should be a great time again this weekend.”
Gravel finished fourth in his debut at Thunderbowl Raceway in March with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series. He was filling in for the injured Bill Rose during that span of the season. The native of Watertown, Conn., opened the night as the eighth-fastest qualifier of the 32 drivers in attendance. Gravel started third in the fourth heat race and finished third to earn a spot in the dash. He came home fourth in the dash and lined up on the outside of the second row for the 35-lap main event. Gravel would run among the top-five for the entire 35-lap event in his first-ever feature event start in the state of California.
On the second night of that event, Gravel came home 16th after suffering a flat tire near the halfway point of the main event. He opened the evening by recording the 14th-quickest lap in time trials. He both started and finished fifth in the second heat race, which transferred him directly into the 35-lap A-Feature. He was running 13th when he suffered the flat tire and after a visit to the work area was able to get back out and gain a few more positions.
“We’ve raced in a lot of big events this year, so we know what to expect when the stakes are high,” he noted. “The main thing is to treat the race the same way you would any other one and not look at how many cars are there or this or that. You have to focus on what you are doing do the best you can each time you are on the track. With the unique format, it’s definitely important to gain positions and move forward anytime you are out there.”
Gravel, who is the leading contender for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series, has won twice in 2013 with the series. He was victorious on the opening night of the Knoxville Nationals at the famed Knoxville Raceway in Iowa, and also picked up a checkered flag at I-94 Speedway in Minnesota.
The 21-year-old made eight starts in the state of California this year during the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series first West Coast swing, earning three top-10 finishes. He finished among the top-15 in seven of those eight races and qualified 14th or better in all of them. Gravel missed the second West Coast swing of the season as he battled a case of mononucleosis, a double ear infection and an enlarged spleen.
“Tulare (Thunderbowl Raceway) was a bit tricky in the spring when we were there, but that was a good learning point,” said Gravel. “Having raced a couple of different cars this year should help me adapt to the getting in a different car this weekend. I know I will have a good car and mechanic and I am up to the challenge of the competition. It should be a fun weekend.”
Keep up-to-date with David Gravel and DDR Motorsports by visiting www.DavidGravel89.com. Follow David on Twitter @davidgravel89g and like David on Facebook.