Charging Forward: David Gravel Improves 14 Positions in Knoxville Feature
By DDR Motorsports PR
Watertown, Conn.—May 12, 2013— David Gravel certainly had his work cut out for him on Saturday night at the famed Knoxville Raceway in Iowa, in the Mediacom Shootout. Starting 25th on the grid against one of the strongest fields all year in a World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series event, he had 25 laps to work his way forward on the famed half-mile. He did exactly that, improving a total of 14 positions over the course of the race to finish just outside of the top-10 in the 11th spot.
After having a power steering line come off while running third early in the B-main, Gravel was forced to take a World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series provisional to start the A-Feature. He took his spot on the inside of the 13th row in the Wright Process System/Firetext Reponse/Musco Fuels/JRC Transportation machine under the Bill Rose Racing banner for the 25-lap main event.
“We had a really good race car at Knoxville,” Gravel said. “We were very fast in hot laps and I just messed up qualifying. If you are off in qualifying it really affects the rest of your night. I had a good car in the heat race and just had a bad first few laps and that put me behind. It was unfortunate to have to use a provisional when we know we had a car good enough to not have to use one. That’s just how it goes sometimes.”
Gravel steadily worked his way forward in the main event, which was slowed three times, twice for red flags and once for a caution. The yellow flag flew on the sixth circuit, with Gravel gaining a couple of spots on that double-file restart. Just past the halfway point he found himself in the top-15. The final red flag period of the night came on the 19th lap, with Gravel’s crew making some changes to the car during that time. He restarted 13th and gained a spot on both the 21st and 22nd laps to move up to 11th, the spot he would take the checkered flag in.
“On the plus side, it was good to get some laps at Knoxville and I had never been there early in the season before, so to get those laps was pretty important,” he noted. “We’ll go back again next month with the Outlaws and get some more laps and all the laps will help when we go back in August for the Nationals.”
With a season-high 51 cars in the pit area at Knoxville on Saturday, May 11, the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series utilized a five heat race program for the first time in 2013. Gravel finished fifth in the fourth eight-lap heat race, coming up just one spot short of transferring to the main event, as the top-four in each heat moved on.
On Friday, May 10 in the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series debut at Elko Speedway in Minnesota, Gravel finished 20th. The race marked his first start in his own car since the season opening events at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida. Carrying the No. 6 for Bill Rose Racing, Gravel timed in 22nd-fastest in qualifying. He finished seventh in the second 10-lap heat, which put him in the B-main. Gravel would come home third in the B-main to earn a spot in the 40-lap A-Feature. The main event was cut short by rain on lap-34.
“It definitely was a difficult night and we had to fight really hard just to get into the feature,” he shared. “In a sense it felt like we were starting from scratch, being back in my own car, while everyone else was running the cars they’ve been in all year. We got better and better as the night went on, but it was not quite enough.”
Gravel, who is currently seventh in the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series championship standings on the strength of 10 top-10 finishes, returns to action this week with the first East Coast Swing of the season for the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series. The native of Watertown, Conn., will race five times in seven nights at four different tracks.
“We are working hard this week to make sure we are ready for the East Coast Swing,” Gravel said. “It will take us a few more nights to get dialed in with our car, but we are doing our part and will keep learning as we go. It’s going to be nice to race close to home when we are in New York and New Jersey.”
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.