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ZERO TO HERO: David Gravel & Big Game Motorsports Rebound with Perris Auto Speedway Victory
Gravel & Macedo Offer Five Lead Changes in Exciting SoCal Showdown
PERRIS, CA - March 26, 2022 - Any of the 10 World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series champions will tell you that the ability to battle adversity is crucial in climbing the mountaintop.
If you're one of the best, you're certainly going to experience a fair share of glorious moments over the course of a 90-race schedule, but you're not exempt from the bumps in the road. It's about how you handle those moments that define your season.
On Saturday, David Gravel and Big Game Motorsports passed their first true test of the season with flying colors. From on the wrecker with a junked race car at 10pm Friday night to basking in victory lane's confetti at 10pm on Saturday, the #2 boys excelled with an A+ bounce back.
"This feels really good," a relieved Gravel said post-race. "I feel like we've been in contention to win every race this year but maybe one, so to have a 15th & 23rd following that start to the season was a bit depressing. We knew we were fast every night, but the results just didn't show for it. These guys busted their asses today to make this possible. They woke up super early, built this new car, and it all paid off."
A 7am alarm clock and all-day effort from Cody Jacobs, Trey Bowman, and Zach Patterson eventually led to the new car being finished just before hot laps. From there, Gravel took the wheel and did what he does best - timing in second, winning the heat, and topping a wild 30-lapper at Perris Auto Speedway.
To seal the deal on the rewarding comeback, Gravel was forced to manage a race that featured the most lead changes this season. He and Carson Macedo swapped the top spot on five occasions, including a pair of sliders on Lap 28 as things got heated. The Watertown, CT native then survived a green-white-checkered to bank his 71st career win and second of the 2022 season.
"When the #41 slid me like that I was ready to go and I was gonna give it right back at him," Gravel commented on his battle with Macedo. "Those cautions were killing me, but it all worked out. These guys had to strip down the junked car, build this kit car today, and I'm glad I can reward them with a win. We deserved this win."
Finishing second for the second-straight night was Corey Day, a teenager who continues to steal headlines across the nation. On Friday, he set the record for youngest runner-up in World of Outlaws history at 16 years, 3 months, 27 days. On Saturday, he took to the PAS 1/2-mile one day wiser and backed up his performance with another P2 effort against The Greatest Show on Dirt.
The Clovis, CA native and prodigy of two-time World of Outlaws champion Jason Meyers dealt with his own slice of adversity, too. Contact with Macedo at the start of the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash sent the #14 flipping before he even had a shot to race for the pole position. After repairs were made, Day started sixth in the Feature and drove forward to earn his second podium in his third-career start.
"Running second against the Outlaws is cool enough, but then to do it two nights in a row is crazy," said Corey, the son of former west coast sprint car star Ronnie Day. "I watch these guys on DIRTvision every single week and try to learn as much as possible, especially when I'm racing against them. I messed up that last restart again like I did last night, but it's a teaching moment."
Finishing third was Carson Macedo of Lemoore, CA in the Jason Johnson Racing, Albaugh #41. He paced the opening seven laps on Saturday, then again controlled laps 9-12, and briefly commanded lap 28, but ultimately took the final step of the podium.
Going for his 20th career win - 5th in his home state of California - Macedo was all over Gravel for the win until a tiny mistake sent the Phil Dietz prepared machine over the cushion and backward at the white flag. It's their third podium in 10 races as JJR continues to build a championship-contending operation.
"To win these Outlaw races you can't make any mistakes, and I made too many tonight," Macedo admitted on the frontstretch. "I felt strong early on, but definitely stalled out when I hit traffic. It's so tough to be the leader in those situations because you just don't know where to go. I threw a couple of things at David, but couldn't land them right in front of him. I just need to get a little sharper."
Closing out the top-five on Saturday night was championship leader Brad Sweet in fourth-place aboard the Kasey Kahne Racing, NAPA Auto Parts #49, and Sheldon Haudenschild with a west coast best of fifth-place in the Stenhouse Jr. / Marshall Racing, NOS Energy Drink #17.
Rounding out the top-10 at Perris was D.J. Netto in the Netto Ag #88N, Jacob Allen in the Shark Racing #1A, Spencer Bayston in the CJB Motorsports #5, Cory Eliason in the Rudeen Racing #26, and Donny Schatz in the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing #15.
NOS NOTEBOOK (Perris Auto Speedway, 3/27/22)
David Gravel's 71st career World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series victory brings him to one away from tying Jac Haudenschild for 12th on the All-Time Win List. He's only 13 wins away from reaching Stevie Smith (84) to enter the top-10.
James McFadden was a contender for the win all throughout Saturday's 30-lapper in the Roth Motorsports #83. The Australian was running second and tracking down David Gravel for the lead on Lap 26 when a right rear issue sent him to the pit area with a 22nd-place DNF.
Dominic Scelzi of Fresno, CA was in the hunt for his first-career World of Outlaws win before causing the final caution of the night. He was running third in the Scelzi Enterprises #41S and battling for second with Day & Macedo before spinning in turn two on the last lap.
Carson Macedo collected his 10th career Slick Woody's QuickTime Award by circling Perris Auto Speedway in 14.125 seconds. He and David Gravel are the only drivers to top qualifying on multiple occasions through 10 races. NOS Energy Drink Heat Race wins went to Corey Day (1st career), David Gravel (187th career), and James McFadden (23rd career).
Macedo topped the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash, while Logan Schuchart won the MicroLite Last Chance Showdown and followed that with a KSE Hard Charger Award by running 12th-from-19th.
UP NEXT (Tues) - After three weeks in California, the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series now begins the journey back east. The Greatest Show on Dirt has a busy week with three races including stops at Vado (NM) Speedway Park on Tuesday, March 29, Lawton (OK) Speedway on Friday, April 1, and Devil's Bowl (TX) on Saturday, April 2.
NOS Energy Drink Feature Results (31 Laps, GWC) - 1. 2-David Gravel [$10,000]; 2. 14-Corey Day [$6,000]; 3. 41-Carson Macedo [$3,500]; 4. 49-Brad Sweet [$2,800]; 5. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$2,500]; 6. 88N-DJ Netto [$2,300]; 7. 1A-Jacob Allen [$2,200]; 8. 5-Spencer Bayston [$2,100]; 9. 26-Cory Eliason [$2,050]; 10. 15-Donny Schatz [$2,000]; 11. 18-Giovanni Scelzi [$1,600]; 12. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$1,400]; 13. 24-Rico Abreu [$1,200]; 14. 24X-Chase Johnson [$1,100]; 15. 21-Mitchell Faccinto [$1,050]; 16. 83JR-Kerry Madsen [$1,000]; 17. 11K-Kraig Kinser [$1,000]; 18. 88-Austin McCarl [$1,000]; 19. 7S-Jason Sides [$1,000]; 20. 19AZ-Tanner Thorson [$1,000]; 21. 41S-Dominic Scelzi [$1,000]; 22. 83-James McFadden [$1,000]; 23. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [$1,000]; 24. 91R-Brody Roa [$1,000]. Lap Leaders: Carson Macedo 1-7, 9-12, 28; David Gravel 8, 13-27, 29-31. KSE Hard Charger Award: 1S-Logan Schuchart[+7]
OPPORTUNISTIC: California's Giovanni Scelzi Capitalizes for Bakersfield Win
16-year-old Corey Day is Youngest Runner-Up in World of Outlaws History
BAKERSFIELD, CA - March 25, 2022 - The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars returned to Bakersfield Speedway for the first time since 2018 on Friday night and offered an unpredictable share of chaos at the front and dramatic storylines at the end.
From a race-altering crash to a record-breaking run, The Greatest Show on Dirt quickly made up for four years of absent action from the California 1/3-mile.
Ultimately, Fresno's Giovanni Scelzi topped the 35-lapper for his second victory over a span of two weeks in his home state. The KCP Racing #18 pilot used the "I'd rather be lucky than good" method to score his fifth career World of Outlaws win at 20 years old.
The kid they call Hot Sauce was running fourth early on when mayhem struck as top-three runners Spencer Bayston, David Gravel, and Rico Abreu were all collected in a turn-three crash with Sheldon Haudenschild on Lap 8. Scelzi narrowly missed joining the carnage and escaped to assume the lead, knowing he had to finish the job at that point.
"It's one thing to be in the Dash and put yourself in the hunt, but when something that lucky happens with all three of those guys crashing you have to take advantage of it," Scelzi said on the rare incident. "These races are hard enough to win as they are, so when you get the opportunity essentially thrown in your lap you have to seal the deal. I'm still baffled at how that happened. I've never had something go that far my way that quickly."
Scelzi's score didn't come without an ironic challenge, though, as he was forced to battle Corey Day of Clovis, CA, who would've broken Giovanni's own record for being the youngest winner in World of Outlaws history had he won. In his fourth-ever appearance and second-career start with the Series, Day timed in fourth, ran second in his Heat, made the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash, and capitalized when it mattered most.
The teenage prodigy of two-time World of Outlaws champion Jason Meyers officially led Lap 10 and hounded Scelzi for much of the race while battling off other champions like Brad Sweet & Donny Schatz. He ultimately finished second and joined his father Ronnie Day as a podium finisher with the Series.
At 16 years, 3 months, 27 drivers, Day became the youngest runner-up and podium finisher in the storied 45-year history of the World of Outlaws.
"It's a dream to be here racing with the Outlaws," Day said following a standing ovation. "My goal for the past five years or so has to one day beat Gio's record for the youngest winner in history and this is a step in the right direction. Things definitely fell our way, but nonetheless, I think we proved we can compete with these guys tonight."
Brad Sweet, 36, was the veteran mainstay keeping one extra young gun off the podium at Bakersfield. He charged from eight-to-third for a third-straight podium finish aboard the Kasey Kahne Racing, NAPA Auto Parts #49. Albeit winless, The Big Cat has used unrivaled consistency to take over the points lead for the first time this year as he vies for a fourth consecutive World of Outlaws championship in 2022.
"These kids are getting younger and younger, yet still doing better and better," the Grass Valley, CA native spoke on the youth movement. "It's cool to watch this next generation develop, you know I used to be these kids up here. As far as myself, a bit disappointed. We need to figure a few things out be it car or driver and get back to our winning ways. We avoided a lot of carnage, though, so there's always a positive."
Rounding out the top-five on Friday night was Lemoore, CA's Carson Macedo in fourth-place aboard the Jason Johnson Racing, Albaugh #41, and Australia's James McFadden with his second KSE Hard Charger Award thanks to a huge 22nd-to-fifth run in the Roth Motorsports #83.
Closing out the top-10 at Bakersfield was Donny Schatz (Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing #15), Cory Eliason(Rudeen Racing #26), Logan Schuchart (Shark Racing #1S), Kerry Madsen (Roth Motorsports #83JR), and Jacob Allen (Shark Racing #1A).
Beyond the top-10, Spencer Bayston (16th), Rico Abreu (17th), and David Gravel (23rd) went from battling for the win to battling to make it out of the work area following their early-race crash. It was a heartbreak for all involved.
"I didn't see how it started, but I was already committed and it was just too late," Bayston, who was leading, said afterward. "You always think you could've done something different, but I don't know if we could have avoided that. It's just a bummer. One of these front-row starting spots is gonna pay off. We're doing our part, that win is coming soon."
"That's the harsh reality of the World of Outlaws, really racing in general," Gravel noted. "We just had nowhere to go. We're really fast. I truly believe we're the fastest car on tour right now. We're doing our job, we've just been stuck with these two unfortunate events in a row. We'll come back tomorrow just as prepared and keep fighting. It's a long year."
NOS NOTEBOOK (Bakersfield Speedway, 3/25/22)
Giovanni Scelzi's fifth-career World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series victory brings him to 61st on the All-Time Win List alongside Danny Wood, Johnny Anderson, Brian Paulus, Brad Furr, Danny Dietrich, Brian Brown, and Christopher Bell.
Scelzi (20) and Day (16) made up the youngest 1-2 finish in World of Outlaws history. Any victory for Corey prior to September 18 would break Giovanni's record (16 years, 10 months, 0 days) as the youngest winner in Series history.
Although not full-time members, Scelzi & KCP Racing are now tied for the most wins (2), have led the most laps (55), and currently sit sixth in the points (-74). Without platinum status, they forgo perks such as incentives, tow money, and points fund, while skipping a handful of races throughout the year.
California natives Chase Johnson (Penngrove) and D.J. Netto (Hanford) qualified for their first NOS Energy Drink Features of the 2022 season at Bakersfield.
David Gravel earned his 91st career Slick Woody's QuickTime Award and second of the season by circling Bakersfield in 10.754 seconds. Gravel, Scelzi & Abreu also won NOS Energy Drink Heat Races. Bayston topped the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash to claim his second pole position of 2022.
UP NEXT (Sat) - The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series will conclude a five-race swing through California tomorrow on Saturday, March 26 with the SoCal Showdown at Perris Auto Speedway in Perris, CA. Fans can BUY TICKETS HERE or watch every lap LIVE on DIRTVision.
NOS Energy Drink Feature Results (35 Laps) - 1. 18-Giovanni Scelzi [$10,000]; 2. 14-Corey Day [$6,000]; 3. 49-Brad Sweet [$3,500]; 4. 41-Carson Macedo [$2,800]; 5. 83-James McFadden [$2,500]; 6. 15-Donny Schatz [$2,300]; 7. 26-Cory Eliason [$2,200]; 8. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$2,100]; 9. 83JR-Kerry Madsen [$2,050]; 10. 1A-Jacob Allen [$2,000]; 11. 17W-Shane Golobic [$1,600]; 12. 11K-Kraig Kinser [$1,400]; 13. 41S-Dominic Scelzi [$1,200]; 14. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$1,100]; 15. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [$1,050]; 16. 5-Spencer Bayston [$1,000]; 17. 24-Rico Abreu [$1,000]; 18. 20G-Noah Gass [$1,000]; 19. 88-Austin McCarl [$1,000]; 20. 19AZ-Tanner Thorson [$1,000]; 21. 21-Mitchell Faccinto [$1,000]; 22. 24X-Chase Johnson [$1,000]; 23. 2-David Gravel [$1,000]; 24. 88N-DJ Netto [$1,000]. Lap Leaders: Spencer Bayston 1-8; Giovanni Scelzi 9, 11-35; Corey Day 10. KSE Hard Charger Award: 83-James McFadden[+17]
NEW Championship Standings (After 9/85 Races): 1. Brad Sweet (1,258); 2. Carson Macedo (-22); 3. David Gravel (-30); 4. Sheldon Haudenschild (-44); 5. James McFadden (-62); 6. Giovanni Scelzi (-74); 7. Donny Schatz (-88); 8. Logan Schuchart (-88); 9. Cory Eliason (-96); 10. Spencer Bayston (-140).