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OPENING ATTACK: David Gravel Wins At Williams Grove In His 600th Start
MECHANICSBURG, PA — Oct. 2, 2020 — David Gravel made the most of his 600th career World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series start at Williams Grove Speedway Friday night.
He won the opening night of the National Open – his sixth win of the season and second in a row at the historic half-mile – took home the $10,000 check and made big gains for Jason Johnson Racing in the team championship.
His path to victory consisted of a dominate reign out front, leading all 25 laps and crossing the finish line by 2.5 seconds ahead of Kyle Larson.
“I had a couple of close calls,” said Gravel, of Watertown, CT. “I had no idea what kind of lead I had. When I passed a lap car, they poked their nose at me, and I didn’t think that was a very good corner. It was a lot of work up there on the curb. It started getting built up pretty big. I knew I just had to attack, attack, attack. When Kyle (Larson) is behind you, know who you have to run all 25 laps hard.”
Riding the high of his win at Lernerville Speedway last week, Gravel – who already had seven wins at Williams Grove, including his Summer Nationals win in July – showed his strength early by setting Quick Time in his qualifying flight. He then won his Drydene Heat Race and went on to finish second in the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash behind PA Posse member Freddie Rahmer.
However, the runner-up finish proved to benefit Gravel more than the win did for Rahmer. By starting on the outside pole for the 25-lap Feature, Gravel got the jump on Rahmer at the start and ran away like a thief out of a bank.
In the first five laps of the Feature, Gravel had already pulled ahead of Rahmer by 2.2 seconds. Lap traffic came into play the next lap but had no hinderance on the Mesilla Valley Transportation #41. Keeping his foot to the floor, Gravel gained tenths every lap on Rahmer. And while he pulled away, Rahmer found himself under attack by Larson.
Rahmer and Larson waged war throughout the final half of the race for the runner-up spot. There was no consideration for space between the two cars. Larson closed to Rahmer’s tail tank in the corners, but Rahmer could pull ahead down the straightaways. Then came the dance of slide jobs. Larson would dive underneath him and Rahmer would slide him back. It wasn’t until Lap 23 that Larson finally completed the pass and looked to run down Gravel.
Larson ran out of time to do so, though. He cut about a second off of Gravel's lead in three laps but had to settle for the runner-up spot.
“He (Gravel) was really fast,” Larson said. “He’s been really fast here at Williams Grove no matter what team he’s with. He got a good start there and got the lead and set the pace. He picked off some lappers and didn’t get hung up at all. It didn’t allow us to close on him. I felt really really good. I feel like if I cleared Freddie (Rahmer) the first time I tried I would have been able to run Gravel down.”
Rahmer – the current track points leader at Williams Grove – rounded out the podium. The PA Posse has now lost eight straight Series races in Pennsylvania to the Outlaws.
“The big part of the race is trying to get the lead on the start, and I didn’t get a good start,” Rahmer said. “I didn’t bring them around at a fast-enough pace for how our car fired off. And he got through lap cars better than us. I didn’t think Larson was that much better than I was. We were running each other pretty hard. He just got by me at the end.”
With Gravel’s win tonight, and points leader Brad Sweet finishing 11th, Jason Johnson Racing is now only four points behind Sweet’s Kasey Kahne Racing team for the team championship points lead.
For the driver championship, Sweet was able to gain points again on Logan Schuchart, who finished 17th. Sweet now holds a 52-point lead over Schuchart and a 90-point lead over 10-time Series champion Donny Schatz, who sits third in points.
Tomorrow, Gravel will compete for his third National Open title at Williams Grove and the illustrious $75,000 top prize.
“It’s all about putting yourself in position,” Gravel said. “You’re not going to win every time from the front row, but you like your chances.”
The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series, on Sat., Oct. 3, returns to Williams Grove Speedway for the $75,000-to-win Champion Racing Oil National Open.
If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch all of the action live on DIRTVision.
NOS Energy Drink Feature (25 Laps) – 1. 41-David Gravel [$10,000]; 2. 57-Kyle Larson [$5,000]; 3. 51-Freddie Rahmer [$3,000]; 4. 87-Aaron Reutzel [$2,700]; 5. 39M-Anthony Macri [$2,500]; 6. 71-Shane Stewart [$2,200]; 7. 15-Donny Schatz [$2,000]; 8. 69K-Lance Dewease [$1,800]; 9. 9-James McFadden [$1,600]; 10. 2M-Kerry Madsen [$1,450]; 11. 49-Brad Sweet [$1,300]; 12. 5-Brent Marks [$1,200]; 13. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$1,100]; 14. 18-Gio Scelzi [$1,000]; 15. 21P-Brian Montieth [$950]; 16. 2-Carson Macedo [$200]; 17. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$850]; 18. 48-Danny Dietrich [$750]; 19. 26-Cory Eliason [$725]; 20. 72-Daryn Pittman [$700]; 21. 1A-Jacob Allen [$700]; 22. 11-T.J. Stutts [$700]; 23. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [$]; 24. 14-Parker Price-Miller [$700]; 25. 11K-Kraig Kinser [$]; 26. 11Z-Zeb Wise [$700]; 27. 7S-Jason Sides [$]; 28. 21-Brian Brown [$700]; 29. 83-Spencer Bayston [$]; 30. 24-Lucas Wolfe [$]; Lap Leaders: David Gravel 1-25; KSE Hard Charger Award: 49-Brad Sweet[+11]
Qualifying Flight-A – 1. 71-Shane Stewart, 16.111; 2. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 16.371; 3. 39M-Anthony Macri, 16.403; 4. 51-Freddie Rahmer, 16.404; 5. 2M-Kerry Madsen, 16.416; 6. 11-T.J. Stutts, 16.448; 7. 26-Cory Eliason, 16.518; 8. 14-Parker Price-Miller, 16.524; 9. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild, 16.543; 10. 21P-Brian Montieth, 16.544; 11. 49-Brad Sweet, 16.612; 12. 1-Logan Wagner, 16.723; 13. 13-Paul McMahan, 16.725; 14. 91-Kyle Reinhardt, 16.726; 15. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss, 16.733; 16. 1X-Chad Trout, 16.787; 17. 99M-Kyle Moody, 16.806; 18. 1W-Matt Campbell, 16.843; 19. 55-Hunter Schuerenberg, 16.917; 20. 6X-Ryan Smith, 16.94; 21. 19M-Landon Myers, 16.964; 22. 5-Brent Marks, 16.982; 23. 12-Brent Shearer, 17.009; 24. 83-Spencer Bayston, 17.068; 25. 49H-Bradley Howard, 17.149; 26. 2C-Wayne Johnson, 17.191; 27. 73B-Brett Michalski, 17.559; 28. 12W-Troy Fraker, 17.946; 29. 39-Justin Peck, NTQualifying Flight-B – 1. 41-David Gravel, 16.419; 2. 57-Kyle Larson, 16.5; 3. 1A-Jacob Allen, 16.594; 4. 9-James McFadden, 16.671; 5. 69K-Lance Dewease, 16.682; 6. 18-Gio Scelzi, 16.699; 7. 15-Donny Schatz, 16.745; 8. 72-Daryn Pittman, 16.771; 9. 11Z-Zeb Wise, 16.82; 10. 5C-Dylan Cisney, 16.85; 11. 21-Brian Brown, 16.905; 12. 24-Lucas Wolfe, 16.913; 13. 7S-Jason Sides, 16.926; 14. 17X-Ian Madsen, 16.951; 15. 48-Danny Dietrich, 16.986; 16. 1S-Logan Schuchart, 17.015; 17. 55K-Robbie Kendall, 17.049; 18. 2-Carson Macedo, 17.052; 19. 17BX-Steve Buckwalter, 17.072; 20. 91F-Tony Fiore, 17.145; 21. 17B-Bill Balog, 17.182; 22. 3-Jac Haudenschild, 17.216; 23. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 17.243; 24. 19-Troy Wagaman, 17.26; 25. 33M-Mason Daniel, 17.631; 26. 35-Zach Hampton, 17.677; 27. 6-Bill Rose, 17.745; 28. 54-Zach Newlin, 17.78