Watertown, Conn.—April 28, 2013— Simply put, David Gravel had a battle on his hands all night at Salina Highbanks Speedway in the World of Outlaw STP Sprint Car Series event on Saturday, April 27. First, he took on a blazing fast surface that was even quicker due to Mother Nature dumping quite a bit of rain in the area over a two-day period. The East Coast racer also contended with driveline problems in the 30-lap main event, muscling the car home to a ninth-place finish as he continues to fill-in for the injured Bill Rose in the Firetext Response Maxim.
On the initial start of the A-Feature, Gravel lost a few spots when the front of his machine bicycled. The only caution flag of the night came out at the same time for a car that spun over the banking of the track, thus necessitating a complete restart and moving Gravel back to his original fifth starting spot. Following the second start, the race would go non-stop in just over six minutes. Over the course of the 30-lapper, Gravel slipped back a few spots as he nursed his car to the checkered flag to earn his ninth top-10 finish of the season.
“With the driveline problem we were having in the feature, I was happy just to finish the race and to be in the top-10 was a bonus,” said Gravel. “The track was very, very fast and the race went by in a hurry. The track crew did a good job to get the surface ready to race after all the rain on Friday and earlier in the day on Saturday. It was a long trip out there, so I’m glad we got the race in and were able to come away with a top-10 finish.”
Gravel opened the night by turning the eighth-fastest in a qualifying session that saw 21 of the 22 drivers break the existing track record, which put him on the front row of the second eight-lap heat race. The native of Watertown, Conn., came home second in the heat race to earn a spot in the dash, where he finished fifth. He lined up on the inside of the third row for the 30-lap main event at the ultra-high-banked, three-eighths-mile in Northeast Oklahoma.
The event at Salina Highbanks Speedway was originally scheduled for Friday, April 26, but heavy rain forced the postponement of the race to Saturday night, which had been tabbed as the designated rain date, following the cancellation of the originally scheduled World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series event at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo. With the race at Salina being run on Saturday, Gravel has to forgo his planned appearance at the famed Knoxville Raceway in Iowa, aboard his own No. 89G.
“I was really looking forward to going to Knoxville and racing the (No.) 89G, but there’s nothing we can do about Mother Nature,” he said. “We’ll have a couple of races at Knoxville with the Outlaws, so we’ll use those to tune up for the Nationals as best as we can. Knoxville is a place where you always want to get as many laps in as you can, because the experience comes in handy at the Nationals.”
Gravel is currently sixth in the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series championship standings, just 23 markers out of the top-five. He has earned nine top-10 finishes this season, with four of those being top-five performances, including a season-best runner-up finish at Tri-State Speedway in Indiana on April 20. Gravel returns to action next weekend at the famed Eldora Speedway in Ohio, where he earned three fast time awards with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series in four starts at the half-mile in 2012.
“Eldora is always one of the places I circle on the calendar,” noted Gravel. “Last year, setting fast time there three times with the Outlaws was a pretty big accomplishment. I know I have the speed there and now we just want to put a full night together and be around at the end of the 30 laps. There will probably be a pretty big field of cars, so qualifying will definitely be important as is it at just about every Outlaws race nowadays.”