CONCORD, N.C. – David Gravel stole the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series spotlight by completing a sweep of the Can-Am World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Saturday night.
Gravel raced to his second victory in as many races, and his third win overall at the four-tenths-mile North Carolina dirt oval, with a picture-perfect performance during the Outlaws’ season finale.
The Watertown, Conn., native wrested the lead from polesitter Jacob Allen on the sixth revolution and led the remaining distance in the 30-lap feature.
Gravel pulled out to a lead of more than two seconds at times and went unchallenged on the way to his 12th Outlaw win of the year, second-most on the series.
Not even a caution flag with 10 laps left – after Danny Dietrich spun on the backstretch and nearly collected incoming point leader Brad Sweet – could stop Gravel from racing to victory lane.
Gravel nailed the lone restart of the night and drove off to a 1.963-second victory over Sweet, whose second-place finish was enough to secure the World of Outlaws championship over Donny Schatz.
In victory lane, Gravel was emotional as he discussed his sweep of one of the biggest events of the year.
“I don’t know (what to feel). Last night the car was okay, but tonight it was freaking badass, man,” he said. “I had the best race car tonight, hands down. I could go anywhere I wanted, whether it was the top or the bottom, and it showed. I felt like I got through a lot of traffic really, really well.
“You know, my job was easy tonight and as a race car driver, those are the nights you want to have,” he added. “A sweep of the World Finals … what a weekend. This is such a great place and a great way to end the season.”
Sweet, who was passed once by Schatz on lap six as Gravel took the lead, buckled down and never looked back once he retook command over his title rival on the seventh revolution.
After that, the Grass Valley, Calif., native was all-in as he motored away to his first championship down the stretch, with Schatz completing the podium and falling four points short of his 11th series title.
Gio Scelzi crossed the line fourth and Logan Schuchart finished fifth.
Polesitter Jacob Allen, who led the first five laps of the main event before giving way to Gravel, settled for 10th place in the final event of the season.
Aside from the lap-20 caution, three incidents marred the start of the race before a lap could be completed, including two vicious flips where Spencer Bayston and Paul McMahan got upside down.
Fortunately, both Bayston and McMahan were uninjured and walked away from their wrecked race cars.
Sweet’s four-point margin in the title fight marked the closest finish in championship history for the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series, topping the 2013 title tilt in which Sweet’s former teammate Daryn Pittman edged Schatz by just 14 markers to win the first title for Kasey Kahne Racing.
Saturday night’s championship effort by Sweet marked KKR’s second time earning the Outlaw crown.
To view complete race results, advance to the next page.