CONCORD, N.C. – David Gravel took a golden World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series victory home from Friday night’s portion of the Can-Am World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
Gravel raced to his milestone 50th series win by leading all but one of 25 laps around a largely rubbered-down four-tenths-mile dirt oval.
The Watertown, Conn., native started on the pole after winning his DIRTvision Fast Pass Dash earlier in the night and weathered a mid-race challenge from Aaron Reutzel to take home the trophy.
Though Reutzel drove underneath Gravel to lead on the 12th revolution, a slowing Dave Blaney coming off turn two on lap 13 allowed Gravel to cut to the bottom and retake the lead as Reutzel broke momentum and dropped from first to fourth.
From there, Gravel never looked back and held off a closing Donny Schatz in the waning moments to collect his 11th Outlaw win of the season, tying Schatz for the second-most wins on tour in 2019.
Friday night’s performance was Gravel’s second-career World Finals win and second win overall at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. His last win at the track came in the World Finals finale two years ago.
“We had a couple goals, and I really wanted to get to (win) No. 50 this year,” Gravel said. “That is one of my accomplishments I wanted to check off. I couldn’t do it without this team. … We’ve still got one more race to go, and hopefully we can sweep the weekend, but this is a good start.
“I got a couple lucky breaks,” Gravel added. “I made a mistake there getting into lapped traffic, and Reutzel passed me, but luckily he went high and Dave Blaney went high – and the bottom opened up and I was able to get the lead back.”
The lone caution of the race waved with nine to go, when Gio Scelzi spun to a stop at the bottom of the second corner, opening the door for those behind Gravel to potentially pounce on the restart.
Schatz did that to an extent when the green flag waved, slicing past Schuchart to take the second position, but he could do nothing with Gravel as the Jason Johnson Racing No. 41 raced away down the stretch.
“It got close – we were just not good enough,” Schatz said. “That’s how it goes some days. We’ll do our best tomorrow. We’ve got one more day to go, and we’ll just make the best of it.”
With Schatz finishing second and point leader Brad Sweet coming home fifth, Schatz was able to cut Sweet’s cushion to a scant two markers going into the final night of the season on Saturday.
Under that scenario, both drivers control their own destinies. Schatz wins the title by coming home victorious on Saturday night – since the difference between first and second is four points – while Sweet takes home the title by finishing within one position of Schatz, as long as Schatz doesn’t win the race.
Logan Schuchart filled out the podium, followed by Reutzel, who faded to fourth at the finish.
Sweet, Sheldon Haudenschild, Brian Brown, Kerry Madsen, Paul McMahan and Carson Macedo were the balance of the top 10.
To view complete race results, advance to the next page.