MECHANICSBURG, Pa. – David Gravel stomped the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series field Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway to win the prelude to the 58th Champion Racing Oil National Open.
In his 600th World of Outlaws feature start, Gravel led from start to finish in a caution-free 25-lapper to notch his sixth Outlaw victory of the season and the 57th of his career, moving him within one of Jason Meyers on the all-time win list.
It also sets Gravel up nicely to chase a third National Open title come Saturday night. If he’s successful in the Jason Johnson Racing No. 41, it would be worth a $75,000 check for the Watertown, Conn., native.
“I had a couple close calls (in traffic); I had no idea what kind of lead I had,” Gravel noted in victory lane. “When I passed a couple lap cars, they’d kind of poke the nose at me, so I thought that might not have been a very good corner … but I had no idea the lead I had. It was a lot of work up on the curb. It got built up pretty big and I just knew I had to attack, attack, attack.
“When Kyle’s behind you, you know you have to run all 25 laps hard, and that’s what I did tonight.”
Friday night’s feature was completed in a lightning quick eight minutes and .743 seconds.
PA Posse young gun Freddie Rahmer started on the pole, but dropped back to second instantly after Gravel snookered him on the initial start from the outside of the front row.
From there, Rahmer held the runner-up spot through the first half of the feature before waging a torrid battle of sliders in the second half of the main event with Kyle Larson, who was seeking his 40th dirt-track victory of the season and 31st behind the wheel of a 410 sprint car.
Larson finally wrested second from Rahmer coming to two to go after multiple tries, but by then, Gravel was long gone into the Pennsylvania night.
The Elk Grove, Calif., native settled for second at the finish but likes his chances at parking the Silva Motorsports No. 57 in victory lane on Saturday night at the famed half mile.
“David’s a good friend, but I’ve beat him more than he’s beat me this year,” Larson joked on the frontstretch. “He was really fast and has been fast here at Williams Grove, no matter what team he’s been with. He got to the lead early and set a good pace, picked off some lappers and didn’t get hung up at all, so it didn’t allow us to close any on him.
“Our car felt really good, though, and I felt like if I could have cleared Freddie the first time I tried that I might have been able to run him down. I feel really good about our chances tomorrow and I think our car is the best we’ve been here all year. We’ll see how we do, but we need to set ourselves up well.”
Rahmer completed the podium, followed by Aaron Reutzel and Anthony Macri.
Shane Stewart, Donny Schatz, Lance Dewease, James McFadden and Kerry Madsen filled out the top 10, with point leader Brad Sweet advancing in out of the B-main and racing from 22nd to 11th in the order.
The rally netted Sweet KSE Hard Charger honors for the Friday night portion of the National Open.
Logan Schuchart struggled to a 17th-place finish and now sits 52 points behind Sweet with eight races remaining on the calendar.
To view complete race results, advance to the next page.