FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — David Gravel dominated I-94 Speedway on Saturday night and fought off the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series stars breathing down his neck for his first victory of the season and the second of his career.
Gravel started on the pole for the series’ inaugural 30-lap feature at I-94 Speedway. He quickly jumped to the lead and tried to run away, but a caution on Lap 15 reset the field, with championship leader Daryn Pittman restarting alongside Gravel on the outside. Again Gravel got a big jump and powered back to the front, navigated traffic on the cushion and put his Wright Process Systems/FireTextResponse.com car in victory lane, just a few hours before his 21st birthday.
Pittman mounted a charge on lap 20, but still could not complete the pass as Gravel simply had lapped cars to navigate for the final laps. Sammy Swindell wound up third with Craig Dollansky and Kraig Kinser rounding out the top five.
In a showcase of the competitiveness of the top-four, their best laps were a mere .008 seconds different with Pittman running the quickest lap of 13.987.
“We’ve been struggling here lately, and had some bad luck last night (at River Cities),” said Gravel. “To get a win on my 21 st birthday is really awesome. Lapped traffic really stayed out of the way and the top was wide open and it made it a lot easier for me. I was pretty much flat out the whole time I had a lot of open track and I was really fortunate when the lapped cars came. Everything just fell our way. It’s a young man’s weekend. Cody won, then I won so, you know, it’s cool to put the older guys down”
It was a great show of sportsmanship in victory lane, too, as several drivers offered congratulations to the young Gravel on his first win of the season.