ELMA, Wash. — Shane Stewart led all 30 laps at Grays Harbor Raceway to win his seventh World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series race of the season on Monday night, but it wasn’t easy.
With five lapped cars battling for position directly in front of the leaders in the closing laps, Brad Sweet stalked the Larson/Marks Racing No. 2 before pitching his No. 49 to the bottom off of turn four coming to checkered. Sweet led momentarily, but Stewart’s momentum on the cushion was enough to cross the line .205 seconds in front of Sweet.
David Gravel charged late to land on the podium for the second consecutive race.
Stewart started third and won a hectic Craftsman Club Dash that saw the front row starters end up finishing at the rear and Sweet come from fifth to second.
The lone caution flag of the feature came on lap 15 when Jacob Allen suffered front-end damage, spinning his No. 1a to safety on the bottom of the track.
By lap 20 Stewart had once again stretched his lead to over two seconds. However, it was inevitable that he would reach the back of the field before the conclusion of the Feature. He did, in a big way.
“I was trapped. I could not get a good enough run to split the two lapped cars in front of me,” Stewart said. “My car has been really good lately and that is a testament to Lee, Heath and Dennis. It’s a tough gig out here. Lots of miles on the road and countless hours spent maintaining these cars to compete at this level. I wouldn’t be here without these guys.”
Stewart’s boldest move was on the final circuit where he was forced to come off his preferred line, the cushion, entering turn one. The aforementioned allowed Sweet to get a run down the backstretch to make his challenge for the lead, to no avail.
“I wish I could redo that last corner. I might have done something different,” Sweet said. “Overall, it was a good night. We like to be on the front stretch at the end of the night, but we have a lot of second places this year. This West Coast swing is usually pretty for good us, I’m back at my hometown tracks so hopefully we can get this Ollie’s Bargain Outlet where it belongs.”
While all eyes focused on Sweet chasing down Stewart, Gravel might have had the fastest car on the track in the closing laps.
“We were really good there at the end. We just need to do a better job in the heat races and put ourselves up front in the feature. We’ve been really strong the last two nights,” Gravel said.
World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series, Grays Harbor Raceway, Elma, Wash., Sept. 4, 2017
Qualifying: 1. 9-Daryn Pittman, 11.716 (NTR); 2. 49-Brad Sweet, 11.75; 3. 41-Jason Johnson, 11.85; 4. 2-Shane Stewart, 11.862; 5. 7S-Jason Sides, 11.985; 6. 17-Jac Haudenschild, 11.992; 7. 1A-Jacob Allen, 11.992; 8. 5-David Gravel, 12.003; 9. 35-Jamie Veal, 12.022; 10. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild, 12.039; 11. 4-Paul McMahan, 12.05; 12. 18S-Jason Solwold, 12.058; 13. 44W-Austen Wheatley, 12.067; 14. W20-Greg Wilson, 12.072; 15. 26-Tayler Malsam, 12.079; 16. 7N-Roger Crockett, 12.112; 17. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 12.132; 18. 19-Brent Marks, 12.193; 19. 15-Donny Schatz, 12.195; 20. 55-Trey Starks, 12.211; 21. 33V-Henry VanDam, 12.221; 22. 21P-Robbie Price, 12.224; 23. 1S-Logan Schuchart, 12.234; 24. 41S-Dominic Scelzi, 12.347; 25. 13-Clyde Knipp, 12.412; 26. 5X-Brian Boswell, 13.166
First Heat (8 laps): Pittman, Stewart, Allen, Schatz, S. Haudenschild, Wheatley, Crockett, Knipp, Price.
Second Heat (8 laps): Sweet, Sides, Gravel, McMahan, Wilson, Kinser, Schuchart, Starks, Boswell.
Third Heat (8 laps): Johnson, J. Haudenschild, Solwold, Veal, Malsam, Scelzi, Marks, Van Dam.
Craftsman Club Dash (6 laps): Stewart, Sweet, Johnson, Pittman, Sides, J. Haudenschild.
Last Chance Showdown (12 laps): 1. Marks; 2. VanDam; 3. Schuchart; 4. Crockett; 5. Starks; 6. Price; 7. Boswell, $300; 8. Knipp, $250.
Feature (30 laps): 1. Stewart, $6,000; 2. Sweet, $3,500; 3. Gravel, $2,000; 4. Johnson, $1,800; 5. Pittman, $1,500; 6. J. Haudenschild, $1,400; 7. Schatz, $1,350; 8. S. Haudenschild, $1,300; 9. Solwold, $1,250; 10. McMahan, $1,200; 11. Scelzi, $900; 12. Kinser, $800; 13. Marks, $700; 14. Sides, $650; 15. Wilson, %600; 16. Veal, $550; 17. Starks, $500; 18. Crockett, $500; 19. VanDam, $500; 20. Schuchart, $500; 21. Wheatley, $500; 22. Price, $500; 23. Allen, $500.