WILLIS, Texas — David Gravel rode the high side of the race track from 10th starting spot to win Thursday night’s Gator Bash for the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series at Gator Motorplex.
It was Gravel’s fourth win of the season in the CJB Motorsports No. 5.
Gravel ran down leader Paul McMahan and moved to the point on lap 30.
“I started 10th and was in second before I knew it,” said the inaugural Gator Bash champ. “I knew it was a 40-lap race. I tried to be really patient with Paul [McMahan]. The curve got really tricky as the race went on, and I almost bit the wall a couple of times.”
But it wasn’t Gravel who bit the wall at all. That fell on rookie-of-the-year-contender Sheldon Haudenschild, who with four laps to go got into his third tangle of the night. Haudenschild was the unofficial fan favorite at Gator Motorplex, drawing loud cheers for his persistence each time he returned to the field after two flips. But the last one set him bouncing off the wall outside of turn four, right into Brad Sweet.
Sweet had been busy battling Donny Schatz for the fourth spot, which is precisely where Schatz remained after the checkered flag waved.
The inaugural Gator Bash saw a packed house, where fans cheered on Kasey Kahne as he made his return to dirt in the iRacing.com 4K. But after a lucky dash inversion draw that put him on the pole, Kahne spun out during the feature, turning sideways in turn four and causing Daryn Pittman and Dustin Gates to flip.
Jason Sides led until lap 14, when McMahan come up from third to take it from him. It wasn’t until 26 laps later that Gravel managed to clear both of them, leading them into the checkers in just that order.
“Finishing second right now feels like a win – the way all last year went,” said McMahan. “But second still sucks.”
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