KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Everything went David Gravel’s way on the opening night of the 53rd annual FVP Knoxville Nationals Wednesday at Knoxville Raceway.
Gravel blew an engine during his heat race and ran out of gas on the final lap of the feature, but still stood in victory lane with his first win at the historic half-mile black dirt oval.
Starting fourth in the 25-lap event, Gravel took the lead from Greg Hodnett on the third circuit and endured five restarts along the way, crossing the finish line on fumes and making weight at the scales despite a dry fuel tank.
“It was a very stressful night,” said the Connecticut driver, who wheeled Bill Rose’s No. 6 to his second World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series triumph of the season. “I was nervous that was our best engine that we blew up. This was our little motor, but with the track slicking off like this, it was just perfect for us. Then we ran out of fuel at the end and I was afraid we wouldn’t make weight, but we made weight just barely and this is just unbelievable.”