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David Gravel in victory lane at Sharon Speedway. (Paul Arch photo)

Gravel Leads Every Lap At Sharon

HARTFORD, Ohio — David Gravel and Big Game Motorsports refuse to stay down for long. 

The pairing has consistently been the fastest team on the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car tour. Heading into the Ohio weekend Gravel had already collected six checkered flags this season. Nine of his last 12 starts had resulted in top two finishes.

But then his fortune faltered Friday at Attica Raceway Park when he finished 11th.

Gravel and company served up their strongest bounce back yet on Saturday. He started on the pole and led every single circuit of the main event to park the Huset’s Speedway No. 2 in victory lane for the seventh time in 2024.

“Just happy to get the job done,” Gravel said. “It’s way harder on this type of racetrack to pass cars when you’re behind them, and having that clean air just makes your job so much easier. Cody (Jacobs), Zach (Patterson), and Stephen (Hamm-Reilly) have been working really hard. I can’t thank them enough.”

Gravel upped his career win total with The Greatest Show on Dirt to 95. That mark equals him with Dave Blaney for the eighth most all-time, and fittingly he reached the feat at Blaney’s track. Sharon is now the 48th different track he’s won at with the World of Outlaws. 

The 30-lap feature was led to green by Gravel and Sye Lynch. The opening start was called back for a jump by Lynch. On the second attempt Gravel quickly took off.

Traffic became a factor only five laps into the race, and it allowed second-running Carson Macedo to close in on Gravel. The Sharon surface offered up grip all over the three-eighths-mile, so Gravel searched everywhere for speed as he navigated traffic. Eventually, he began to gap Macedo again.

A pair of cautions offered those chasing Gravel a shot at him, but the veteran never flinched on the restarts. Both times he accelerated at the right spot and had a solid advantage entering the first set of corners.

As the final laps closed Gravel did face one scare when he clipped a rough patch of track and nearly spun. But he managed to regain control and drive away. He might’ve led every lap, but it was by no means an easy cruise with a tricky racing surface that proved to be difficult to figure out.

“Man, what character the track had,” Gravel said. “It just kept getting rougher and rougher. I didn’t know where to run. Cody told me to run the middle, so I started running the middle. And then he told me elbows up and run the top, and it was just hard to run the top consistently. It was just a very technical track.”

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David Gravel (2) races under Giovani Scelzi at Sharon Speedway. (Paul Arch photo)

Donny Schatz climbed from fifth to the runner-up spot for his eighth World of Outlaws podium of the season. Finishing second ensured Gravel couldn’t extend his point lead much over the 10-time champion as Schatz now sits 54 markers behind.

“We were good at the end, decent,” Schatz said. The guys are doing a great job. Everybody at Ford is working their tails off. I’ve got some control, and that’s what we’ve been looking for. The performance shows. I don’t know that we were going to be able to get there on open racetrack. But that’s the way racing is anymore. We needed traffic, and we didn’t really have it there at the end. I feel like we were decent, and we’ll just keep building on it.”

Carson Macedo brought the Jason Johnson Racing No. 41 home third to post a pair of podiums in Ohio over the weekend.

“I felt like it was going to be tough there in open air,” Macedo said. “Once we would get a restart there and get that clean air back on his (Gravel’s) wings and clean racetrack, he was lightning quick. I feel like we were pretty good. Our car was fairly balanced. I think in traffic I was as good. I would kind of get to him. It would’ve been tough to make a move, and I was prepared to throw something at him if it did happen. I just had a late race restart and went to the top there, probably wasn’t really the place to be.”

Logan Schuchart and Giovanni Scelzi completed the top five. 

Sheldon Haudenschild claimed his first Simpson Quick Time of 2024 and the 30th of his career in Sea Foam Qualifying.

The finish:

Feature (30 Laps): 1. 2-David Gravel[1]; 2. 15-Donny Schatz[5]; 3. 41-Carson Macedo[4]; 4. 1S-Logan Schuchart[10]; 5. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[3]; 6. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild[6]; 7. 83-Michael Kofoid[12]; 8. 17B-Bill Balog[7]; 9. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss[8]; 10. 24-Rico Abreu[11]; 11. 101-Kalib Henry[16]; 12. 42-Sye Lynch[2]; 13. 49X-Tim Shaffer[19]; 14. 70-Kraig Kinser[9]; 15. 32B-Dale Blaney[15]; 16. 33W-Cap Henry[22]; 17. 29-Logan McCandless[18]; 18. 7S-Landon Crawley[24]; 19. 1-Nate Dussel[21]; 20. 81-Lee Jacobs[13]; 21. W20-Greg Wilson[20]; 22. 11-Carl Bowser[23]; 23. O8-Danny Kuriger[17]; 24. 10-Dave Blaney[14]