David Gravel in victory lane Friday at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. (HHP/Chris Owens Photo)
David Gravel in victory lane Friday at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. (HHP/Chris Owens Photo)

David Gravel Rules Charlotte Once Again

CONCORD, N.C. — There‘s something about The Dirt Track at Charlotte that draws the best out of David Gravel.

On Friday during night one of the World of Outlaws World Finals, some late-race positioning yielded Gravel‘s fourth win over the last five races at the fourth-mile clay oval.

The Big Game Motorsports driver inherited the lead with 12 laps to go when a flat right rear tire thwarted Logan Schuchart from the point.

Gravel fended off challenges from Brian Brown thereafter and never relinquished control for his 11th World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Series victory of the season. He turned in a perfect night in the process, setting fast-time, topping his heat in addition to winning the dash.

Kerry Madsen officially finished second, .881 seconds off Gravel’s winning pace.

“It kind of all worked out,” Gravel said. “Didn‘t get that good of a jump to start the race … but luckily it all worked out.”

Gravel carried his qualifying prowess into the penultimate series race of the season and snagged his series-leading 19th quick-time award of 2021 with his lap of 12.579 seconds.

Starting on the bottom groove didn‘t play into Gravel‘s favor, however, and he slipped to fourth on lap one while Kasey Kahne busted into clean air.

Three cautions four laps into the 30-lap feature allowed Schuchart enough chances to take control, but Gravel stayed close behind.

“We were able to get some good restarts after that,” Gravel said.

On lap 11, Schuchart entered lapped traffic and was never slowed in dirty air. But on lap 18, a caution for Tyler Courtney changed everything.

The ensuing restart caved Schuchart in, as his Shark Racing machine slowed once things resumed. That handed Gravel control and the positioning needed to counter Brown’s last-ditch efforts. 

Gravel’s win ensures he and his team, which has traversed the World of Outlaws tour for the first time in a long while this year, a runner-up points finish. It’s a meaningful accomplishment judging the stiff competition and the many moving targets at hand.

“It‘s been a great first year with this team,” Gravel said. “First year this team has been on the World of Outlaws tour since Craig Dolansky and Sammy Swindell. And this is all different. Cody Jacobs has never been a crew chief on the World of Outlaws tour. This is his rookie season. He‘s going to learn things. We‘re going to learn things together.”

Brown, Carson Macedo and Donny Schatz completed the top five.

Brent Marks, who had charged to second from the 10th-starting position at one point, finished sixth.

Kahne faded to finish seventh while his driver and newly-minted three-time series champion Brad Sweet placed eighth.

Schuchart salvaged ninth and Justin Peck earned hard-charger honors with his finish of 10th from the 24th-starting spot.

To see full results, turn to the next page.

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