Last season’s NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals winner David Gravel competed in Wednesday night’s World of Outlaws iRacing Invitational, which aired live on DIRTVision.
In fact, his simulator got a workout before that when neighbor Kurt Busch used it to race in NASCAR’s version of the Pro Invitational.
“I’ve just been laying low, cooking some food and doing some iRacing,” Gravel said. “Kurt Busch actually lives close to me and used my simulator for the NASCAR race. Other than that, I’ve just been laying low.”
Gravel, who is mixing in some NASCAR racing this season in addition to piloting the Jason Johnson Racing #41 car, got to show the former Cup champion how to transition to the digital version of racing.
“He probably learned more from me than I learned from him just because the iRacing thing is so new to him,” Gravel said. “He never used it before, but it was definitely cool to have him over. He taught me some things about asphalt racing. It was definitely a cool experience.”
Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year contender Mason Daniel is only three races into his full-time World of Outlaws career and trying to keep his focus ready.
“I work out every day on the ranch (in California),” he said. “Anything with hand-eye coordination. Rope or tennis or anything like that. I’m just kind of staying in shape and keeping my cardio up.”
All the racers are looking ahead to when racing resumes, but none more than points leader Sweet and his No. 49 Kasey Kahne Racing team.
“I’m just looking at these as rain outs,” Sweet said. “I’m trying to stay in shape, watch (racing) videos, keep thinking about how we were at Volusia. I don’t want that to go away. I feel like we have everything in the right place for a good season. Hoping that when we do get racing that we pick up where we left off. Hopefully we can still get in a lot of racing and go for another championship. Hopefully once we get through half of the season this year it’ll seem like it wasn’t that big of a deal.”
Pittman’s outlook is to take it race-by-race.
“We know we still have to concentrate one race at a time and improve on a nightly basis and learn from mistakes and just try to take one race day by day,” said Pittman. “We’ll try to go out to each individual race and win.”
Gravel has the added challenge of competing on the World of Outlaws tour with several NASCAR races in the mix.
“For me, juggling two schedules is going to be a bit of an obstacle this year with all of the change now,” Gravel said. “I just have to sit back and let everything unfold and go from there and come up with a game plan. For us drivers, I think working out and being in iRacing to keep your eye-and-hand coordination sharp is what we need to do.”
Like most fans, the drivers are eager to get back to normal.
After all, there’s only so many times you can clean the shop.