Inside Line Promotions - KNOXVILLE, Iowa (Aug. 17, 2021) - David Gravel captured a NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey's General Stores preliminary night victory last Wednesday at Knoxville Raceway for the fourth time in his career.
The result locked him into the A Main of the finale on Saturday for the ninth straight time.
"I had the mentality of having a solid race and going from there," Gravel said. "We ended up winning the race. It was a great night. We passed Donny (Schatz) and some good cars to get the win. It was definitely rewarding to back up the Capitani Classic win and score as many points in the feature as we could."
The Big Game Motorsports driver qualified ninth quickest despite being one of the final qualifiers last Wednesday during his preliminary night. A rally from seventh to fourth place in a heat race locked him into the feature.
"We drew a very late pill draw and that's always concerning," he said. "You know you're not going to compete for a top five qualifying spot. You have to qualify good enough to still be in the hunt. Qualifying ninth was a solid effort. Then to get the job done in the heat race and transfer to the A Main was huge."
Gravel started the main event sixth, but quickly moved into the runner-up position within the first few laps. He stalked leader Justin Henderson for the majority of the 25-lap feature before making the race-winning pass on Lap 22.
"Justin set a torrid pace and I didn't think I was going to be able to beat him," he said. "He slid a lapped car. I was able to stay on the top and close a decent amount. The track just was starting to get slick off turn four and spinny down the front stretch. I think that's where I was able to start to make my move. In clean air he wasn't going to be beat, but that lapped traffic is what was going to make it a race. I wasn't really pressuring to get the win or trying too hard to get it. It wasn't a crazy risk factor to make it happen. We went with it and it all worked out."
Once preliminary points were tabulated Gravel ranked sixth out of the 90-plus competitors. That started him on the outside of the third row for the 50-lap main event on Saturday. Gravel was running third with 19 laps remaining when a mechanical problem sent him to the pits. He was credited with an 18th-place result.
"A piece of dirt must have knocked one of the nozzle lines off an injector," he said. "I was down a cylinder from the first lap of the second half of the race. Typically the motors will live doing that. Something happened and it failed and threw a rod through the oil pan. It blew up in a big way. It's the Knoxville Nationals and we were up front. I believed we were going to pass Donny in a lap or two to get into second and have an opportunity to win the race. To have that taken away from you is tough to take. It's frustrating and maddening. To do your job all week long and for something like that to happen, it's just one of the things that sucks about life and racing sometimes."
Next up for the team is a World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series tripleheader this Friday at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D., for the Gerdau presents the Second Leg of the Northern Tour; Saturday at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, N.D., for the Gerdau presents the Duel in the Dakotas; and Sunday at Huset's Speedway in Brandon, S.D., for the Pioneer Seed Bin Buster Bash.
QUICK RESULTS -
Aug. 11 - Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa - Qualifying: 9; Heat race: 4 (7); Feature: 1 (6).
Aug. 14 - Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa - Feature: 18 (6).
SEASON STATS -
59 races, 10 wins, 30 top fives, 47 top 10s, 55 top 15s, 58 top 20s
UP NEXT -
Friday at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, N.D., for the Gerdau presents the Second Leg of the Northern Tour; Saturday at Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, N.D., for the Gerdau presents the Duel in the Dakotas; and Sunday at Huset's Speedway in Brandon, S.D., for the Pioneer Seed Bin Buster Bash with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series
MEDIA LINKS -
HUSET'S SPEEDWAY -
Huset's Speedway is a dirt oval located in Brandon, S.D. The track opened in 1954 and has undergone a large renovation within the last few years, making it a premier destination for both marquee racing events and weekly programs. For more information, visit http://www.HusetsSpeedway.com.
JACKSON MOTORPLEX -
Jackson Motorplex is a 4/10-mile dirt track located in Jackson, Minn. It hosts special events from May through September, including races with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series, Midwest Power Series, Tri-State Late Models and more. For more information, visit http://www.JacksonMotorplex.com .
TICKET LINK -
To purchase online tickets for events at either Huset's Speedway or at Jackson Motorplex, visit http://mpv.tickets.com/schedule/?agency=JKMV_PL_MPV&orgid=55369#/?view=list&includePackages=true .
INSIDE LINE PROMOTIONS -
Inside Line Promotions specializes in affordable public relations and media management for motor sports drivers, teams, sponsors, tracks, series, events, organizations and manufacturers. ILP Founder Shawn Miller leverages professional journalism with new media technologies and social networking to improve your exposure and the return on investment for your sponsors.
To meet the media relations needs of your program by joining Team ILP, contact Shawn at 541-510-3663 or Shawn@InsideLinePromotions.com . For more information on Inside Line Promotions, visit http://www.InsideLinePromotions.com.
*PHOTO BY CHUCK STOWE IMAGES*