David Gravel Tackles the Historic National Open at Williams Grove Speedway

September 26th, 2012

By DDR Motorsports PR 
Watertown, Conn.—Sept. 26, 2012 — Being from the East Coast, David Gravel knows the history and tradition of the National Open at Williams Grove Speedway very well. Long known as the biggest sprint car race on the Eastern edge of the country, the event dates back 50 years. Following one of his best-career showings at the unique half-mile earlier this season, the native of Watertown, Conn., would like nothing more than to be part of some history this weekend as he returns to Williams Grove.
The 50th Annual Morgan Hughes National Open opens on Friday, Sept. 28, at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa., with a full night of racing. The event concludes on Saturday, Sept. 29, with another complete show, highlighted by a 40-lap $50,000 to-win A-Feature. Both nights of racing will be sanctioned by the World of Outlaws.
“It’s definitely a big race, but you have to treat it just like any other race, and not psyche yourself out going into it,” said Gravel. “You really have to focus on getting a good couple of laps in time trials and going from there. If you don’t time trial well, you are going to have an uphill battle all night. Those two laps really set the tone for the rest of your night.”
Gravel has made three starts at Williams Grove this season. The most recent of those came with the UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions in June when he finished ninth. He opened that night as the seventh-fastest driver in time trials and finished sixth in the third eight-lap heat race, which put him in the B-main, where he came home second to earn a spot in the 30-lap A-Feature. Gravel lined up 13th in the main event and worked his way forward to finish ninth.
“We’ve time trialed pretty well in the All Stars races at Williams Grove this year,” he shared. “The key is go try and be as good as you can be every time you are on the track. Transferring from your heat race into the feature is very important. With how many cars will be there, it will be tough to make it through the B-main if you have to run that race.”
The 20-year-old made his first start of 2012 at Williams Grove back in March, finishing 12th in a weekly show that featured a strong 33-car field. He was also 12th with the All Stars in April at the half-mile, winning a heat race in that event.
“The track might be a little different this weekend since it’s a lot cooler out that earlier in the year, but it’s still like any other track, you never know what you’ll get until you get there,” explained Gravel. “We’ll check out the track when we get there and then adjust accordingly throughout the night.”
Gravel has competed in the National Open in each of the last two years. In 2010, he was the fastest qualifier of the 58 entries that were in attendance for the opener of the two-night event. After finishing sixth in the first heat that night, he raced his way into the main event by coming home second in the B-main. Gravel would finish 14th in that 25-lap A-Feature.
“For me it’s really important to make the main event at the National Open, and that’s what we’ll try to do,” he stated. “Hopefully we are in a good position and not starting too far back. That all starts with time trials and then being good in the heat race. You have to put together a complete night and that’s our goal.”
Last weekend Gravel competed with the World of Outlaws at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa., and ran as high as eighth in the early going, before the rear end on his machine broke on the 19th lap, while running 11th. After a nearly three-hour rain delay, following the first attempt at time trials, everyone took to the track for a second time for hot laps and to begin qualifying again from scratch. Gravel timed in 13th, which put him one spot short of making the heat race inversion and starting on the pole of a heat.
“It was frustrating to have another problem with the rear end while we were running good,” Gravel shared. “Hopefully we won’t have that happen again. At least we were running well when that happened and we weren’t at the back. We had plenty of speed and showed that we were just as fast as most of the cars there, so hopefully we can keep that up.”
The World of Outlaws event originally scheduled at the famed Eldora Speedway on Friday, Sept. 21, was rained out and will not be rescheduled. Gravel will compete at the half-mile on Oct. 13, in the UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions season finale.
Gravel, who is third in points with the All Stars, has picked up nine Top-10 finishes with the World of Outlaws this season, of which seven have been Top-Five performances. He has been fastest in time trials with the series on four occasions, including in three straight trips to Eldora Speedway earlier in the year.
David Gravel and DDR Motorsports would like to thank: J&J Chassis, JRC Transportation, Kistler Engines, Musco Fuels and P&M Transportation for their continued support.
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