David Gravel Finishes 11th at Merced After Bad Luck in Heat Race

April 1st, 2013
By DDR Motorsports PR

Watertown, Conn.—March 31, 2013 — Not only does it take a fast race car to run up front with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series, but it also takes a little bit of luck. David Gravel had a very fast car on Friday, March 29 at Merced Speedway in California, though in the third heat race, luck was not as his side, as he was caught up in a first-lap incident that changed the complexion of his evening, as he continued to fill-in for the injured Bill Rose in the Firetext Response Maxim. Gravel soldiered on and when the final checkered flag flew in the 40-lap main event he would cross the line 11th, which helped him move up a spot to sixth in points.

Gravel began the night by turning the third-fastest lap in time trials of the 31 drivers that were in attendance at the third-mile bullring. The native of Watertown, Conn., lined up fourth in the third 10-lap heat race and would be assured of a spot in the dash and a top-10 starting spot in the A-Feature if he finished among the top-six in that heat race. He made it back out for the remainder of the heat race, after a trip to the work area, following the first lap accident, finishing ninth, which put him in the B-main.

The 20-year-old won the B-main to earn a spot in the 40-lap main event, where he started 11th on a track that was very tight and challenging to pass on. Gravel ran as high as eighth just prior to the halfway point of the race and was in the top-10 for most of the 40-lapper, which was slowed by two cautions and one red flag period. He would end up 11th when the final checkered flag of the night flew.

“That was an unfortunate situation in the heat race,” said Gravel. “We knew starting position would be very important at Merced, so to not make it in the dash was definitely a setback, after qualifying third. We kept after it and were fast in the B-main and had a pretty good car in the feature, but it was just so tough to pass out there. We made the most of the hand we were dealt, learned a few things and will be ready for next weekend.”

By virtue of his 11th-place finish in the A-Feature, Gravel moved up a spot in the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series standings to sixth and is just 15 markers out of the top-five. In the eight races thus far during the West Coast swing, he has finished 13th or better in seven of those races aboard Rose’s No. 6 machine.

“We’ve been pretty consistent on the West Coast and each time I’m in Bill’s car, I feel more and more comfortable,” he noted. “We seem to be adapting to the new tires fairly well also, which is a good thing. It’s definitely been a blast visiting all of these new tracks and racing against a bunch of new people. There are some very strong cars in California and some great fans as well.”

Gravel will be back in action next weekend in California with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series at Antioch Speedway and Calistoga as he continues to fill-in for Rose. The East Coast racer has five top-10 finishes this season, which is tied for fifth-most in the series. Of the seven tracks he has competed at with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series thus far in 2013, six have been venues he has made his debut at.

“With just one race last weekend, I can’t wait to get back in the car at Antioch and Calistoga,” Gravel stated. “We have plenty of time this week to go through the car and work on a few things and see if we can get a little faster, especially for the big track at Calistoga.”

Keep up-to-date with David Gravel and DDR Motorsports by visiting www.DavidGravel89.com. Follow David on Twitter @davidgravel89g and like David on Facebook.

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