The Upper Midwest Awaits David Gravel at Elko and Knoxville this Weekend Teams with Bill Rose Racing for Remainder of 2013

May 8th, 2013

By DDR Motorsports PR  

WATERTOWN, Conn.—May 8, 2013— For the last few seasons, David Gravel has made just one trip a year to the Upper Midwest to race and that coincided with his annual visit to the famed Knoxville Raceway in Iowa, for the Knoxville Nationals. This year, competing with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series, he’ll have a handful of opportunities to race in that part of the country, with the first of those being this weekend with a trip to Minnesota and Iowa. Gravel, who filled-in for the injured Bill Rose for most of the beginning of the 2013 season, has joined forces with the veteran driver and will run as a teammate to Rose for the rest of the season. 

This weekend begins for Gravel with the inaugural FVP Outlaws at Elko event for the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series at Elko Speedway in Minnesota, on Friday, May 10. Gravel will then make his first start of 2013 at Knoxville Raceway in Iowa, on Saturday, May 11.

“Getting to race twice in a weekend for the second week in a row helps you stay in a rhythm,” said Gravel. “The schedule will really start to pick up in the next few weeks and as a driver, that’s the time of the year you look forward to the most. When that time rolls around, you hope that things are clicking and you have found that right set-up.”

Elko Speedway in a high-banked, three-eighths-mile paved oval that will be covered with dirt for the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series event. The track hosted the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Series last year with dirt covering the historic paved venue. Gravel raced twice in the state of Minnesota, last year with the UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions, finishing sixth at Jackson Speedway and 11th at Hibbing Raceway. At Jackson, he was the second-fastest qualifier. Elko will mark the 12th track that Gravel has visited for the first time this season.

“I’ve heard the track puts on pretty good races and it will be unique for sure with the dirt covering the paved track up there,” said Gravel. “It should level the playing field since no one has ever been there before. Hopefully we can pick up where we’ve been and continue to have success going to these new tracks.”

Gravel raced at Knoxville Raceway last season during the Knoxville Nationals and also the Sunday prior to the event, in the inaugural Capitani Classic at the half-mile. During the new Friday night portion of the Knoxville Nationals, Gravel finished second in 2012, after leading a number of laps, which marked his best-career finish at Knoxville, and more importantly earned him a spot in the Saturday night finale for the first time in his career. The native of Watertown, Conn., made his Knoxville Nationals debut in 2010, claiming Rookie of the Year honors.

“We’ve never gotten to go to Knoxville in years past in the spring, so that should be a plus for us this time around,” he noted. “This year we’ll race there a couple of times before the Nationals, so that will help us learn a few things and try some combinations so we are ready when we go back in the summer for the Nationals.”

Last weekend at the famed Eldora Speedway in Ohio, Gravel qualified fifth and finished seventh in the opener of the two-night Outlaw Thunder weekend. He wrapped up the weekend with a 14th-place finish in the finale. He has raced at four different half-mile with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series this season, beginning with the season opening UNOH DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida.

“Knoxville is a fast race track, just like Eldora and you have to keep the car steady,” Gravel stated. “Typically, Knoxville gets pretty slick by the time the feature rolls around, so you have to really have your set-up right. There is always a good field of cars at Knoxville and we’ve had good fields most of the year and that’s what you want to race against, the best competition you can.”

Gravel enters this weekend sixth in the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series championship standings, just 20 markers out of the top-five. He has picked up 10 top-10 finishes, with four of those being top-five performances, including a season-best runner-up finish at Tri-State Speedway in Indiana, on April 20. Gravel returned home to Connecticut this week, before heading back to the Midwest.

“It’s always good to get home for a bit and see my family and also my dogs,” he noted. “Being on the road and racing with the Outlaws, you have to take advantage of getting home when you can. It definitely helps recharge the battery and gets you even more excited to get back to the race track.”

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