A Photo Finish for David Gravel on the Opening Night of the Trophy Cup

October 21st, 2013

By DDR Motorsports PR

WATERTOWN, Conn. — Oct. 20, 2013— The Trophy Cup at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif., has long been known as one of the most exciting events in all of sprint car racing. A massive field traditionally gathers at the always racy high-banked, one-third-mile for the 360-sprint car event that benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This year was no different, as 80-plus cars filled the pits and the crowd was treated to one of the most thrilling finishes in Trophy Cup history on Friday, Oct. 18, and David Gravel was a part of it, as he his maiden trip to the event, finishing second in a photo finish with Tim Kaeding.

Gravel led the majority of the 30-lap feature and came up a mere 0.003-seconds shy of Kaeding at the line. Gravel led coming off turn four when he engine began to go sour, allowing Kaeding to pull even, as the pair drag raced to the line in front of a huge crowd, with the electronic scoring needed to determine the winner of the race.

“We gave it everything we had and just about won it,” said Gravel. “When you race in California Tim (Kaeding) is usually the guy to beat. We led a ton of laps and just came up a couple inches short on the scoring system. It was a heck of a show for the fans and that’s what Tulare (Thunderbowl Raceway) has been known for over the years is the great racing that the track lends itself to. Races like that on Friday are what sprint car racing is all about.”

Gravel started on the outside of the front row aboard the No. 83SA for owner Rod Tiner, and took the lead from polesitter Shawn Wright on the second circuit. The native of Watertown, Conn., would continue to lead until the last few inches of the race. All told, Gravel paced the field for 28 of the 30 laps around Thunderbowl Raceway, en route to his second top-five finish of the season at the venue.

Gravel kicked off the night by timing in 35th in time trials of the 81 drivers in attendance. He started on the pole of the fifth heat and paced all 10 laps to win that contest over two-time World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series champion Jason Meyers and Rico Abreu, which earned him a spot in the preliminary main event.

In the finale of the Trophy Cup on Saturday, Oct. 19, Gravel rebounded to finish 10th, after getting into the wall on lap-38. That result was good enough to earn the 21-year-old the sixth most points over the course of the two-day event, which was the formula used to determine the overall Trophy Cup winner.

Gravel opened the final night of the event by finishing fifth in the fifth heat race. He garnered the fourth most event points up to that juncture, and with the 24 starters in the A-Feature being completely inverted by event points, that meant he lined up 21th for the 50-lap main event. A number of cautions and red flags slowed the A-Feature, which was ultimately won by Kyle Larson, who also claimed the overall Trophy Cup title.

“We battled all night long and make up some ground in the feature, then had some bad luck and battled back some more,” Gravel said. “It was great to be a part of the Trophy Cup and I have to thank Rod Tiner for giving me the opportunity. Hopefully, that’s an event I’ll be able to take part in for many more years to come. It was a great weekend all-around.”

Gravel looks to return to action again prior to the World Finals for the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, Nov. 7–9.

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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