PEVELY, Mo. — Neither rain nor restarts could dampen David Gravel’s Friday night as he dominated the Monroe Shocks and Struts Prelude to the Ironman at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 and scored his second straight and seventh overall World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series victory of the season.
Off-and-on light rain fell on the third-mile bullring. throughout the feature, but Gravel was the class of the field in his No. 5 Big Game Treestands machine. Multiple restarts hit in the middle of the 35-lap main event, but Gravel held off the competition and has led the last 75 laps of World of Outlaws feature competition.
“We’re really rolling right now,” Gravel said. “It was a really fast race track around the top and the rain made the top even better and tighter as the race went on… We’ve won a rain-shortened race so you don’t want to get too many of those. You want to earn them. You needed that 35-lap workout because 55 laps tomorrow is going to be tough, for sure.”
Gravel was the beneficiary of the Dash inversion draw and started on the Dash pole next to Jacob Allen. The two drivers finished first and second and started in the same positions in the feature.
When the green flag waved, Gravel quickly built up a lead as Allen held off Donny Schatz. When Gravel caught the tail end of the field, he had 1.5 second lead.
The first caution flag of the night waved on lap nine as James McFadden spun through turns one and two. On the restart, Gravel jumped forward, but the next five positions behind jumbled up as Allen and Sweet made contact, opening the door for Donny Schatz and Daryn Pittman. Schatz quickly took over second as Pittman battled Allen side by side through turns one and two and took over third as they entered on to the back straight.
Through a spate of cautions in the middle of the feature, Daryn Pittman, who nearly lost third to his Kasey Kahne Racing with Mike Curb teammate, Brad Sweet, battled past Schatz for second as Sweet and Schatz engaged in a multi-lap battle for third.
“Once Donny took a few slide jobs at me and I got my momentum going and cleared him,” Sweet said. “I’m sure he was right there with me, but there wasn’t much you could do with the lapped cars on the bottom.”