Story By: CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY – CONCORD, NC – With a breathtaking World of Outlaws championship battle unfolding behind him, David Gravel made sure no one was in front of him on Friday at the Can-Am World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
Amid the excitement befitting a sold-out World Finals crowd, Gravel led title contender Donny Schatz to the finish line to capture his 50th career victory in the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series.
Gravel joined Chris Madden and Jimmy Phelps as the three feature race winners before a packed house at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. The Can-Am World Finals draws to a close with three feature races concluding an unforgettable weekend of racing on Saturday night.
Donny Schatz finished runner-up to Gravel in the 25-lap sprint car race and tightened an already close championship battle even further. Schatz trails leader Brad Sweet by two points – basically one position – after Sweet finished fifth.
Gravel won for the 11th time this season and second time at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. He also won on the four-tenths-mile oval two years ago, but it was Win No. 50 that was most special.
“We had a couple goals, and I really wanted to get to No. 50 this year,” Gravel said. “That is one of my accomplishments I wanted to do. I couldn’t do it without this team. … We’ve still got one more race to go, and hopefully we can sweep the weekend. This is a good start.”
Gravel had just been passed by Aaron Reutzel on Lap 12, but Reutzel immediately had an issue with lapped traffic as Gravel went back to the top spot.
“I got a couple lucky breaks,” Gravel said. “I made a mistake there getting into lapped traffic, and Reutzel passed me. Luckily, he went high and Dave Blaney went high – and the bottom opened up and I was able to get the lead back.”
Schatz closed on Gravel in the closing laps but couldn’t make a move. Still, he chopped six points off Sweet’s lead heading into the season finale on Saturday. With two points separating every finishing position (except first to second, which is four), Saturday’s feature should be spectacular from green to checkered.
“It got close – just not good enough,” Schatz said. “That’s how it goes some days. We’ll do our best tomorrow. We’ve got one more day to go, and we’ll just make the best of it.”
Logan Schuchart finished third, with Reutzel fourth. Schuchart, Gravel, Ian Madsen, Schatz, Sheldon Haudenschild and Reutzel were the heat race winners Friday.
World Finals At Charlotte – World of Outlaws NOS Energy Sprint Cars – November 8, 2019
NOS Energy Feature (25 Laps)- David Gravel, Donny Schatz, Logan Schuchart, Aaron Reutzel, Brad Sweet, Sheldon Haudenschild, Brian Brown, Kerry Madsen, Paul McMahan, Carson Macedo, Brock Zearfoss, Jacob Allen, Ian Madsen, Tim Schaffer, Kraig Kinser, Daryn Pittman, Spencer Bayston, Shane Stewart, Brent Marks, Bill Balog, Cale Conley, Giovanni Scelzi, Anthony Macri, Dave Blaney, Paige Polyak
Drydene Heat Races – 8 Laps – Top 3 Qualify – Top 2 Dash
Heat 1- Logan Schuchart, Carson Macedo, Brock Zearfoss, Wayne Johnson, Lynton Jeffrey, Spencer Bayston, Sylar Gee, Paige Polyak, Paul May
Heat 2- David Gravel, Giovanni Scelzi, Anthony Macri, Sammy Swindell, Brent Marks, Jason Sides, Dave Blaney, Trey Starks, John Garvin
Heat 3- Ian Madsen, Kraig Kinser, Jacob Allen, Shane Stewart, Tim Shaffer, Tony Fiore, Daryn Pittman, Steve Butler, Danny Dietrich
Heat 4- Donny Schatz, Brian Brown, Kerry Madsen, Freddie Rahmer, Chad Kemenah, Shawn Dancer, Greg Wilson, George Hobaugh, Davey Walsh Jr
Heat 5- Sheldon Haudenschild, Brad Sweet, Bill Balog, Parker Price-Miller, Justin Barger, Carl Bowser, Bradley Howard, Nathan Skaggs, Zeb Wise
Heat 6- Aaron Reutzel, Paul McMahan, Cale Conley, Dominic Scelzi, Sam Hafertepe, Paul Nienhiser, Terry McCarl, Jay Galloway
DIRTvision Fast Pass Dash – 6 Laps – Front Rows Of Features
Inside Dash- David Gravel, Ian Madsen, Logan Schuchart, Giovanni Scelzi, Carson Macedo, Kraig Kinser
Outside Dash- Paul McMahan, Brian Brown, Donny Schatz, Aaron Reutzel, Brad Sweet, Sheldon Haudenschild
Last Chance Showdown – 10 Laps – Top 6 Qualify
Last Chance Showdown- sssddws
C-Main Event – 10 Laps – Top 2 Advance To Last Chance Showdown
C-Main- Danny Dietrich, Lynton Jeffrey, Greg Wilson, Sammy Swindell, Carl Bowser, Terry McCarl, Trey Starks, Bradley Howard, Skylar Gee, Tony Fiore, John Garvin, Paul May, George Hobaugh, Jay Galloway, Davey Walsh Jr, Justin Barger