Watertown, Conn.— David Gravel began the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series West Coast Swing in early March not really knowing what to expect. He was set to visit tracks he had never seen, racing a car he had never driven, as he was tabbed to fill-in for the injured Bill Rose. Also, the East Coast racer was not sure how many races he would compete in as Rose recovered from a broken arm. Five weeks and nine races later, Gravel will complete the 11-race stretch out west this weekend with two more starts in the Golden State.
Gravel will open the weekend in Rose’s Firetext Response Maxim on Friday, April 12 Kings Speedway in Hanford, Calif. He’ll then head to Perris Auto Speedway in Southern California on Saturday, April 13 for the SoCal Showdown.
Kings Speedway is a three-eighths-mile located at the Kings County Fairgrounds. Gravel has raced three times on tracks that size during the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series West Coast Swing. He finished eighth at Tucson International Raceway in Arizona, was 13th at the new Stockton 99 Dirt Track in California and came home 15th last weekend at Antioch Speedway, also in California.
“Hanford is a little bit bigger of a track, like the ones we are used to in the Midwest and out East,” said Gravel. “We usually do pretty good on the bigger track and had some decent runs in Bill’s car last month at Las Vegas and Tucson. Hopefully we get a wide track and it gets slick so we can do some racing on it.”
Perris Auto Speedway will be the only half-mile in California that hosts the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series this season, following last weekend’s cancellation at Calistoga Speedway, due to extremely wet grounds. Gravel has made a pair of starts on half-miles this season in Rose’s car, with both of those coming at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to open the West Coast Swing. Gravel finished a season-best fourth in the finale of that two-night event. He opened the season with the World of Outlaws at the half-mile Volusia Speedway Park in Florida in his own No. 89G, coming home eighth on the second night of that three-night program.
“I hear the corners are kind of tight at Perris and you have to slow down a little going into them,” he shared. “I like the half-miles, so it’s a track that I’m looking forward to. Having run Las Vegas in Bill’s car should help as well, since we have a baseline for a bigger track.”
Entering the final two races of the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series West Coast Swing, Gravel is seventh in the series standings. He has five top-10 finishes, with two of those being top-five performances. Along with a fourth-place performance at Las Vegas, he also finished in that spot in the opener of a two-night show at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif. Over the last five weeks, the 20-year-old has visited seven new tracks in three states.
“It’s definitely been a new experience racing out west, especially in California,” noted Gravel. “The tracks seem to be a lot heavier throughout the night. The tracks are a lot smaller for the most part as well. There are a lot of ‘gassers’ in California and I guess you’d have to be with how the tracks are. We’ve had a good time racing at new places and seeing a ton of new fans.”
|Photo courtesy of David Gravel Racing|