Watertown, Conn.— David Gravel is getting to know the state of California pretty well, after making his first-ever trip to the Golden State last month to race. Over the last three weeks, he has visited four different California tracks with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series and will add another two to that list this weekend as he continues to fill-in for the injured Bill Rose in the Firetext Response Maxim.
The weekend opens for Gravel at Antioch Speedway on Friday, April 5, followed by a stop at Calistoga Speedway. Both events will be comprised of a full racing program, capped by $10,000-to-win A-Features.
“It’s been a bit of an adjustment the last couple of races at the smaller tracks, since I’m used to bigger tracks, so I’m really looking forward to this weekend,” said Gravel. “It’s definitely a challenge when you go to places you’ve never compared to places that you know, but we’ve been adapting pretty well so far out west this year. I feel pretty comfortable in Bill’s car right now.”
After racing on two of the smallest tracks in California each of the last two weekends, first at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, where he finished sixth, and then at Merced Speedway, where he came home 11th, Gravel will race on a pair of bigger tracks this weekend, beginning at the three-eighths-mile Antioch Speedway. He has made a pair of starts on tracks that size with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series this season, finishing eighth at Tucson International Raceway in Arizona and coming home 13th at Stockton 99 Dirt Track in California. This weekend’s race will mark the World of Outlaws third visit to Antioch Speedway, which is one of two stops at the track in 2013.
“I went over to Antioch last weekend to watch the 360-race there, so I have an idea of the layout and shape of the track,” he shared. “It’s kind of a tight track, but it has some banking to it. As long as the track conditions are favorable, it should be pretty good and lend itself to some passing and good racing.”
Prior to the event at the historic Calistoga Speedway, the sprawling half-mile has been reconfigured. All-new clay has been applied to the surface along with adding banking to the track, which is located on the grounds of the Napa County Fairgrounds, and is hailed as one of the most picturesque venues in the entire country. Gravel has raced at two half-mile with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series this season. He opened the year with the series at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida in his familiar No. 89G and piloted Rose’s No. 6 in a pair of races in Las Vegas.
“Changes to tracks keep everyone on their toes, like this week going to Calistoga,” noted Gravel. “For the guys that have been there before, the track will obviously be different than the last time they were there, so that should level the playing field a bit. Having raced at Las Vegas last month in Bill’s car should help us as well.”
Gravel enters the weekend sixth in the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series championship standings on the strength of five top-10 finishes in 11 races. He finished a season-best fourth in the finale of the two-night event in Las Vegas in early March and matched that result in his debut at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif. The native of Watertown, Conn., is just 15 markers out of the top-five in points. Gravel will complete the West Coast swing in Rose’s car, as four more races in California remain.
“I always wanted to come to California and race and am getting the chance to do it now and it’s great,” he shared. “I’m just going to try to continue to make the best of it. Each night our first goal it to make it in the show and then after that, we want to be in the top-10 and the top-five if possible. We would definitely love to win a race out west.”