Gravel wins WoO return in Knoxville after coronavirus hiatus

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher 

David Gravel sure likes Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa. He has won the last two World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series events at the facility. 

Gravel won the WoO’s return to racing on Friday night after a two-month hiatus due to the global coronavirus pandemic. This was the sports return since February when the governing body had three events at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida.

Jason Johnson Racing Sprint Car driver David Gravel racing at the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Invitational
David Gravel racing at the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Invitational (Photo by Trent Gower)

“We don’t really feel how many people are watching, maybe tens of thousands of people are watching (on Friday night on DIRTVision) and hopefully that was a good race for everyone to get their blood pumping again,” Gravel said. “Me and Ian just battled and battled and battled … It’s just good to get back in a race car and be competitive.”

With the win, Gravel won the $10,000 purse.

Before Gravel’s first win of the season, Donny Schatz, Brad Sweet, and Logan Schuchart won at the Florida facility. Schuchart was the last winner on tour on February 9th before races were postponed and cancelled for several weeks. 

Last August, Gravel won the historic Knoxville Nationals. Schuchart finished second. 

Ian Madsen finished second, while Schuchart finished third. Both drivers were 1.1 seconds and 1.6 seconds behind Gravel when he crossed the finish line.

“I don’t know how,” said an elated Gravel about winning after the race. “Me and Ian made a lot of mistakes. If it was a 25-lap race, I would have lost that one. I was really good in (Turns) 1 and 2 on the bottom, but man, I could not come off. It was so treacherous, and he was kind of running up the track and turning down and getting more momentum. If I hit my marks, I was faster, but man, it was hard to do.”

This race was also the return to racing for Kyle Larson. On Easter Sunday, he lost his NASCAR Cup Series ride due to using a racial slur on iRacing. 

Larson finished 10th. Kasey Kahne — who also returned to racing in this one off event — did not make this A-Main.

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