David Gravel in victory lane Wednesday night at Eldora Speedway. (Paul Arch photo)
ROSSBURG, Ohio – After 110 days and 26 consecutive losses, the streak ended for David Gravel and Big Game Motorsports.
Until Wednesday’s flag-to-flag wiring of the Jokers Wild at Eldora Speedway, Gravel last won a World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series feature at Perris Auto Speedway on March 26. He’s been mighty consistent with 13 top-five finishes over that span, but victory lane has seemingly eluded him around every corner.
There was no hiding, nor joking, on the matter tonight, however, as the Kings Royal week officially opened at Eldora Speedway with the Jokers Wild $ 10,000-to-win preliminary.
It was not only Gravel’s 72nd career World of Outlaws win (tying him for 12th All-Time with Jac Haudenschild) and his third of the season, but it was also his fourth-career victory at Eldora Speedway ahead of Thursday’s $ 100,000-to- win Historical Big 1 and Saturday’s $ 175,000-to-win Kings Royal.
“Man, it has felt like forever,” Gravel said. It’s obviously tough on morale and such, but I told Cody [Jacobs] we just have to keep working together and stick to it. You have to be on your A-game every single time you’re on the track against these guys. ”
Although the 26-race winless streak does not look or feel great, it is noteworthy that the consistent championship contender in Gravel has risen the No. 2 up to second in points (-48) and the season is yet to be halfway through.
“It’s a long season, I know that,” Gravel continued. “We are not even halfway yet, so I think we can do some damage. If we start rattling off some streaks, we could be the new team to beat out here. ”
Rolling from second starting spotwith Justin Peck to his inside, Gravel assumed the early command of the lead and never relinquished it through 25 fast-paced laps. Following a bail on the initial start, 21 consecutive green flag laps ensued before a pair of stoppages created for a green-white-checkered finish.
Gravel kept the No. 2 pinned to the mat and rode off into the distance.
Carson Macedo had a chance at Gravel on the final restart, but fell slightly short and settled for a second-place finish. The Jason Johnson Racing, Albaugh No. 41 is now tied for the most podium finishes (13) this season with the World of Outlaws. After winning both preliminary shows last year, the rising star came bound and determined to escape Eldora with the big bucks this weekend.
“My car was really as good as it could’ve been,” Macedo noted. “I felt off in the Dash, but Phil [Dietz] did what Phil does best and gave me a perfect race car. I thought before the bail came out that I was reeling him in through traffic, but he found clean air on the restarts and would get away each time. ”
Finishing out the podium with a third-place effort was Brian Brown aboard the Casey’s General Stores, FVP Parts No. 21.
“I think we had a car capable of winning, but the driver failed to make the right adjustments from inside the cockpit as the race went on,” Brown admitted. “Coming here against 55 cars and finishing third is one hell of an accomplishment for our team, though. There’s no shame in running third to two of the best guys in the world. ”
A pair of hopeful first-time winners rounded out the top five at Eldora Speedway as Justin Peck scored fourth, with Kasey Kahne fifth.
Feature (25 Laps): – 1. 2-David Gravel [$10,000]; 2. 41-Carson Macedo [$6,000]; 3. 21-Brian Brown [$3,500]; 4. 13-Justin Peck [$2,800]; 5. 9-Kasey Kahne [$2,500]; 6. 24-Rico Abreu [$2,300]; 7. 15-Donny Schatz [$2,200]; 8. 49-Brad Sweet [$2,100]; 9. 18-Giovanni Scelzi [$2,050]; 10. 3-Ayrton Gennetten [$2,000]; 11. 57-Kyle Larson [$1,600]; 12. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$400]; 13. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$1,200]; 14. 83JR-Kerry Madsen [$1,100]; 15. 5-Spencer Bayston [$1,050]; 16. 19-Brent Marks [$1,000]; 17. 8-Aaron Reutzel [$1,000]; 18. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [$1,000]; 19. 49X-Tanner Thorson [$1,000]; 20. 83-James McFadden [$1,000]; 21. 4-Cap Henry [$1,000]; 22. 48-Danny Dietrich [$1,000]; 23. 1A-Jacob Allen [$1,000]; 24. 11-Parker Price-Miller [$1,000]; 25. 39M-Anthony Macri [$1,000].