Gravel Wins at Wilmot

David Gravel

Gravel: "I think it's going to be a good year." (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)

Race Results

WILMOT, Wis. - David Gravel always wanted to see what he could do driving for one of the top World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series teams and he's proving quickly that he can take them to Victory Lane.

Gravel captured the win in the World of Outlaws' return to Wilmot Raceway on Friday night for his second win since moving to Roth Motorsports, four races ago.

"It's just awesome," Gravel said. "We have been so fast every night. We've had bad things happen the nights we haven’t run well. I’m looking forward to the rest of the year. I hope we just keep building on this and keep getting better. I don't know what's going to happen, but I think it's going to be a good year."

Photo: Jeff WackerlinThe race saw Gravel and Joey Saldana both battle for their third win of the season. Gravel was able to get around Saldana on a lap 8 restart and then maneuvered through lap traffic late to hold on for the win. Gravel, who has only raced in 15 of the 23 A-Features this year is now tied for the series season win lead with Daryn Pittman, Donny Schatz and Brad Sweet.

"Joey got by me on the first lap, but on the restart he chose the outside and I got the lead and held on from there," Gravel said. "Lap traffic was really tough and the track changed quite a bit and the cushion got really tough to run in (Turns) 3 and 4. I saw Joey poke his nose on the last lap, last corner and I'm just glad I could hang on."

In Victory Lane, Gravel dedicated the win to his former car owner Tom Leidig, who is going to have open heart surgery.

Saldana's second-place finish gave him the series points lead back and it came after a tough night at Jacksonville Speedway this past Wednesday night where he finished 12th after crashing his car in hot laps.

Photo: Jeff Wackerlin"To come back and rebound - these guys work really hard to put this car back together and have a good solid second," said Saldana, who was shooting to give team owner Dan Motter a win on his birthday. "It wasn’t handed to us. We earned it.

"We had a shot and on the initial start the outside worked for me so I wasn’t going to go against it because we only ran seven laps. The track was just too slick up there and I think I beat him, but he got a better drive off the corner and just beat me down in the corner and took my line away. When we got to lap traffic we had a car good enough to win, just didn’t get done. It was close."

Now Saldana will return to his home state of Indiana for tomorrow night's race at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt. Prior to this week's races, Saldana was back in Indiana to turn some laps at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where his father, Joe, once competed.

"It was one of the coolest things ever," Saldana said. "I know I wasn’t racing a car and wasn’t driving the official pace car, but I was driving an (Chevrolet) Impala pace car. When I was little I got to take a bus tour around the track and I thought that was the coolest thing ever. Growing up in Brownsburg in the month of May all you ever wanted to do as a kid, for me, was race in the Indy 500. It was pretty neat to say I drove around a track my dad raced on."

Photo: Jeff WackerlinPaul McMahan finished third for his eighth top-five finish in the last 11 races with Brad Sweet and Kraig Kinser rounding out the top five.

Earlier in the night Cody Darrah posted his first Quick Time of the season with a lap of 12.815 seconds. He finished 12th.

Daryn Pittman, the winner of the last Outlaws race at Wilmot in 2008, came into the night as the points leader, but dropped to nine points out with his eighth-place finish.

Related Topics:

World of Outlaws, David Gravel

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