GOING OUT IN STYLE: Gravel Nips McFadden at Checkered Flag for Final Devil’s Bowl Victory
The anticipation was sky high. The final race at the birthplace of the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars in 1978 – Devil’s Bowl Speedway. The stands were filled to capacity. Could the finale live up to the hype?
Absolutely it could.
After chasing James McFadden for the entirety of the 30-lap finale, David Gravel saw an opening on the final lap and capitalized. With the checkered flag in sight, Gravel slipped to McFadden’s outside coming out of Turn 4, the two touched wheels, and Gravel stole the victory at the finish line.
The thousands of fans rose to their feet to watch a photo finish with a .015 second margin of victory. Oddly enough, the lapped car right next to them was none other than Riley Goodno, who was driving a car that paid tribute to Kenny Woodruff’s machine that Jimmy Boyd took to Victory Lane in the first ever World of Outlaws race at Devil’s Bowl. The perfect punctuation to the decades of Devil’s Bowl history.
“What a way to send off Devil’s Bowl. How about that?” Gravel said., “I’m sick of running second. I saw a stat that I ran six seconds in the last 10 races, so that was way too many. I was sending it no matter what. I know Carson (Macedo) and Brad (Sweet) were having trouble, but at the end of the day, I’ve just got to try to win races no matter what they do. Happy to finally get one.”
Gravel’s win at Devil’s Bowl marked his first at the Mesquite, TX track in his 17th attempt with The Greatest Show on Dirt. The Watertown, CT’s 87th career Series victory gives him sole possession of 10th all-time, breaking a tie with Daryn Pittman. On the track’s final night of racing, the Big Game Motorsports driver became the 30th different competitor to win a World of Outlaws race at the birthplace of the Series.
Gravel started the race in the second spot with McFadden to his inside on the pole after the two ran first and second in the Toyota Racing Dash. McFadden jumped ahead early on, but a major moment in the race came on a restart with 2 laps complete. Lining up in the second row, teammates Brad Sweet and Kasey Kahne came together resulting in both of them flipping on the front straightaway.
Sweet, the points leader, brought the battered KKR #49 to the Federated Car Care Work Zone in need of many repairs. After non-stop thrashing on the Napa Auto Parts machine, Sweet was able to rejoin the field.
On the ensuing restart, McFadden again powered ahead of Gravel to maintain the top spot. Way back in the field, Sweet began picking through cars. But trouble struck again for the four-time champion as his left rear tire shredded on the eighth lap. Back to the Work Zone Sweet went, and back to the track be returned with a new tire.