Plymouth, IN — After starting seventh on the field at the beginning of the 35-lap feature at Plymouth Speedway, David Gravel worked his way up to third-place just shy of the halfway mark. It was with three laps to go Gravel took advantage of a bobble by the No. 87 of Aaron Reutzel to put him in the runner-up spot; but he wasn’t done just yet. Setting his sights on the leader of No. 7 of Jason Sides, Gravel squeezed his way under Sides as the two entered Turn 3. Gravel completed the move en route his fifth World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series win of the 2017 season.
With rain all around the Plymouth-IN area, the stars of the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series were determined to put on a great show for the Plymouth Speedway fans – and they did just that. Early in the evenings schedule, 26 cars of the 29 that entered the event all were quicker than the track record in hot laps. When it came to qualifying, Parker Price-Miller set fast time and in the process set a new track record with a lap of 11.079-second, eclipising the previous record set in 2016 by Logan Schuchart.
It was Jason Sides and Donny Schatz showing the way to the green flag for the Feature event at Plymouth Speedway. Just as the 24-car field was making their way around the the track for the first lap of the 35-lap Feature event, the No. 41 of Jason Johnson went for a tumble in-between Turns 3 and 4, bringing out the red flag and setting up a complete restart. Johnson would head to the work area and rejoin the field after some work to his No. 41 machine.
After a bad initial start and slipping back to fourth, Schatz had a second opportunity to hold his ground. Jason Sides once again got a solid restart, vaulting the No. 7 machine back to the lead. Schatz will hold onto second place until he was able to get by Sides on Lap 9 for the lead.
The No. 4 of Paul McMahan slowed in Turn 4 bringing out the yellow flag on Lap 15. On the ensuing restart the No. 15 of Donny Schatz selected the top leaving Sides the bottom groove. Entering the picture for the first time of the evening, David Gravel from seventh worked his way up to a podium running position. A master of the restarts all evening, Sides worked his way by Schatz to give him the top spot once again. Schatz didn’t let that No. 7 out of his sights, staying glued to the leader’s bumper – Gravel stayed within striking distance of the two.
The field would once again be slowed on Lap 23 when the No. 49D of Shawn Dancer spun in Turn 4. With 12 laps to go, Sides got another great restart, while the No. 15 of Schatz dropped back to fourth. The No. 87 of Aaron Reutzel leapfrogged Gravel and Schatz in the standings to put him in the runner-up spot.
With three laps to go, Reutzel bobbled slightly coming out of Turn 2, giving Gravel a chance to get by. With Sides out front with two laps to go, Gravel made a charge down the backstretch and planted his No. 5 under Sides for the lead coming to the white flag.
“We just wanted to start further up than we did last year and we did that,” said David Gravel. “We were really, really good until the red came out and the car was insane after that. After we got heat back in the tires the car came back to life, grabbed a little bit more wing and the car was really good with three laps to go. I was good when I needed to be good and just being patient and Reutzel slipped up and I took advantage.”
Gravel would go on to grab his fifth win of the 2017 World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series season with Sides in second and Reutzel in third. After leading a portion of the 35 lap race, Schatz brought the No. 15 Arctic Cat machine home in fourth.
“From the get-go we had a pretty good car,” said Jason Sides. “We got a good run here tonight and that’s what we were hoping for. I just got to thank all my guys for all the hard work. We’ve had a couple good runs at [Tri-State Speedway], we hope we can bring it home tomorrow.”
The World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series will be back in action tomorrow, Saturday, April 29 at Tri-State Speedway then again next Wednesday for a make-up race at Riverside Speedway on May 3. For tickets, visit WorldofOutlaws.com/tickets.
-World of Outlaws Press Release
-Photo Credit: Mark Funderburk