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Gravel Achieves Perfection on Toyota Qualifying Night

By TJ Buffenbarger
KNOXVILLE, Iowa (August 10, 2017) – David Gravel put his name in the history books at Knoxville Raceway on Thursday night by achieving a perfect point score on his way to victory during Toyota Qualifying night at the 57th Annual 5-Hour ENERGY Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Stores. Gravel was the first driver to set fast time, win his heat race, and win the preliminary feature at the Nationals since Steve Kinser in 1992.

“I was born in ’92 and happy to be in the books to be able to do that,” said Gravel after the race. “Donny Schatz has won nine of these and hasn’t done that before. Hopefully we have something for him Saturday”

Gravel had to pass Mark Dobmeier for the lead twice due to a caution flag when he was making the pass for the lead the first time.

“That one time I did get the lead and the yellow came out,” said Gravel. “I knew Mark would have been good in an open track. I was just going to run behind him until we got to lapped traffic and then work the bottom. I was lucky I got back by Brian. I made a mistake and tried to run down the track, but the top was the fastest way around. Luckily I was able to slide him back and be in control of the race even running second and get by Mark there later in the race.”

Mark Dobmeier and Wayne Johnson started on the front row for the 25-lap main event. Dobmeier took the lead on the initial start. As the field went through turns three and four the defending Knoxville Nationals champion Jason Johnson got sideways and Dominic Scelzi was collected as well to bring out the caution flag. Both cars were taken to the work area with Scelzi able to continue while Jason Johnson had to retire from the event.

After the second attempt to start the feature was called back the third attempt got the race underway with Dobmeier taking the lead with Brooke Tatnell, Wayne Johnson, Daryn Pittman and Gravel in pursuit. On lap two Brown got sideways in turn four and dropped back to sixth.

Dobmeier pulled away as Johnson and Tatnell raced for second. Soon Gravel made a charge up to fourth around Tatnell and then took third away from Johnson on lap four. After that Pittman and Johnson exchanged sliders with Pittman driving down the backstretch with a fourth position.

By lap seven Brown moved past Pittman and started to gain on the leaders.

Up front Gravel continued his march through the field sliding by Tatnell for second on lap seven. Shortly after, Gravel closed right in on Dobmeier in traffic to challenge for the lead. Gravel threw the slide job on Dobmeier and took the lead in turn one just as the caution appeared on lap 15 for Tatnell blowing a tire in turn one.

Gravel immediately went to the bottom to challenge Dobmeier during the restart, but could not make the pass. Brown, who had moved up to third after Tatnell’s issue, was able to drive by Gravel for the second spot. One lap later Gravel took the second position and set out after Dobmeier.

With eight laps to go Gravel closed in on Dobmeier for the lead. With seven laps to go Gravel made his move getting a run off turn four on the bottom and driving by Dobmeier through turns one and two for the lead. From there Gravel pulled away from the field as Dobmeier and Brown raced for second. With six laps to go Brown hooked the cushion in turn three, bicycled, and nearly turned over.

Brown continued to stalk Dobmeier and drove by for second with three laps to go. From there on out it was all Gravel taking the win over Brown and Dobmeier.

Gravel has had a career season in 2017 winning 13 races this season and hoping the 14th victory comes on Saturday at the Nationals.

“I’m in the zone right now, little spaces look big,” said Gravel. “Like Kyle Larson said I’ve never driven a sprint car this good. Hopefully he gets the race on Saturday so we can duke it out.”

57th Annual 5-Hour ENERGY Knoxville Nationals
Toyota Qualifying Night
Knoxville Raceway
Knoxville, IA
Thursday August 10, 2017

Qualifying: 1. 5 – David Gravel, 15.072; 2. 83 – Justin Henderson, 15.185; 3. 24 – Terry McCarl, 15.291; 4. 21 – Brian Brown, 15.377; 5. 24R – Rico Abreu, 15.493; 6. 44S – Trey Starks, 15.500; 7. 9 – Daryn Pittman, 15.520; 8. 7S – Jason Sides, 15.543; 9. 41 – Jason Johnson, 15.566; 10. 55 – Brooke Tatnell, 15.575; 11. 81 – Lee Jacobs, 15.589; 12. 7W – Tasker Phillips, 15.606; 13. 2C – Wayne Johnson, 15.626; 14. 19P – Paige Polyak, 15.638; 15. 13JT – Mark Dobmeier, 15.640; 16. 18 – Ian Madsen, 15.649; 17. 3S – Sammy Swindell, 15.667; 18. 10H – Chad Kemenah, 15.721; 19. 71A – R.J. Johnson, 15.722; 20. 3 – James McFaden, 15.759; 21. 1A – Jacob Allen, 15.781; 22. 41S – Dominic Scelzi, 15.785; 23. 15H – Sam Hafertepe Jr. , 15.790; 24. 1X – Don Droud Jr. , 15.791; 25. 29 – Danny Dietrich, 15.795; 26. 39 – Spencer Bayston, 15.808; 27. 10V – Kyle Reinhardt, 15.811; 28. 49J – Josh Schneiderman, 15.832; 29. 12N – Cole Duncan, 15.850; 30. 9Z – Jared Goerges, 15.894; 31. 53 – Jack Dover, 15.906; 32. 17M – Max McGhee, 15.947; 33. 1 – Thomas Kennedy, 16.019; 34. 1Z – Dale Blaney, 16.022; 35. X1 – Mason Moore, 16.047; 36. 00 – Dane Lorenc, 16.057; 37. 44 – Chris Martin, 16.067; 38. 3K – Tim Kaeding, 16.112; 39. 11K – Kraig Kinser, 16.117; 40. 17X – Josh Baughman, 16.133; 41. 99G – Skylar Gee, 16.215; 42. 13V – Seth Brahmer, 16.280; 43. 9N – Wade Nygaard, 16.284; 44. 15M – Bobby Mincer, 16.288; 45. 5J – Jeremy Schultz, 16.325; 46. 23W – Scott Winters, 16.424; 47. 13 – Clyde Knipp, 16.470; 48. W20 – Greg Wilson, 16.496; 49. 19L – Todd King, 16.709; 50. 94 – Jeff Swindell, 17.190; 51. 9C – Roger Campbell, 17.346; 52. 19 – Brent Marks, DQ; 53. 71CC – Robert Bell, NT; 54. 35V – Jamie Veal, NT;

Heat Race #1 (10 Laps): 1. 5 – David Gravel, 2. 18 – Ian Madsen, 3. 53 – Jack Dover, 4. 1A – Jacob Allen, 5. 39 – Spencer Bayston, 6. 44S – Trey Starks, 7. 99G – Skylar Gee, 8. 00 – Dane Lorenc, 9. 81 – Lee Jacobs, 10. 23W – Scott Winters. (First four finishers transferred to the A-Main)

Heat Race #2 (10 Laps): 1. 44 – Chris Martin, 2. 41S – Dominic Scelzi, 3. 9 – Daryn Pittman, 4. 10V – Kyle Reinhardt, 5. 3S – Sammy Swindell, 6. 83 – Justin Henderson, 7. 7W – Tasker Phillips, 8. 13V – Seth Brahmer, 9. 17M – Max McGhee, 10. 13 – Cylde Knipp. (First four finishers transferred to the A-Main)

Heat Race #3 (10 Laps): 1. 1 – Thomas Kennedy, 2. 3K – Tim Kaeding, 3. 24 – Terry McCarl, 4. 2C- Wayne Nygaard, 5. 15H – Sam Hafertepe, 6. 7S – Jason Sides, 7. 10H – Chad Kemenah, 8. 49 – Josh Schneiderman, 9. W20 – Greg Wilson, 10. 9N – Wade Nygaard. (First four finishers transferred to the A-Main)

Heat Race #4 (10 Laps): 1. 1Z – Dale Blaney, 2. 11K – Kraig Kinser, 3. 21 – Brian Brown, 4. 71A – R.J. Johnson, 5. 1X – Don Droud Jr, 6. 12N – Cole Duncan, 7. 15 – Bobby Mincer, 8. 71A – R.J. Johnson, 9. 19P – Paige Polyak, 10. 19L – Todd King. (First four finishers transferred to the A-Main)

Heat Race #5 (10 Laps): 1. 17 – Josh Baughman, 2. 29 – Danny Dietrich, 3. 13JT – Mark Dobmeier, 4. 55 – Brooke Tatnell, 5. 24 – Rico Abreu, 6. 3 – James McFadden, 7. 1X – Mason Moore, 8. 5J – Jeremy Schultz, 9. 9Z – Jared Goerges. DNS: 94 – Jeff Swindell. (First four finishers transferred to the A-Main)

C-Main (10 Laps): 1. 81 – Lee Jacobs, 2. 19P – Paige Polyak, 3. W20 – Greg Wilson, 4. 9N – Wade Nygaard, 5. 19L – Todd King, 6. 13 – Clyde Knipp, 7. 9Z – Jared Goerges, 8. 9C – Roger Campbell, 9. 17M – Max McGhee. DNS: 23W – Scott Winters, 94 – Jeff Swindell, 19 – Brent Marks, 35V – Jamie Veal. (First four finishers transferred to the A-Main)

B-Main (12 Laps): 1. 24R – Rico Abreu, 2. 83 – Justin Henderson, 3. 44S – Trey Starks, 4. 7S – Jason Sides, 5. 3 – James McFadden, 6. 10H – Chad Kemenah, 7. 15H – Sam Hafertepe Jr, 8. 7W – Tasker Phillips, 9. 1X – Don Droud Jr, 10. 49J – Josh Schneiderman, 11. 12N – Cole Duncan, 12. 99G – Skylar Gee, 13. 19P – Paige Polyak, 14. 71A – R.J. Johnson, 15. 5J – Jeremy Schultz, 16. 81 – Lee Jacobs, 17. X1 – Mason Moore, 18. W20 – Greg Wilson, 19. 15M – Bobby Mincer, 20. 9N – Wade Nygaard, 21. 1A – Jacob Allen, 22. 13V – Seth Brahmer, 23. 00 – Dane Lorenc, 24. 3S – Sammy Swindell. (First four finishers transferred to the A-Main)

A-Main (25 Laps): 1. 5 – David Gravel, 2. 21 – Brian Brown, 3. 13JT – Mark Dobmeier, 4. 18 – Ian Madsen, 5. 9 – Daryn Pittman, 6. 24. 41 – Jason Johnson, 7. 24 – Terry McCarl, 8. 29 – Danny Dietrich, 9. 39 – Spencer Bayston, 10. 24T – Rico Abreu, 11. 3K – Tim Kaeding, 12. 17X – Josh Baughman, 13. 44S – Dominic Scelzi, 15. 7S – Jason Sides, 16. 83 – Justin Henderson, 17. 54 – Jack Dover, 18. 10V – Kyle Reinhardt, 19. 1 – Thomas Kennedy, 20. 11K – Kraig Kinser, 21. 44 – Chris Martin, 22. 1Z – Dale Blaney, 23. 55 – Brooke Tatnell, 24. 41 – Jason Johnson.