Gravel Tops Schatz Thursday at Volusia

David Gravel earns a gator trophy at Volusia Speedway Park. (Chris Seelman Photo

David Gravel earns a gator trophy at Volusia Speedway Park. (Chris Seelman Photo
From Tyler Altmeyer

BARBERVILLE, Fl. (February 16,2017) — For the first time in his young career, Watertown, Connecticut’s David Gravel is a main event winner in the Sunshine State, capturing the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions DIRTcar Nationals finale at the Volusia Speedway Park near Barberville, Florida. The victory, the third of his career during Arctic Cat All Star competition and his first since 2012, was conducted in near-demanding fashion; holding back Donny Schatz and Brad Sweet to lead all 30 circuits around the Volusia Speedway Park half-mile.

“This is definitely awesome,” David Gravel stated in victory lane. “I’ve never got to win in Florida and I’ve never got to win one of these gator trophies, so this is definitely cool. I have to thank all of the guys on the team; Barry, Zack, Derrick, Chad, Jen. They all did a great job preparing these race cars all winter. All of my sponsors; they make all of this possible. We are working for really good things this year, so this is a great start to that.”

Gravel, who started on the outside-front row, wasted no time getting to the front of the field, taking command during the initial drop of the green flag and stretching his early advantage to a near-three second lead. Even with two cautions, traffic coming into play by lap 10, and an abrasive coat of rubber starting to form on the surface of the speedway by lap 15, the pilot of the CJB Motorsports/ Game Treestands/No. 5 continued to hold his advantage, navigating forward while keeping Donny Schatz at a distance.

“[Donny Schatz] is definitely the best, so anytime you have an opportunity to beat him is a great thing,” Gravel stated. “The rubber started to come into play, so I had a little bit of an advantage at the end of the race. I was trying not to miss my marks while racing through traffic. I wanted to take my time and make sure I didn’t slip my tires. Our tires just made it, so thank goodness for that.”

With his second place performance, Donny Schatz, pilot of the familiar Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing/Arctic Cat/No. 15, will end his Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions Florida campaign with three victories and two runner-up finishes.

“We are happy with that,” Donny Schatz said regarding his Arctic Cat All Star performances in Florida. “The track kinda caught us off guard here tonight. I really didn’t expect it to take rubber like that, but it did, so it kinda set us up for a difficult second-half of the race. That’s the way it goes some days. This Arctic Cat team does a phenomenal job. I think we would rather have five victories during the last week, but who wouldn’t.”

The Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions will enjoy a seven week hiatus before returning to competition on Saturday evening, April 8, at the Atomic Speedway near Chillicothe, Ohio. “America’s Series” hosted competition at the southern Ohio highbanks on two separate occasions in 2016; once during Ohio Sprint Speedweek presented by Cometic Gasket, and once again on October 22 during the Arctic Cat All Star championship weekend. NASCAR Cup star Kyle Larson earned the speedweek victory, with Wooster, Ohio’s Sheldon Haudenschild taking high honors on championship weekend.

Those seeking additional information regarding Atomic Speedway should visit the facility live on the Web at

Contingency Awards/Results: Volusia Speedway Park – Thursday, February 16, 2017:
Event: 46th Annual DIRTcar Nationals
EMi Driver’s Meeting: 33 entries
State Water Heaters Warm-Ups: Brian Brown – 13.644 seconds
Lincoln Electric Fast Qualifier: Christopher Bell (6th) – 13.420 seconds
Kistler Racing Products Heat #1: Chad Kemenah
All Pro Aluminum Cylinder Heads Heat #2: Caleb Armstrong
Hunt Brothers Pizza Heat #3: Kerry Madsen
Elliott’s Custom Trailers & Golf Carts Heat #4: Justin Henderson
JE Pistons Dash #1: Caleb Armstrong
JE Pistons Dash #2: David Gravel
Classic Ink USA B-Main: Joey Saldana
Daido Engine Bearings Main Event Winner: David Gravel
MSD Performance Hard Charger Award: Chad Kemenah (+3)
Outback Steakhouse A-Main 5th Place Finisher: Caleb Armstrong
Outback Steakhouse A-Main 10th Place Finisher: Aaron Reutzel
Outback Steakhouse A-Main 15th Place Finisher: Mark Dobmeier
(Lincoln Electric, Daido Engine Bearings, MSD Performance, Outback Steakhouse: Need decal to qualify for contingency award)

Qualifying: 1.15-Donny Schatz, 13.271; 2.5-David Gravel, 13.311; 3.49-Brad Sweet, 13.317; 4.21-Brian Brown, 13.357; 5.9-Daryn Pittman, 13.415; 6.14-Christopher Bell, 13.420; 7.27-Greg Hodnett, 13.475; 8.10H-Chad Kemenah, 13.479; 9.13JT-Mark Dobmeier, 13.497; 10.5W-Lucas Wolfe, 13.513; 11.17s-Joey Saldana, 13.528; 12.2-Shane Stewart, 13.554; 13.2M-Kerry Madsen, 13.558; 14.4-Paul McMahan, 13.599; 15.11K-Kraig Kinser, 13.607; 16.17-Caleb Helms, 13.612; 17.24-Rico Abreu, 13.617; 18.7C-Caleb Armstrong, 13.622; 19.87-Aaron Reutzel, 13.703; 20.59H-Justin Henderson, 13.741; 21.59-Ryan Smith, 13.770; 22.13D-Danny Dietrich, 13.783; 23.93-Sheldon Haudenschild, 13.790; 24.17B-Steve Buckwalter, 13.800; 25.18-Ian Madsen, 13.818; 26.19-Brent Marks, 13.846; 27.7W-Tasker Phillips, 13.907; 28.O7-Jacob Wilson, 14.129; 29.13-Brandon Matus, 14.298; 30.51-John Garvin, 14.354; 31.33-Brent Matus, 14.651; 32.1Z-Dale Blaney, 99.260; 33.8M-TJ Michael, 99.990;

Heat Race #1 Group A – (8 Laps): 1. 10H-Chad Kemenah[1] ; 2. 14-Christopher Bell[2] ; 3. 49-Brad Sweet[3] ; 4. 5-David Gravel[4] ; 5. 2-Shane Stewart[6] ; 6. 17s-Joey Saldana[5] ; 7. 7W-Tasker Phillips[7] ; 8. 13-Brandon Matus[8]

Heat Race #2, Group B – (8 Laps): 1. 7C-Caleb Armstrong[1] ; 2. 15-Donny Schatz[4] ; 3. 4-Paul McMahan[2] ; 4. 27-Greg Hodnett[3] ; 5. 17B-Steve Buckwalter[5] ; 6. 51-John Garvin[7] ; 7. O7-Jacob Wilson[6]

Heat Race #3, Group C – (8 Laps): 1. 2M-Kerry Madsen[1] ; 2. 5W-Lucas Wolfe[2] ; 3. 21-Brian Brown[4] ; 4. 13JT-Mark Dobmeier[3] ; 5. 19-Brent Marks[8] ; 6. 18-Ian Madsen[7] ; 7. 17-Caleb Helms[6] ; 8. 11K-Kraig Kinser[5]

Heat Race #4, Group D – (8 Laps): 1. 59H-Justin Henderson[1] ; 2. 87-Aaron Reutzel[2] ; 3. 24-Rico Abreu[3] ; 4. 13D-Danny Dietrich[6] ; 5. 9-Daryn Pittman[4] ; 6. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild[7] ; 7. 59-Ryan Smith[5] ; 8. 33-Brent Matus[8]

Dash Race #1 – (4 Laps): 1. 7C-Caleb Armstrong[1] ; 2. 15-Donny Schatz[5] ; 3. 2M-Kerry Madsen[2] ; 4. 10H-Chad Kemenah[4] ; 5. 87-Aaron Reutzel[3]

Dash Race #2 – (4 Laps): 1. 5-David Gravel[1] ; 2. 49-Brad Sweet[2] ; 3. 5W-Lucas Wolfe[4] ; 4. 59H-Justin Henderson[3] ; 5. 14-Christopher Bell[5]

B-Main (12 Laps): 1. 17s-Joey Saldana[1] ; 2. 11K-Kraig Kinser[2] ; 3. 17-Caleb Helms[3] ; 4. 18-Ian Madsen[6] ; 5. 7W-Tasker Phillips[7] ; 6. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild[5] ; 7. 51-John Garvin[10] ; 8. 13-Brandon Matus[9] ; 9. 33-Brent Matus[11] ; 10. 59-Ryan Smith[4] ; 11. O7-Jacob Wilson[8] ; 12. 1Z-Dale Blaney[12] ; 13. 8M-TJ Michael[13]

A-Main (30 Laps): 1. 5-David Gravel[2] ; 2. 15-Donny Schatz[3] ; 3. 49-Brad Sweet[4] ; 4. 10H-Chad Kemenah[7] ; 5. 7C-Caleb Armstrong[1] ; 6. 2M-Kerry Madsen[5] ; 7. 14-Christopher Bell[10] ; 8. 9-Daryn Pittman[17] ; 9. 4-Paul McMahan[12] ; 10. 87-Aaron Reutzel[9] ; 11. 24-Rico Abreu[13] ; 12. 27-Greg Hodnett[14] ; 13. 19-Brent Marks[20] ; 14. 21-Brian Brown[11] ; 15. 13JT-Mark Dobmeier[15] ; 16. 17s-Joey Saldana[19] ; 17. 59H-Justin Henderson[8] ; 18. 18-Ian Madsen[23] ; 19. 17-Caleb Helms[21] ; 20. 11K-Kraig Kinser[22] ; 21. 5W-Lucas Wolfe[6] ; 22. 13D-Danny Dietrich[16] ; 23. 2-Shane Stewart[18] ; 24. 17B-Steve Buckwalter[24] Lap Leaders: David Gravel 1-30