By Tony Veneziano
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — August 14, 2017 — In the 1st Leg of the Northern Tour in June, David Gravel was victorious at the high-banked bullring over Kerry Madsen and Donny Schatz. For Gravel, it was his first win at the track and snapped a four-race win streak that Schatz had been on at the track with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series. Schatz returns to his home state this week fresh off his 10th win the Knoxville Nationals. This edition of The Breakdown sets the stage for the 2nd Leg of the Northern Tour presented by American Tire Service for the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series at River Cities Speedway, which kicks off a tripleheader weekend in the state of North Dakota for the series.
River Cities Speedway is a high-banked, three-tenths-mile. The track record of 9.269-seconds at 116.517 mph, established by Jason Meyers on August 21, 2009.
David Gravel won in June at River Cities Speedway to earn his first-career victory at the track. At the time, the win was his ninth of the season, which tied his previous career-high. Gravel has since added three more A-Feature wins to establish a new career-high of 12. He also won a preliminary feature last week during the Knoxville Nationals to bring his season total to 13 overall victories.
Donny Schatz has won four of the last five World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series races at River Cities Speedway. He swept the Northern Tour in both 2015 and 2016. Schatz has eight overall wins with the Outlaws at River Cities to lead all drivers. The North Dakota native has finished in the top-10 in all 19 of the previous races for the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series at River Cities.
Daryn Pittman, the 2013 series champion, won at the track in 2014. Kraig Kinser also is a past winner at River Cities Speedway with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series, taking the checkered flag in the 1st Leg of the Northern Tour in 2012.
The World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series has 16 teams following the series full-time this year, led by Schatz. Brad Sweet is currently second in points, with David Gravel in third. Daryn Pittman recently moved back into the fourth position, with Shane Stewart rounding out the top-five. Jason Johnson currently is sixth in the standings, with rookie Sheldon Haudenschild seventh, Kraig Kinser eighth, Logan Schuchart ninth and Jason Sides 10th.
Also on the road again this year are veteran drivers Paul McMahan and Greg Wilson, as well as young drivers Jacob Allen and Clyde Knipp. Brent Marks is also contending for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award this season. Jac Haudenschild is behind the wheel of the No. 17 machine for the Stenhouse Jr. Wood Racing team.
Plenty of starts
Jason Sides and Paul McMahan have competed in the majority of the previous World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series events at River Cities Speedway. Sides has made 18 starts, while McMahan has 16. McMahan has recorded 12 top-10 finishes, while Sides has nine top-10 runs at the track. Jac Haudenschild has made seven starts in his Hall of Fame career at River Cities Speedway, picking up six top-10 finishes along the way, including a runner-up performance in the inaugural World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series event at the track in 2007.
Up to speed
Brad Sweet, David Gravel, Shane Stewart, Jason Johnson and Greg Wilson have had a fair amount of success in a limited number of starts at River Cities Speedway. Sweet has six top-10 finishes at the track in nine races. Gravel has raced eight times at the track and has recorded six top-10 finishes, including his win in June. Stewart has four top-10 finishes, including a third-place effort in 2015. Johnson, who finished fourth in his debut at the track in 2015, has two top-10 finishes. Wilson has a pair of top-10 finishes at River Cities, including one back in June.
Logan Schuchart, Jacob Allen and Clyde Knipp are three of the youngest drivers on the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series circuit. Schuchart has made six starts at River Cities Speedway and has three top-10 finishes, including runs of third and fourth last year. Allen, who has qualified for six main events at the track, led the first four laps of the main event at River Cities back in June, before contact with the wall in turn four ended his night. Knipp qualified for his first A-Feature at the track in June.
Brent Marks and Sheldon Haudenschild are battling for the Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award this season. Each made their first trip to River Cities Speedway in June, with Marks picking up the KSE Hard Charger Award, after powering his way to an eighth-place finish, after starting 21st.
Home track advantage
Mark Dobmeier, the winningest sprint car driver in the history of River Cities Speedway, finished ninth in the 1st Leg of the Northern Tour in June. The multi-time track champion, who has three career World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series wins, is still chasing his first victory with the series at his home track.
Meet & Greet
Prior to the event at River Cities Speedway, American Tire Service Inc. will host a Meet & Greet, with a Ticket Giveaway on Race Day, Friday, August 18, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at their location on Gateway Drive, across from the track, featuring Greg Wilson, driver of the Hercules Tires No. w20 car.
Tickets for the 2nd Leg of the Gerdau Recycling Northern Tour for the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series events at River Cities Speedway on Friday, August 18 can be purchased online at slspromotions.ticketforce.com or by calling 815-344-2023. Tickets can also be purchased at the River Cities Speedway track office, area ticket outlets and at the track on race day.
Facebook: SLS Promotions LLC