By T.J. Buffenbarger
(July 16, 2022) — In a touch over 15 hours from when we left Eldora Speedway the Knight Before the Kings Royal is complete after running a Saturday morning program at Eldora Speedway that nudged into the early afternoon hours with David Gravel picking up his second victory of the weekend. Here are five takeaways from the daytime program.
• David Gravel not only ended his dry spell with the World of Outlaws with two feature victories this weekend, has made himself one of the two 2-3 contenders for Saturday’s $175,000 finale. One advantage Gravel has obtained this weekend is the ability to choose his position for qualifying.
I spoke to Gravel in the media center after the feature he plans on going out after one or two cars that have decent pace. For the Saturday program the earlier start time and running qualifying with the sun out (in theory) and a fixed inversion of four cars makes this a huge advantage.
Gravel doesn’t seem to care though. Along with Brent Marks, Gravel has the arguably the fastest car here this weekend and has managed to pass cars when needed throughout the weekend.
There are a lot of people fixated on if Marks can double up this weekend, but I still feel Gravel is the favorite going into the Saturday program.
• Speaking of Marks, one of the key points I made after his victory on Thursday was taking last weekend off so his team was fresh coming into the big weekend at Eldora. Marks made the same decision opting not to run the Saturday morning program. I just walked through the pit area seeing teams hustling with their maintenance routine while Marks and others that sat out the Saturday show are already prepared for tonight’s program.
• Carson Macedo managed to do a tremendous job of damage control on Friday and Saturday racing his way up from the last chance race to sixth in the main event. Macedo’s run through the field on Saturday looked in doubt after only getting up to seventh position after starting 11th in the heat race. Macedo’s rally in the B-Main seventh to fourth and picking up 18 spots in the main event could be a point we look back on in the tight championship fight for the World of Outlaws title as a moment that kept Macedo in contention.
• Drivers outside the Outlaw tour continue to have success on the Royal weekend. Hunter Schuerenberg, who is in the midst of a career best season with the All Star Circuit of Champions, scored a solid top five finish in the Saturday daytime program.
Scheuerenberg is just another example of how we are seeing drivers outside the Outlaw tour able to be threats to run up front at tracks that don’t just involve a “home field advantage” from running them on a regular basis. The talent depth in the winged sprint car world is deep now extends well beyond the best of the Outlaws.
• Everyone involved in the Saturday night/Sunday morning program did a great job to keep the program moving. After the rain on Saturday being able to complete qualifying was huge. If we had to qualify all the of the cars on Saturday, we would be in a much more precarious position to complete the Saturday program before rain got to the racetrack.
Everyone from ticket takers, race officials, teams, and drivers helped keep things on track so we have a better chance to see someone take home a crown and $175,000 payday.