David Gravel Steals The Brad Doty Classic From Tim Shaffer
Shaffer finished second in one of six heat races that were required to accommodate the massive 58-car field. He won his Dash, which placed him on the pole. Shaffer didn't waste any time shooting out to the lead. He was in lapped traffic by the time seven circuits were in the books, and that allowed Sheldon Haudenschild and Rico Abreu to close the gap.
"I knew I needed to move around," Shaffer said from the horse track that separates the grandstands from the flag stand. "We went low that one time and it went pretty good, but it took so long to get in and I decided I lost a lot. It's one of those deals where you're up front and you're not sure. This is a hard one to lose, but I've won them that way too. It goes both ways. Those guys did a heck of a job, so hats off to them."
Meanwhile, Gravel--who started sixth--picked his way through the field.
Gravel's 10th win of the season--a career best--was a recovery from last year. He struggled last year and could not get the car hooked up and finished only fifth in the C-Main and failed to make the make the big show.
"It's awesome," Gravel said in Victory Lane. "(When the Brad Doty Classic was) at Lima, I finished on the podium a couple of times and could never win one. To win it at Attica where we couldn't even make it out of the 'C' last year, to rebound like that and win is just awesome. There's so much prestige with this race. Everybody wants to win Brad Doty's race, and you see it with 58 race cars (in the pits). I'm just happy to do it and do it at Attica."
While Shaffer lost the groove in the final laps, Gravel found it and advanced rapidly.
"I was in fourth, I think, with five laps to go," Gravel explained. "I got a run on Daryn and he and I were racing really hard. I got by him and found the bottom in (turns one and two) and closed in on Rico really fast there. I threw a pretty big slider on Rico to get by him, and Tim ran the bottom in one and two the lap before. If he did that, I probably wouldn't have been able to get by him. Luckily he did and left the door open, and we took the lead on the white flag lap and just had to hold on for one more. It's pretty awesome."
Abreu was Shaffer's competition for most of the night, but the slide job by Gravel cost Shaffer momentum and allowed Daryn Pittman to slip into third.
"[Shaffer] got back by me and ended up winning the race," Pittman said. "I'm frustrated with myself as a driver. I think when they got to traffic, Shaffer and Rico both slowed down a bit and I thought I was in position to try to steal that one. Instead of me, Gravel was sitting in fourth and stole it from all of us."
The drive of the night was put on by Brad Sweet. He missed a transfer spot into the heat by one position, finishing fourth behind Haudenschild, Kyle Larson, and Donny Schatz. Falling back on his qualification time, he was forced into the D-Main. He dominated it and ran well in the C but failed to advance on time. He took a provisional and started 25th on the last row. Running the two preliminaries taught him how to pass on dusty oval, and he climbed to fourth in the final lap. Shaffer wants the race to the 35 laps next year; Sweet may be lobbying for 45.
Abreu rounded out the top five.
Larson was bidding for his eighth sprint car race of the season. He was racing comfortably with the leaders when he spun on lap 10. That dropped him to the back of the pack, and he spent the next 30 laps reclaiming a top 10 finish.
Top 10 Finishers1. David Gravel
2. Tim Shaffer
3. Daryn Pittman
4. Brad Sweet
5. Rico Abreu
6. Brent Marks
7. Donny Schatz
8. Kraig Kinser
9. Shane Stewart
10. Kyle Larson
Complete Results, with heat races