David Gravel Goes High And Low For 17th Win Of The Season

By Victoria Beaver

Just one week after winning the National Open at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, PA, David Gravel drove his car to Victory Lane again, this time at Fulton (NY) Speedway on Saturday night. Gravel took the lead when Daryn Pittman spun out after running into a car that had fallen off the pace.

With this win, Gravel extends his season win total to a career-best 17 victories. The only driver with more wins in 2017 is points leader and eight-time champion Donny Schatz.

Pittman fought hard from the start, moving from fourth to second in his heat to lead the pack during the Dash. He won that race by holding off the "Wild Child," Jac Haudenschild.

“Lady Lightning” Paige Polyak debuted in her first-ever Dash after finishing second in her heat.

Pittman started on the front row next to the “Ragin Cajun” Jason Johnson. When Gravel and Johnson became embroiled in a battle for second, Pittman pulled out to a major lead.

Johnson went low; Gravel went high. On the eighth lap, Gravel found himself in second when Pittman rear-ended Clyde Knipp, who experienced mechanical problems and slowed to exit the track. Pittman was able to repair and rejoin the race. Knipp was not.

Johnson battled hard to keep Gravel on his toes but could never make it around the new leader. Schatz worked his way from eighth to third for another podium finish.

Gravel only held the lead for two laps before another caution flag waved, this time for a crash involving Parker Price-Miller, Polyak, and Scott Krueutter.

There were a late set of cautions to temporarily slow Gravel on laps 21 and 24 — giving Johnson and Schatz the chance to spoil Gravel’s night. The winner continued to ferret out the best line as he jumped from the bottom to the cushion several times through the race.

“The track got so technical.” Gravel said. “The top was good, then the bottom was good, then I thought the bottom was too slow… I ran just about every line you could run tonight.”

Johnson, who is nearing the end of an up-and-down season, was happy with his podium knowing that he battled the best for the spot.

We gave it our best shot tonight,” Johnson said, “ I did my best to race clean and hard and finishing between [Gravel and Schatz] is an accomplishment in itself.”

Greg Wilson advanced 10 spots to finish fourth after starting 14th. Haudenschild completed the top five.

Top 10 Finishers

1. David Gravel
2. Jason Johnson
3. Donny Schatz
4. Greg Wilson
5. Jac Haudenschild
6. Brent Marks
7. Kraig Kinser
8. Brad Sweet
9. Mike Mahaney
10. Sheldon Haudenschild 

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Kyle Hardy, Facebook

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Jimmy Phelps (Facebook)

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Jason Johnson was victorious in each of the two main events leading up to Saturday’s finale of the 40th annual AGCO Jackson Nationals at Jackson Motorplex in Minnesota and was in line for a clean sweep of the weekend. That was, until nine-time and defending World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz swooped in, taking the $40,000 top prize in the finale of the three-day event, which was condensed into a two-day show. 

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