David Gravel swept first two World of Outlaws Sprint Car races in doubleheader

Gravel swept Outlaws doubleheader
World Racing Group / Paul Arch

David Gravel swept the World of Outlaws opening day with a pair of wins in a Friday day/night doubleheader at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida to close to within six victories of 10th on the all-time wins list.

Originally scheduled for one day earlier on Thursday, the Outlaws sprints took the checkered flag only to witness rain rolling in as they hit the backstretch.

“I really wanted to race last night after how good our car was in the Dash, but I obviously can’t complain now,” Gravel said in a press release. “You never know when you race early in the day like this, so I was a bit anxious about how it would play out. It’s tough on the equipment being wide open like that, but Brian Morrison builds us a great engine.”

Starting fourth in the first feature of the day, Gravel quickly moved forward and took the lead from Anthony Macri on Lap 11. The final 15 laps were a breeze for Gravel – the good kind now, not one filled with rain. He finished ahead of Michael “Buddy” Kofoid to take the early points’ lead in the 2023 Outlaws campaign.

Any concerns Gravel may have had about the engine lasting for two races were quickly put aside. Seven hours later, after sitting through another long rain delay, Gravel was once again in Victory Lane.

Gravel beat Kofoid in both events, but in Race 2 he was forced to take a new line to avoid bumps created by excessive wear,

MORE: Brad Sweet has legacy on his mind

“It was weird,” Gravel said about his pass for the lead. “I felt like something suddenly changed because the bottom was the place to be on that long green flag run, but the top – which felt like crap before – was amazing on the restart. I don’t know if it was tire temperature or maybe even moisture from the fog, but it worked out great. I think that rough stuff was just enough to upset the car and it bit Buddy when he went to the bottom.”

With two wins on Friday, David Gravel closed to within one of tying last year’s champion Brad Sweet – World of Outlaws / Trent Gower

By the numbers, Gravel’s win was memorable. His 78th win brings him to within one of tying Brad Sweet for 11th on the all-time list. With five more during the season, they will catch Stevie Smith for 10th.

Gravel is now the second driver to win three consecutive races at Volusia (along with Steve Kinser in 2010-11), the sixth driver to win a pair of races in one day and the seventh to start a season with back-to-back wins.

Finishing second in both races may have put Kofoid in a great position to run for the title in his first season of full-time racing with the Outlaws, but it was still a bitter pill to swallow.

“This one obviously stings a bit more having actually led the race, but overall this is a really great result,” Kofoid said. “I have to keep reminding myself that I’m brand new to this place, our team is still relatively young, and yet we’re competing for World of Outlaws wins. I hope we can get tomorrow in to have another shot at winning of those Gators, (the Volusia trophy).”

Danny Dietrich rounded out the podium in Race 1 with Logan Schuhart taking third in the second race.

Last year’s Outlaws Sprint Car champion, Brad Sweet finished 19th in Race 1 and sixth in Race 2. He is now ninth in the standings, 48 points out of first, but with more than 80 races still to be run in 2023, there is a lot of time to make that up. And he has an opportunity to claw back some of that ground Saturday night as the series remains at Volusia for the third night of the three-race stand.

Eli Tomac wins Seattle Supercross, ties Cooper Webb in championship points


In the past two weeks, Eli Tomac lost his momentum and with it the Monster Energy Supercross red plate to Cooper Webb, but a gutsy performance in Seattle gave him a sixth win of the season as he and the series heads into an off week tied. Tomac is currently tied in the points with Webb.

With this win, Tomac also ties James Stewart for second on the all-time wins list at 50 with six rounds remaining in 2023.

“I needed that bounce back,” Tomac told NBC Sports’ Will Christien. “It was almost like I was in a little bit of a slump in the past couple of weeks; just a little bit off. I’m feeling much better now. That track raced really cool. There were a lot of different lines out there.

“It was obviously very dicey early on. I got passed and then had to make those passes back.”

Tomac suffered with a stiff neck in Indianapolis two weeks ago when he lost the red plate to Webb for the first time in 2023. In that race, he scored his worst finish of the season in eighth. He lost more points in Detroit after finishing a distant third behind Chase Sexton and Webb. This is the fifth time this season that Tomac and Webb finished 1-2 in a race. Tomac has won them all, but Webb has been more consistent.

RESULTS: How they finished for the 450 Main in Seattle

Webb was disappointed to lose the ground to Tomac, but he will enter the Glendale, Arizona race with a red plate and a share of the points’ lead.

“It was overall a great night to get up front and get a second was great,” Webb said after the race. “Those few spots where I would get close to Eli and then make a mistake.

“The track was gnarly. It was no joke. It was cat and mouse as to who could ride the cleanest race and pick the line. I got off to a decent start, but Chase and Eli were ahead of me and I had some catchup to play and got into a good position.”

Early in the race, Sexton was indeed ahead of Webb and the remainder of the field. Another costly mistake sent Sexton to the ground. He battled back to finish fifth but is now 22 points out of the lead and in jeopardy of dropping out of championship contention unless Tomac and Webb have problems.

Rounding out the podium was Justin Barcia, who scored the third-place finish on his birthday

“Awesome ride,” Barcia said. “It was a lot of fun. I’m sure we kept the fans on their feet tonight. The track was gnarly. […] We’re searching; we’re so close to having that speed. We want it so badly. We’ll keep pushing hard and going for that win.”

Sexton’s mistake kept the three top points’ earners of 2023 from sharing the podium for the sixth time in 11 rounds, but the trio finished 1-2-3 in Heat 2 with Webb first, Sexton second and Tomac third.

The 250 West contenders were back in action after giving the last four rounds over to the East riders and Jett Lawrence picked up where he left off in Oakland: In Victory Lane. Lawrence scored his fourth win in five 250 West rounds. Last week his brother Hunter Lawrence tied Jett with 10 wins, but everyone knew it would not take long for Jett to regain the advantage.

Between them, the Lawrence brothers have won all but one race each in their respective divisions.

Lawrence rode a patient race in the Main. He settled in behind Stylez Robertson and concentrated on navigating the ruts mistake-free. He could not afford to be patient any longer when Cameron McAdoo caught up to the leaders. Lawrence found a second gear and gapped the battle for second.

An incident in their main made the battle between Lawrence and McAdoo more dramatic. While racing for second, the pair of riders ran out of room in the rhythm section. Both crashed but had a large enough lead over fourth to maintain their positions.

“It was a very eventful day,” Lawrence told NBC Sports’s Daniel Blair, answering a question about the earlier contact. “[…] It’s good to be back racing. It’s been a while. I feel like I’ve had another offseason. Glad to get out in one piece tonight.”

Lawrence now has a 23-point advantage over the field with four rounds remaining.

Click here for full 250 Main Results

RJ Hampshire finished second in his race and is second in the points after a seesaw affair that produced the final pass for position just before the white flag was displayed.

“I felt like I had a pretty good pace going for a little bit,” Hampshire said. “I closed the gap and then had a couple of big mistakes that almost put me on my head. I backed it off a little bit.

“Cam actually gapped me a little more than I would have wanted. I knew I could get a push there at the end. I thought that was the last lap, which is why my pass was a little more aggressive than it should have been, but I’m stoked to be able to close the gap a little bit.”

McAdoo took the final spot on the podium. This is the fourth time in 2023 these three riders have shared the box and if not for a sixth-place finish in Anaheim 2, he would be mounting a much more formidable challenge for the points’ lead.

“The track was really demanding tonight,” McAdoo said. “It did change a lot and the key thing was to get off the rhythms every time. We were swapping back and forth.”

Enzo Lopes in fourth and Max Vohland rounded out the top five.

Robertson had the early lead but when he lost the top spot to Jett he cross rutted on the next lap, crashed hard and failed to finish.

2023 Race Recaps

Detroit: Chase Sexton inherits win after Aaron Plessinger falls
Indianapolis: Ken Roczen gets first win in more than a year
Daytona: Eli Tomac extends Daytona record with seventh win
Arlington: Cooper Webb wins for second time, closes to two of Tomac
Oakland: Tomac ties Ricky Carmichael with 48 wins
Tampa: Webb gets first 2023 win
Houston: Tomac bounces back from A2 crash to win third race of 2023
Anaheim 2: Triple Crown produces new winners Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen
San Diego: Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Tomac wins opener for the first time

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