Gravel awarded the coveted 'Big Gator'

BARBERVILLE, Fla. - February 19, 2017 - Donny Schatz etched his name into DIRTcar Nationals history Sunday, winning both the afternoon and night show at Volusia Speedway Park. The trip down victory lane gave Schatz 17 career wins at the half-mile, and he captured three of the five sprint shows in the 12-day event.

With the victory, Schatz joined Jeff Swindell and Sammy Swindell as the only Outlaws to win multiple series races in one day. Jeff Swindell first accomplished the one-day sweep at Rolling Wheels (N.Y.) Raceway Park on October 8, 1994. Sammy Swindell matched his brother's feat in 1999 at Bloomington (Ind.) Speedway.

Though Schatz won the majority of the week's sprint car races, those he did not win proved to test his No. 15 Tony Stewart-Curb/Agajanian Racing team. In the World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series opener, Schatz qualified 24th in a 36-car pack and placed fourth in his heat race. Sunday night was similar, as Schatz only qualified seven positions better and placed fifth in his heat. What differed for the eight-time champion this time was his ability to move through the 26-car feature field.

"We didn't change anything," Schatz said. "I thought the car felt really good. I actually thought I could get to the middle pretty well, but that changed once we got that going. These guys are incredible with what they do. I love it."

Schatz started 17th in the 30-lap feature, but made quick work of those between him and a podium position. By the 12th lap Schatz skidded through the bottom, passing multiple drivers into fourth. The next lap Schatz made his move for third, getting under quick-timer Brian Brown. Brown won his way through the program, setting the quick time and eventually leading the feature into the green flag.

Within the final 10 laps and one position later, Schatz threatened for first. David Gravel, who took the lead on the fifth lap, maintained the top spot by building speed on the top cushion. Gravel said he felt comfortable "staying on top and running alone," but Schatz began to close the gap with each lap by cutting the corners out of turns three and four; lapped traffic gave Gravel enough real-estate to not alter his line. However with two laps remaining, the two barreled down the front stretch side by side - only for Schatz to catch him in turn one. Gravel said where he saved time with lapped traffic, he ended up giving time back at the end.

"We wanted to win there," Gravel said. "Lapped traffic got us. Sometimes we're better running second. I don't know what I could have done differently, but I did the best I could. Just leading all those laps you want to win."

Despite Gravel's shortcoming, in hindsight he said he had a good week. Having battled through four motor changes - the CJB Motorsports team had to get three more Kistler engines delivered to even be able to run the finale - he still advanced to the Craftsman® Club Dash in both shows. Because of the consistency, Gravel took home the coveted 'Big Gator' trophy, which is awarded to the top performing driver overall.

"We just need to continue to get better and run well," said Gravel, whose focus is helping refresh and replenish his team's inventory.

The series will head West for its annual Kick-off Tour. First, the Outlaws will tackle two Texas tracks from March 3-4: Lonestar Speedway and Gator Motorplex. For more information, visit woosprint.com/kick-off-tour.

DIRTcar Nationals, Volusia Speedway Park Notebook

Feature - (30 Laps) - 1. 15-Donny Schatz [17] [$10,000]; 2. 5-David Gravel [4] [$5,500]; 3. 9-Daryn Pittman [5] [$3,200]; 4. 5W-Lucas Wolfe [2] [$2,800]; 5. 21-Brian Brown [1] [$2,500]; 6. 2-Shane Stewart [14] [$2,300]; 7. 1S-Logan Schuchart [10] [$2,200]; 8. 2M-Kerry Madsen [3] [$2,100]; 9. 18-Ian Madsen [16] [$2,050]; 10. 49-Brad Sweet [21] [$2,000]; 11. 10H-Chad Kemenah [19] [$1,500]; 12. 11K-Kraig Kinser [23] [$1,200]; 13. W20-Greg Wilson [18] [$1,100]; 14. 13D-Danny Dietrich [15] [$1,050]; 15. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild [11] [$1,000]; 16. 49X-Tim Shaffer [20] [$900]; 17. 59H-Justin Henderson [22] [$800]; 18. 17-Joey Saldana [13] [$800]; 19. 13JT-Mark Dobmeier [12] [$800]; 20. 41-Jason Johnson [8] [$800]; 21. 1A-Jacob Allen [25] [$]; 22. 13-Clyde Knipp [26] [$]; 23. 7S-Jason Sides [6] [$800]; 24. 24R-Rico Abreu [7] [$800]; 25. 1-Dale Blaney [9] [$800]; 26. 4-Paul McMahan [24] [$800]; Lap Leaders: Lucas Wolfe 1-4, David Gravel 5-28, Donny Schatz 29-30; KSE Hard Charger Award: 15-Donny Schatz[+16]

Qualifying - 1. 21-Brian Brown, 13.006; 2. 5W-Lucas Wolfe, 13.014; 3. 7S-Jason Sides, 13.051; 4. 24R-Rico Abreu, 13.097; 5. 9-Daryn Pittman, 13.097; 6. 5-David Gravel, 13.125; 7. 41-Jason Johnson, 13.132; 8. 2M-Kerry Madsen, 13.134; 9. 1-Dale Blaney, 13.162; 10. 2-Shane Stewart, 13.175; 11. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild, 13.209; 12. 18-Ian Madsen, 13.210; 13. 17-Joey Saldana, 13.211; 14. W20-Greg Wilson, 13.223; 15. 13D-Danny Dietrich, 13.244; 16. 13JT-Mark Dobmeier, 13.248; 17. 15-Donny Schatz, 13.254; 18. 59H-Justin Henderson, 13.265; 19. 49-Brad Sweet, 13.283; 20. 4-Paul McMahan, 13.303; 21. 14-Christopher Bell, 13.303; 22. 1S-Logan Schuchart, 13.314; 23. 10H-Chad Kemenah, 13.328; 24. 13-Clyde Knipp, 13.350; 25. 19-Brent Marks, 13.360; 26. 27-Greg Hodnett, 13.440; 27. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 13.468; 28. 49X-Tim Shaffer, 13.484; 29. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 13.519; 30. 24-Terry McCarl, 13.527; 31. 1A-Jacob Allen, 13.539; 32. 2X-Parker Price-Miller, 13.572; 33. 17X-Caleb Helms, 13.608; 34. 7W-Tasker Phillips, 13.716; 35. O7-Jacob Wilson, 13.903; 36. 59S-Ben Schmidt, nt

Heat 1 - (8 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the feature) - 1. 21-Brian Brown [1] ; 2. 9-Daryn Pittman [2] ; 3. 1-Dale Blaney [3] ; 4. 17-Joey Saldana [4] ; 5. 15-Donny Schatz [5] ; 6. 14-Christopher Bell [6] ; 7. 19-Brent Marks [7] ; 8. 17X-Caleb Helms [9] ; 9. 87-Aaron Reutzel [8]

Heat 2 - (8 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the feature) - 1. 5W-Lucas Wolfe [1] ; 2. 5-David Gravel [2] ; 3. 1S-Logan Schuchart [6] ; 4. 2-Shane Stewart [3] ; 5. W20-Greg Wilson [4]; 6. 27-Greg Hodnett [7] ; 7. 59H-Justin Henderson [5] ; 8. 24-Terry McCarl [8]; 9. 7W-Tasker Phillips [9]

Heat 3 - (8 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the feature) - 1. 7S-Jason Sides [1] ; 2. 41-Jason Johnson [2] ; 3. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild [3] ; 4. 13D-Danny Dietrich [4] ; 5. 10H-Chad Kemenah [6] ; 6. 49-Brad Sweet [5] ; 7. 11K-Kraig Kinser [7] ; 8. 1A-Jacob Allen [8] ; 9. O7-Jacob Wilson [9]

Heat 4 - (8 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the feature) - 1. 2M-Kerry Madsen [2] ; 2. 24R-Rico Abreu [1] ; 3. 13JT-Mark Dobmeier [4] ; 4. 18-Ian Madsen [3] ; 5. 49X-Tim Shaffer [7] ; 6. 4-Paul McMahan [5] ; 7. 2X-Parker Price-Miller [8] ; 8. 13-Clyde Knipp [6] ; 9. 59S-Ben Schmidt [9]

Craftsman Club® Dash - (6 Laps, finishing order determined first 8 starting positions of feature) - 1. 21-Brian Brown [1] ; 2. 5W-Lucas Wolfe [2] ; 3. 2M-Kerry Madsen [4] ; 4. 5-David Gravel [6] ; 5. 9-Daryn Pittman [5] ; 6. 7S-Jason Sides [3] ; 7. 24R-Rico Abreu [8] ; 8. 41-Jason Johnson [7]

Last Chance Showdown - (12 Laps - Top 4 finishers transfer to the feature) - 1. 49-Brad Sweet [2] [-]; 2. 59H-Justin Henderson [1] [-]; 3. 11K-Kraig Kinser [8] [-]; 4. 4-Paul McMahan [3] [-]; 5. 19-Brent Marks [6] [$300]; 6. 14-Christopher Bell [4] [$250]; 7. 27-Greg Hodnett [7] [$225]; 8. 24-Terry McCarl [10] [$200]; 9. 17X-Caleb Helms [13] [$200]; 10. 7W-Tasker Phillips [14] [$200]; 11. 59S-Ben Schmidt [16] [$200]; 12. 13-Clyde Knipp [5] [$200]; 13. 87-Aaron Reutzel [9] [$200]; 14. O7-Jacob Wilson [15] [$200]; 15. 1A-Jacob Allen [11] [$200]; 16. 2X-Parker Price-Miller [12] [$200]

King Krup: Illinois Native Earns First Career Gator

BARBERVILLE, FL - February 20, 2017 - Will Krup was the man of the hour as he found a way to Victory Lane despite the strong field of UMP Modified contenders who were hungry for sweet victory during the second Gator Championship qualifying race during the 46th DIRTcar Nationals Sunday night. During the 20-lap feature, the top-five positions were juggled between Krup, polesitter Derek Fisher, Jacob Hawkins, Brian Ruhlman, Jeff Leka and Kenny Wallace.

Krup raced from third to take the lead late in the race and earn his first win of the 2017 DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park. The victory was the second of the day for the Elite Chassis team after Krup's teammate, Nick Hoffman, won the first qualifying race of the day.

"I've got this car going really good," said Krup "Nick [Hoffman] he's got his car going and he's going to be a tough competitor to go against. We'll have to see what happens [tomorrow]."

Wallace battled fought his way from the ninth starting spot to finish third. He was outdone as the hard charger of the evening as Todd Neiheiser passed 19 cars on route from 26th to seventh.

"I'm really happy," said Wallace. "We started ninth. The bottom was slimy and I think I was the first one to find the middle."

"The thing about dirt racing is you can't ever slow up because you know people are coming behind you. You're just looking to fill every hole. You just have to keep digging. I'm happy with a third."

Hawkins, of Fairmont, WV, earned the runner-up spot after starting fourth. It added to his strong week, that includes a win on Tuesday night.

"The car was good," Hawkins said. "The 98 [of Fisher] and the 9 [of Krup] were battling hard middle to bottom, so I figured [the top] was my only shot to make my own lane. We fought hard. Congratulations to Will Krup, he deserves it."

Prior to Krup's A-Main triumph, Ruhlman set quick time in group time trials with a lap of 18.121 seconds, the fastest qualifying time of the week.

Krup, Hawkins, Fisher of Olympia, Ky, and Jeff Leka of Buffalo, Ill., earned heat race victories. All drivers qualified for the main event.

The top ten finishers of the feature will be in the running for the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds event at Volusia Speedway Park on Monday for their biggest race of the week, the 30-lap and $5,000-to-win Gator Championship along with a 30-lap main event for the DIRTcar Late Models.

46th Annual DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park
DIRTcar UMP Modified Notebook - February 19, 2017

A-Main - (20 Laps) (Top 10 will head to Gator Championship)-- 1. K9- Will Krup, [3]; 2. 13- Jacob Hawkins, [4]; 3. 36- Kenny Wallace, [9]; 4. 49- Brian Ruhlman, [5]; 5. 98F- Derek Fisher, [1]; 6. 9-Ken Schrader, [8]; 7. 72- Todd Neiheiser, [26]; 8. 28BX- Robert Garnes, [12]; 9. 3L- Jeff Leka, [2]; 10. 10Y- Trent Young, [11]; 11. 8A- Austin Holcombe, [19]; 12. 64JR- Billy Workman Jr., [14]; 13. 65- Josh Rice, [29]. 14. 4- Mike Learman, [16]; 15. 17T- Tyler Evans, [21]; 16. 71T- Brent Thompson, [10]. 17. 1- Blake Spalding, [13]; 18. 07- Jeff Thomas, [17]; 19. 11N- Gene Nicholas, [25]; 20. 69- A.J. Fike, [27]; 21. 01- Jared Spalding, [20]; 22. 15- Hunter Gustafson, [18]; 23. 67- Garrett Stewart, [15]. 24. 9G- Ernie Gingerich, [28]; 25. 71M- Shayne Meadows, [22]. 26. 12K- Scotty Kincaid, [6]; 27. 00- Will Norris, [23]; 28. 71- Jessie Hoskins, [24]; 29. 7- Justin Allgaier, [7]

Qualifying Group 1 - 1. 49-Brian Ruhlman, 18.121; 2. 36-Kenny Wallace, 18.229; 3. 13-Jacob Hawkins, 18.241; 4. 65-Josh Rice,18.904; 5. 11N-Gene Nicholas, 19.010; 6. 1-Blake Spalding,19.189; 7. 17T-Tyler Evans,19.216; 8. 07-Jeff Thomas,19.273.

Qualifying Group 2 - 1. 72-Todd Neiheiser, 18.668; 2. 3L-Jeff Leka,18.766; 3. K12-Scotty Kincaid, 19.188; 4. 64JR-Billy Workman Jr., 19.229; 5. 71T-Brent Thompson, 19.490; 6. 15-Hunter Gustafson,19.655; 7. 71M-Shayne Meadows,19.756.

Qualifying Group 3 - 1. 7-Justin Allgaier, 18.578; 2. 10Y-Trent Young, 18.799; 3. 98F-Derek Fisher,19.044; 4. 67-Garrett Stewart, 19.126; 5. 69-AJ Fike,19.281; 6. 8A-Austin Holcombe, 19.322; 7. 00-Will Norris, 19.912.

Qualifying Group 4 - 1. K9-Will Krup, 18.548; 2. 9-Ken Schrader, 19.020; 3. 29BX-Robert Garnes, 19.175; 4. 4-Mike Learman,19.219; 5. 01-Jared Spalding,19.469; 6. 71-Jessie Hoskins, 20.457; 7. 9G-Ernie Gingerich, No Time.

Heat 1 (8 Laps) - 1. 13-Jacob Hawkins, [2]; 2. 49-Brian Ruhlman, [4]; 3. 36-Kenny Wallace, [3]; 4. 1-Blake Spalding, [6]; 5. 07-Jeff Thomas, [8]; 6. 17T-Tyler Evans, [7]; 7. 11N-Gene Nicholas [5]; 8. 65-Josh Rice, [1]

Heat 2 (8 Laps)- 1. 3L-Jeff Leka, [3];2. K12-Scotty Kincaid, [2]; 3. 71T-Brent Thompson, [5]; 4. 64JR-Billy Workman Jr., [1]; 5. 15-Hunter Gustafson, [6]; 6. 71M-Shayne Meadows, [7]; 7. 72-Todd Neiheiser, [4]

Heat 3 (8 Laps) - 1. 1. 98F-Derek Fisher, [2]; 2. 7-Justin Allgaier, [4]; 3. 10Y-Trent Young, [3]; 4. 67-Garrett Stewart, [1]; 5. 8A-Austin Holcombe, [6]; 6. 00-Will Norris, [7]; 7. 69-AJ Fike, [5]

Heat 4 (8 Laps - Top 3 finishers transfer to A-Feature, Winner Redraws) - 1. K9-Will Krup, [4]; 2. 9-Ken Schrader, [3]; 3. 29BX-Robert Garnes, [2]; 4. 4-Mike Learman, [1]; 5. 01-Jared Spalding, [5]; 6. 71-Jessie Hoskins, [6]; 7. 9G-Ernie Gingerich [DNS].

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