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  1. Friesen cuts through the field to win Super DIRTcar debut at Bristol - Friesen, Williamson, and Dippel take Bristol Showdown podium after intense 40-lap Feature at Bristol Motor Speedway BRISTOL, TN - Stewart Friesen added to his list of Hall of Fame-worthy accomplishments Friday night at Bristol Motor Speedway, winning the Super DIRTcar Series’ debut at “The Last Great Colosseum.” GT Smith photo He did so in a gladiator fashion worthy of the iconic sword he was awarded after piloting his Halmar Racing #44 chariot from eighth to the lead in the 40-lap World of Outlaws Bristol Throwdown Feature. “This is a huge stage to get a win on in our Northeast Modifieds and I appreciate everyone inviting us here,” Friesen said. “Our cars put on excellent racing like they do at Charlotte and Volusia. It was really cool for us and to get the first win here is really special.” Friesen was fastest overall in Time Trials and took the Billy Whittaker Cars Fast-Time Award by running a 16.574 sec. lap. That time was nearly a second faster than the Quick Time set during Thursday’s practice session. He then won his Heat Race, but drew the eight in the redraw – a fate of luck he initially thought killed his chance at a win. From there, he passed seven cars on his way to claim his now coveted World of Outlaws Bristol Showdown sword. “I found the top side pretty early,” Friesen noted. “I thought pulling eighth in the redraw was going to be the kiss of death with the way the Heat Races went. The track crew did a great job working the outside. I started thinking about the top when Tyler Courtney in the Sprint Car’s Last Chance Showdown was on the outside making some hay. I knew it was there but it just needed to be cleaned up. We raced all around the track for the first few laps and when my tires came in, away we went.” Bristol Motor Speedway can be intimidating to some drivers, but Friesen has been circulating the Bristol highbanks more than anyone else over the last month. He raced in both the NASCAR Cup Series race on dirt as well as the Camping World Truck Series race. For the Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON native, the initial shock and awe has worn down and he could approach the race like any other. “The NASCAR experience on the dirt here helped,” Friesen noted. “Not with the setups though. I got a lot of help from some of the late model guys. That paid off. We did a lot of homework.” With the fast-time award, a Heat Race win, and a racy Feature victory, Friesen looks tough to beat at Bristol. Mike Mahaney, from King Ferry, NY, started the race in the top spot after redrawing first place and collecting a special bonus from SRI Performance. He built a huge lead in the early going before cautions allowed Friesen a few opportunities to pass cars and get up to the rear bumper of the #35. After the #44 went by him, Mahaney held tight to second place until Keith Flach slowed in front of the leaders on the backstretch and bottled Mahaney up. Three cars got around him but he was able to hold on for fifth after dominating the early stages. Tyler Dippel picked up a career-best second-place finish with the Super DIRTcar Series. His #1D Teo Pro Car stayed up front all race after rolling off from third. At the initial start of the 40-lap Feature, Dippel won the drag race with defending Series champion Mat Williamson, from St. Catharines, ON to grab second. After that, the only car to pass him was Friesen on his way to the win. “Once Friesen went around and showed us the top would work I started searching around,” said runner-up Dippel. “The crazy part to me was working through the dirty air. When you got up on someone close you had to have the left or right front sticking out to get the nose in the air. I’ve never felt that in a dirt car besides the Syracuse Mile. “The speed sensation is unbelievable. The G-forces really suck you down into the seat. It was fun. I had a blast out there.” The final podium step was filled by Mat Williamson, driver of the #88 Buzz Chew Racing machine. Williamson and his team worked hard to squeeze a few more tenths of a second out of his Bicknell Racing chassis and Billy the Kid engine. We spent last night testing some things and trying to get better but tonight is the best we’ve gotten it,” Williamson said. “You’re going so fast I didn’t expect the race track to race as well as it did. When Friesen went around me on the top I had fully expected there to be no one up there.” While some drivers wanted to draw comparisons, like Lebanon Valley Speedway in respect to its speed or Cornwall Motor Speedway in respect to its banking, it’s clear Bristol is unlike any other track. “It’s a whole different ball game down here,” Williamson noted. “It was a good thing that no one had a hometrack advantage because it had us all figure it out together.” Williamson has won some huge races in front of some big crowds but Bristol is incomparable. “I’m happy and I hope it was a good show for the fans,” he said. “It’s really cool for the modifieds to get an opportunity like this. The Feature was hotly contested from the top to the bottom of the field. Erick Rudolph, from Ransomville, NY, took his #25R up 15 positions to claim the night’s hard charger award. He finished in the eighth position after 40 laps and 20 miles of racing. The legendary “Franklyn Flyer” Billy Decker in the #91 Gypsum Racing Big Block had a difficult start to the night as he spun on the first lap of his Heat Race and was collected by Chad Phelps in the #X car. He was forced to take provisional but passed 15 cars himself to finish twelfth. Tim Sears Jr., in the #83X, has backed up his great finish at Can-Am Speedway with a fourth-place finish on the Bristol high banks. It’s going to get tough for Sears to sneak up on the Series stars because now they know that yellow #83X is coming for the front. Mike Mahaney, from King Ferry, NY, started the race in the top spot after redrawing first place and collecting a special bonus from SRI Performance. He built a huge lead in the early going before cautions allowed Friesen a few opportunities to pass cars and get up to the rear bumper of the #35. After the #44 went by him, Mahaney held tight to second place until Keith Flach slowed in front of the leaders on the backstretch and bottled Mahaney up. Three cars got around him but he was able to hold on for fifth. Race fans can catch the Super DIRTcar Series again tomorrow at the World of Outlaws Bristol Throwdown finale. It’s a 40-lap, $10,000-to-win Feature, which also pays $1,000-to-start. Get your tickets at BristolMotorSpeedway.com or tune in live on DIRTVision. Feature (40 Laps) 1. 44-Stewart Friesen [8][$10,000]; 2. 1D-Tyler Dippel [4][$5,000]; 3. 88-Mat Williamson [2][$2,500]; 4. 83JR-Tim Sears [6][$1,800]; 5. 35-Mike Mahaney [1][$1,600]; 6. 84-Gary Tomkins [5][$1,400]; 7. 3B-Chad Brachmann [3][$1,300]; 8. 25-Erick Rudolph [23][$1,200]; 9. 21A-Peter Britten [7][$1,100]; 10. 32C-Max McLaughlin [15][$1,000]; 11. 9S-Matt Sheppard [14][$900]; 12. 91-Billy Decker [27][$800]; 13. 99L-Larry Wight [21][$700]; 14. 42P-Pat Ward [10][$650]; 15. 5H-Chris Hile [26][$600]; 16. 2-Jack Lehner [9][$600]; 17. 2A-Mike Gular [12][$600]; 18. 14W-Ryan Watt [11][$600]; 19. 98H-Jimmy Phelps [18][$600]; 20. 83-Brian Swartzlander [22][$600]; 21. 28-Jordan McCreadie [24][$600]; 22. 3-Justin Haers [25][$600]; 23. 19M-Jessey Mueller [13][$600]; 24. 20-Brett Hearn [20][$600]; 25. 111-Demetrios Drellos [19][$600]; 26. 22-Brandon Walters [30][$]; 27. 17D-Marcus Dinkins [28][$600]; 28. 4R-Kevin Root [29][$]; 29. 3J-Marc Johnson [16][$600]; 30. 43F-Keith Flach [17][$600]
  2. David Gravel is Flawless in World of Outlaws Return to Bristol Motor Speedway - Gravel Set New Track Record, Won His Heat, His Dash, and Friday's 25-Lap Feature BRISTOL, TN - April 23, 2021 - A perfect night is hard to come by against the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series. It's even harder to come by at the daunting high-banked 1/2-mile of Bristol Motor Speedway. Don't tell that to David Gravel, though. The Watertown, CT native paved his path to victory lane with a trail of downright domination on Friday night. His Big Game Motorsports #2 was simply unstoppable from the time the trailer unloaded. Harnessing 20 years of pent up energy, Gravel made sure he was the first, and biggest, storyline leaving Thunder Valley in the Series' first race since 2001. It all started with his new track record. At 13.672 seconds, Gravel clocked an average speed of 138.502 MPH; officially making him the fastest driver to ever turn laps on the dirt-covered Bristol Motor Speedway. From there, he won his Heat Race, won the Dash, and ran away with a $10,000 Feature victory, the 60th of his World of Outlaws career. With his winning sword in hand, the newest gladiator of The Last Great Colosseum reflected on how special this opportunity is to race on a stage and venue like Bristol. "This is so cool," Gravel said in awe of a massive crowd. "This is just such an iconic place that everyone always talks about. I can't thank Bristol Motor Speedway and the World of Outlaws enough for making this event happen. I hope we get to finish out this weekend and go after that $25,000 check." A noted ace on bigger, faster tracks, Gravel's clean sweep of the night at Bristol equals him with Donny Schatz for the most wins (9) on 1/2-mile ovals since the beginning of 2019. His unbeatable performance on Friday marked the first perfect night of the 2021 World of Outlaws season. "This thing has been incredible ever since we unloaded yesterday," Gravel bragged on his Big Game Motorsports crew. "After the Heat and Dash, I told them not to change a damn thing. I just ripped down five qualifying laps there at the end to try and hold off Reutzel." Not just the physical size, but the stature that Bristol brings can offer true season-changing momentum. Gravel has felt his early-season resume has been lackluster at best with two wins in 14 races, but with a Bristol beatdown in his bank, he feels more and more confident heading into the crucial summer months. "I really think we'll kick ass at big tracks all year long," Gravel noted with a grin. "This schedule is so unique because we're going to a super short track on Thursday and then we're back at a big track on the weekend. You have to be good everywhere with the Outlaws. This engine program is super stout and this team is really hitting our stride." Gravel's closest contender came in the form of KSE Hard Charger Aaron Reutzel, who battled back from a pair of engine changes to roar from ninth-to-second and compete for the win in his Roth Motorsports #83. The Clute, TX native rolled by Sam Hafertepe Jr. on Lap 18 and was cutting into Gravel's lead lap-after-lap with the aid of back markers. By Lap 20, the gap was only five-tenths of a second and Reutzel was poised to give Gravel some heat in the closing circuits. However, a caution for Logan Schuchart changed it all. With Gravel removed from traffic and given the benefit of clean air, his Big Game #2 proved to be too stout. Reutzel hung close with him for the first lap, but the raw speed of Gravel's Morrison Racing Engines powered Maxim Chassis was too much to handle. When the checkered flew on Lap 25, a dejected Aaron Reutzel crossed the line 1.871-seconds short of Gravel's tail tank. "That caution killed every ounce of momentum I had," Reutzel explained post-race. "We went from ninth-to-second, we were flying through there and he couldn't pass the lap cars. That restart gave him clean track and he was gone, though. He was the fastest car all night until lap traffic, and then I thought we were the car to beat. You have to be good to win these races, but you also have to be lucky." Rounding out the podium aboard the Jason Johnson Racing #41 was Carson Macedo, who was surprised, but pleased with track conditions. "I was just searching for too long in the beginning," Macedo explained. "I thought the bottom would be dominant, but Aaron found the top and I realized where I needed to be. I think it got a lot more racey there at the end. I can't say enough about how cool this event is. A dream come true for me to be on the podium at Bristol." Following Gravel, Reutzel, and Macedo on night one of the Bristol Throwdown was Sam Hafertepe Jr. of Sunnyvale, TX, who actually led the opening two laps before Gravel went storming by. Closing out the top five was Donny Schatz aboard the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing, Ford Performance #15. The rest of Friday's top ten finishers were NASCAR sensation Kyle Larson in sixth, Gio Scelzi aboard the KCP Racing #18 in seventh, championship leader Brad Sweet in eighth with the Kasey Kahne Racing #49, Paul McMahan in ninth making his season-debut, and rookie contender Brock Zearfoss in the tenth spot. UP NEXT - The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series will wrap up the Bristol Throwdown on Saturday, April 24 with a $25,000-to-win main event. Officials are bound and determined to complete the event on Saturday night, but a Sunday rain date could be used at Bristol Motor Speedway if absolutely necessary. NOS Energy Drink Feature (25 Laps) – 1. 2-David Gravel [1][$10,000]; 2. 83-Aaron Reutzel [9][$6,000]; 3. 41-Carson Macedo [6][$3,500]; 4. 15H-Sam Hafertepe [2][$2,800]; 5. 15-Donny Schatz [3][$2,500]; 6. 57-Kyle Larson [12][$2,300]; 7. 18-Giovanni Scelzi [5][$2,200]; 8. 49-Brad Sweet [8][$2,100]; 9. 23-Paul McMahan [4][$2,050]; 10. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [16][$2,000]; 11. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [10][$1,600]; 12. 71-Spencer Bayston [7][$1,400]; 13. 9-James McFadden [20][$1,200]; 14. 11K-Kraig Kinser [18][$1,100]; 15. 26-Cory Eliason [21][$1,050]; 16. 7BC-Tyler Courtney [23][$1,000]; 17. 72-Tim Shaffer [11][$1,000]; 18. 20-Ryan Taylor [17][$1,000]; 19. 9JR-Derek Hagar [24][$1,000]; 20. 1S-Logan Schuchart [15][$1,000]; 21. 2C-Wayne Johnson [13][$1,000]; 22. 22-Jac Haudenschild [22][$1,000]; 23. 19-Parker Price-Miller [14][$1,000]; 24. 24-Rico Abreu [19][$1,000]. Lap Leader(s):Hafertepe 1-2; Gravel 3-25. KSE Hard Charger Award: 83-Aaron Reutzel[+7] NEW Championship Standings (14/83 Races) - 1. Brad Sweet (2,014); 2. David Gravel (-82); 3. Sheldon Haudenschild (-98); 4. Carson Macedo (-100); 5. Aaron Reutzel (-122); 6. Logan Schuchart (-134); 7. Donny Schatz (-178); 8. Kraig Kinser (-246); 9. Brock Zearfoss (-322); 10. Jason Sides (-392).
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