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Empire State Challenge Weekend
Weedsport Speedway | Weedsport, New York
Sunday, July 30, 2023
Race Recap  

EMPIRE STATE STATEMENT: David Gravel Rolls to Commanding Weedsport Victory, Big Payday

Winning a World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car championship requires facing adversity. No matter how strong a driver and team are, challenges promise to present themselves throughout the grind of the tour. And that’s exactly what David Gravel encountered Sunday night at Weedsport Speedway.

Small mistakes that could’ve derailed his night arose during the Empire State Challenge but Gravel didn’t waver. First, a Heat Race issue that led to mechanical problems didn’t stop Gravel from transferring to the Dash. Then in the Feature, contact with the wall upset the handling of his Big Game Motorsports #2, but he didn’t let that stop him from rolling to a commanding victory and $20,000.

Gravel took the top spot on lap four from early leader Danny Varin, sliced his way through traffic, and survived multiple restarts on his journey to Victory Lane.

“Danny Varin was good there early, and that caution came out and kind of saved me a little bit,” Gravel said. “I had to get the wing back some then I was searching and went to the top of (Turns) 1 and 2 and smoked the wall and knocked the ladder off of it. That didn’t help the handling too much, made the car a little worse. I felt like as long as I was running the line I was doing in (Turns) 1 and 2 I didn’t think he’d be able to pass me or get a big run. Then you just run into (Turn) 3 as hard as you can and try to backpedal. The cushion got really far around there, and I started shortening the exit. I think that worked out pretty good.

“Cody (Jacobs), Scott (Vogelsong), and Zach (Patterson) worked really hard tonight,” Gravel said. “I cleaned the front end off the thing in the Heat Race and knocked the radiator out of it, so they worked hard all night and fixed a lot of broken parts and I broke some more there. That’s probably the most stuff I’ve torn up in a night, but we won so the 20 grand will make up for it.”

The win marked many notable milestones for Gravel. First, his 86th career World of Outlaws win broke a tie with Brad Sweet on the all-time win list and moved him into a tie with Daryn Pittman for ninth. It was his 10th of the year, marking the fourth time he’s reached double digit victories during a single season. He’s also now at three Weedsport wins, which equals him with Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz for the most at the “Empire State” oval.

The path to victory for Gravel began from inside row two where he lined up after finishing third in the Toyota Racing Dash. When the green flag dropped, Gravel had already nosed ahead of second-starting Brad Sweet for the runner-up spot by the time they exited Turn 2.

On the next lap, Gravel rolled the bottom to pull alongside Danny Varin as they completed the second circuit. The duo battled wheel to wheel for the entire next lap and were again side by side as they completed lap three. But when they roared down the back straightaway, Gravel was able to pull ahead and secure the lead on the fourth lap.

From there, Gravel took no prisoners as he immediately began to extend his advantage. The Watertown, CT native powered ahead as a battle erupted for second. Varin quickly had Carson Macedo, Sheldon Haudenschild, and Donny Schatz all breathing down his neck. After several laps of trading spots, Macedo emerged with second and Haudenschild came along with him into third.

Once he got the lead, David Gravel was strong out in front all night on his way to victory at Weedsport Speedway (Trent Gower Photo)

A wild restart on Lap 19 saw several frontrunners have their race threatened as Schatz made contact with Haudenschild, sending Schatz spinning up the track and collecting Gio Scelzi, Brock Zearfoss, and James McFadden. Only Schatz and McFadden required trips to the Federated Car Care Work Zone. Schatz was able to rejoin the field.

Another moment late in the race impacted a top competitor as Haudenschild made contact with the wall and slowed with oil leaking from his machine and ending his night.

These incidents helped pave the path for Gravel as he continued to ace every restart and work his way through traffic, determined to make up for the early error and contact with the wall. Gravel held off Macedo and a hard charging Dave Blaney to claim the win and up his points lead to eight markers over Brad Sweet.

“Obviously Brad started on the front row, and he’s going to be hard to beat, but he obviously missed it tonight,” Gravel said. “You don’t want to see Sheldon drop out of the race or Donny. Those guys seem to be pretty good too. But it is what it is. All we can do is control what we can control and try to win races and run up front, and that’s what we’ve been doing… It feels good. It’s been a fun year. We’ve been hitting our stride for most of the season, and let’s keep it rolling.”

Carson Macedo held on for second aboard the Jason Johnson Racing #41. The Lemoore, CA native moved up to 14 podiums for the 2023 World of Outlaws season as he stays within striking distance of Gravel and Sweet in the title chase. Macedo felt that clean air was vital and that he might’ve been able to get the win had he had the opportunity to get up front.

“I think being out in front there in that scenario with the line we’re running, I think that clean air is much better,” Macedo noted. “It seems like you can get across the center and get going good again. I kind of had to try to enter off his right rear (tire), and I felt like I was in his wash and I’d get to spinning real bad. It would get me to the fence sooner, but I felt like catching the grip and trying to get through it was better. The couple times that I tried to enter like he was real low and get across I just didn’t feel very good. My car was phenomenal in the Feature. I think we started sixth. Philip Dietz, Clyde Knipp, Nate Repetz, they hit it on the head tonight.”

Rounding out the top three was the feel-good story of the night in the form of Dave Blaney. Making his 2023 World of Outlaws season debut, “The Buckeye Bullet” charged from 12th to third for his 335th career Series podium and first since his win at Sharon Speedway in 2021.

“It was good,” Blaney said of his night. “This is kind of our kind of track – slick and slow, and our car is pretty good at that. I didn’t expect to get that far from 12th, but the car was good. No issues. Fun race. It’s just so fun to race with the whole crowd here. When you can race with them the whole race, that’s fun.”

Brad Sweet and Giovanni Scelzi completed the top five.

Dale Blaney advanced from 20th to ninth to collect the KSE Racing Hard Charger Award.

Simpson Performance Products QuickTime honors went to Carson Macedo for the 13th time in 2023 and the 32nd time of his career.

CASE No.1 Engine Oil Heat One was picked up by Sheldon Haudenschild (93rd Heat Race win of career). NOS Energy Drink Heats Two through Four went to Brad Sweet (228th of career), Donny Schatz (518th of career), and Gio Scelzi (32nd of career).

Spencer Bayston topped the Micro-Lite Last Chance Showdown.

The Smith Titanium Brake Systems “Break of the Race” went to Danny Varin. After leading early, an issue on Lap 18 slowed him and wound up in a 23rd place finish.

UP NEXT: The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars head to Pevely, MO’s Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 for the Ironman 55 (August 4-5). For tickets, CLICK HERE.

If you can’t make it to the track, catch all of the action on DIRTVision.


NOS Energy Drink Feature (35 Laps): 1. 2-David Gravel[3]; 2. 41-Carson Macedo[6]; 3. 10-Dave Blaney[12]; 4. 49-Brad Sweet[2]; 5. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[7]; 6. 1S-Logan Schuchart[13]; 7. 10C-Larry Wight[15]; 8. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss[4]; 9. 32B-Dale Blaney[20]; 10. 15-Donny Schatz[5]; 11. 20G-Noah Gass[11]; 12. 1A-Jacob Allen[10]; 13. 98-Joe Trenca[17]; 14. 23-Max McLaughlin[23]; 15. 5-Spencer Bayston[21]; 16. 7NY-Matt Farnham[19]; 17. 7S-Robbie Price[16]; 18. 53-Shawn Donath[22]; 19. (DNF) 17-Sheldon Haudenschild[8]; 20. (DNF) 1M-Landon Myers[14]; 21. (DNF) 11-Cory Turner[24]; 22. (DNF) 83-James McFadden[9]; 23. (DNF) 01-Danny Varin[1]; 24. (DNF) 88C-Chad Miller[18]

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Feature Results
13+22David Gravel 350.00034Running150$20,000
26+441Carson Macedo 35-1.911Running146$10,000
312+910Dave Blaney 35-2.668Running144$5,000
42-249Brad Sweet 35-4.409Running142$4,500
57+218Giovanni Scelzi 35-4.881Running140$4,000
613+71SLogan Schuchart 35-5.795Running138$3,500
715+810CLarry Wight 35-6.791Running136$3,000
84-43ZBrock Zearfoss 35-7.221Running134$2,750
920+1132BDale Blaney 35-8.850Running132$2,500
105-515Donny Schatz 35-10.092Running130$2,250
1111020GNoah Gass 35-11.272Running128$2,000
1210-21AJacob Allen 35-12.199Running126$1,900
1317+498Joe Trenca 35-14.149Running124$1,800
1423+923Max McLaughlin 35-15.174Running122$1,750
1521+65Spencer Bayston 35-16.353Running120$1,700
1619+37NYMatt Farnham 33-2 LapsRunning118$1,650
1716-17SRobbie Price 33-2 LapsRunning116$1,600
1822+453Shawn Donath 33-2 LapsRunning114$1,500
198-1117Sheldon Haudenschild 24-11 LapsDNF112$1,500
2014-61MLandon Myers 23-12 LapsDNF110$1,500
2124+311Cory Turner 22-13 LapsDNF108$1,500
229-1383James McFadden 18-17 LapsDNF106$1,500
231-2201Danny Varin 18-17 Laps1DNF104$1,500
2418-688CChad Miller 4-31 LapsDNF102$1,500
KSE Hard Charger: Dale Blaney
Last Chance Showdown Results
12+15Spencer Bayston 120.00012Running0$0
25+353Shawn Donath 12-2.843Running0$0
34+123Max McLaughlin 12-4.768Running0$0
46+211Cory Turner 12-6.714Running0$0
58+336Logan Crisafulli 12-7.489Running90$300
611+56Bill Rose 12-8.422Running90$250
712+53Denny Peebles 12-8.703Running90$225
810+266Jordan Hutton 12-10.129Running90$200
913+44PChase Moran 12-12.003Running90$200
1014+422Tomy Moreau 12-12.226Running90$200
119-22XDave Axton 9-3 LapsDNF90$200
121-115DJacob Dykstra 6-6 LapsDNF90$200
133-1079Jordan Thomas 6-6 LapsDNF90$200
147-733Derek Hauck 3-9 LapsDNF90$200
Dash 1 Results
11001Danny Varin 60.0006Running0$0
22049Brad Sweet 6-0.579Running0$0
34+12David Gravel 6-1.296Running0$0
43-13ZBrock Zearfoss 6-3.724Running0$0
55015Donny Schatz 6-3.869Running0$0
67+141Carson Macedo 6-4.449Running0$0
76-118Giovanni Scelzi 6-4.968Running0$0
88017Sheldon Haudenschild 6-5.942Running0$0
Heat 1 Results
Pos.Start+/-#DriverLaps CompletedBehindLaps LedStatus
13+217Sheldon Haudenschild 80.0002Running
21-141Carson Macedo 8-0.8096Running
32-183James McFadden 8-3.457Running
46+21SLogan Schuchart 8-4.596Running
54-198Joe Trenca 8-8.120Running
68+279Jordan Thomas 8-8.784Running
75-25DJacob Dykstra 8-10.573Running
87-12XDave Axton 8-11.830Running
9904PChase Moran 8-14.378Running
Heat 2 Results
Pos.Start+/-#DriverLaps CompletedBehindLaps LedStatus
12+149Brad Sweet 80.0008Running
21-12David Gravel 8-2.075Running
3301AJacob Allen 8-3.585Running
4401MLandon Myers 8-4.910Running
55088CChad Miller 8-9.307Running
67+123Max McLaughlin 8-10.189Running
76-111Cory Turner 8-11.428Running
88066Jordan Hutton 8-13.140Running
99022Tomy Moreau 8-14.426Running
Heat 3 Results
Pos.Start+/-#DriverLaps CompletedBehindLaps LedStatus
12+115Donny Schatz 80.0008Running
21-101Danny Varin 8-1.211Running
33020GNoah Gass 8-4.274Running
46+210CLarry Wight 8-6.193Running
54-17NYMatt Farnham 8-6.725Running
65-15Spencer Bayston 8-6.895Running
77033Derek Hauck 8-10.810Running
8806Bill Rose 8-12.503Running
Heat 4 Results
Pos.Start+/-#DriverLaps CompletedBehindLaps LedStatus
11018Giovanni Scelzi 80.0008Running
2203ZBrock Zearfoss 8-0.457Running
34+110Dave Blaney 8-1.611Running
43-17SRobbie Price 8-3.496Running
57+232BDale Blaney 8-6.449Running
65-153Shawn Donath 8-7.622Running
76-136Logan Crisafulli 8-9.165Running
8803Denny Peebles 8-10.339Running
Qualifying Flight 1 Results
11241Carson Macedo Lemoore, CA13.4790.000
232David Gravel Watertown, CT13.683-0.204
3601Danny Varin Sharon Springs, NY13.765-0.286
4418Giovanni Scelzi Fresno, CA13.825-0.346
5983James McFadden Alice Springs, NT13.857-0.378
62949Brad Sweet Grass Valley, CA13.865-0.386
72015Donny Schatz Fargo, ND13.938-0.459
8153ZBrock Zearfoss Jonestown, PA13.999-0.520
92617Sheldon Haudenschild Wooster, OH14.056-0.577
10241AJacob Allen Hanover, PA14.116-0.637
11720GNoah Gass Mounds, OK14.125-0.646
12177SRobbie Price Cobble Hill, BC14.199-0.720
131698Joe Trenca Clay, NY14.226-0.747
14331MLandon Myers York, PA14.300-0.821
15317NYMatt Farnham Tonawanda, NY14.358-0.879
162710Dave Blaney High Point, NC14.415-0.936
17325DJacob Dykstra Port Colborne, ON14.443-0.964
181888CChad Miller Amsterdam, NY14.456-0.977
19195Spencer Bayston Lebanon, IN14.467-0.988
20853Shawn Donath South Onondaga, NY14.488-1.009
21301SLogan Schuchart Hanover, PA14.553-1.074
221111Cory Turner TILLSONBURG, ON14.610-1.131
232510CLarry Wight Fulton, NY14.687-1.208
242136Logan Crisafulli Oswego, NY14.688-1.209
25282XDave Axton Port Byron, NY14.696-1.217
26523Max McLaughlin , 14.767-1.288
271333Derek Hauck Allenwood, PA14.815-1.336
282332BDale Blaney Hartford, OH14.845-1.366
293479Jordan Thomas Harding, PA14.861-1.382
301066Jordan Hutton Hannibal, NY14.997-1.518
31146Bill Rose Plainfield, IN15.090-1.611
32223Denny Peebles Lowman, NY15.125-1.646
3314PChase Moran Fultonville, NY15.278-1.799
34222Tomy Moreau Sherbrooke, QC15.284-1.805
Hot Laps Results
132David Gravel Watertown, CT13.1410.000
2601Danny Varin Sharon Springs, NY13.233-0.092
32015Donny Schatz Fargo, ND13.466-0.325
42949Brad Sweet Grass Valley, CA13.583-0.442
5331MLandon Myers York, PA13.623-0.482
6418Giovanni Scelzi Fresno, CA13.667-0.526
7983James McFadden Alice Springs, NT13.685-0.544
81241Carson Macedo Lemoore, CA13.720-0.579
9720GNoah Gass Mounds, OK13.844-0.703
10317NYMatt Farnham Tonawanda, NY13.917-0.776
11177SRobbie Price Cobble Hill, BC13.929-0.788
122710Dave Blaney High Point, NC13.994-0.853
13195Spencer Bayston Lebanon, IN13.995-0.854
142617Sheldon Haudenschild Wooster, OH14.005-0.864
151111Cory Turner TILLSONBURG, ON14.043-0.902
16241AJacob Allen Hanover, PA14.123-0.982
17153ZBrock Zearfoss Jonestown, PA14.132-0.991
18853Shawn Donath South Onondaga, NY14.194-1.053
193479Jordan Thomas Harding, PA14.217-1.076
20325DJacob Dykstra Port Colborne, ON14.221-1.080
21146Bill Rose Plainfield, IN14.251-1.110
222332BDale Blaney Hartford, OH14.279-1.138
231698Joe Trenca Clay, NY14.302-1.161
24282XDave Axton Port Byron, NY14.392-1.251
251888CChad Miller Amsterdam, NY14.416-1.275
261333Derek Hauck Allenwood, PA14.465-1.324
272136Logan Crisafulli Oswego, NY14.527-1.386
282510CLarry Wight Fulton, NY14.527-1.386
29523Max McLaughlin , 14.552-1.411
301066Jordan Hutton Hannibal, NY14.627-1.486
3114PChase Moran Fultonville, NY14.801-1.660
32223Denny Peebles Lowman, NY14.976-1.835
33222Tomy Moreau Sherbrooke, QC15.040-1.899
34301SLogan Schuchart Hanover, PA15.040-1.899
DIRTVision Highlights  
Event Info  

Empire State Challenge Weekend
Sunday, July 30, 2023
Weedsport Speedway
1 Speedway Drive
Weedsport, New York 13166 

Event Description
New York's state-of-the-art Weedsport Speedway welcomes the World of Outlaws back to The Empire State for another two-day show on Saturday and Sunday.

Series Racing
World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series

To Win Amount

Event Schedule
3:00PM Pit Gates open
5:00PM Grandstand Gates open
6:30PM Hot Laps/Qualifying with Opening Ceremonies and Racing to Follow
*All times Eastern

Ticket Options  
Ticket Phone
(315) 834-3067

Options And Prices
2-Day Reserved: $75 / $80 Day of
2-Day Adult GA: $65 / $70 Day of
2-Day Child GA (12 & under): $20
Single Day Reserved: $40 / $45 Day of
Single Day GA: $35 / $40 Day of
Child GA 12 & under: $10


Grandstand Type

Reserved Seating
Top five rows of sections 1-15.

Family Section Location
Section 8 – no smoking, no alcohol, no foul language.

Handicapped Seating Location
Row A of most sections

Pit Pass Price
2-Day Member Pit Pass: $80 2-Day Non Member Pit Pass: $90 Single Day Member Pit Pass: $40 Single Day Non Member Pit Pass: $45

Pit Age Requirement
None. Parent or Guardian must complete minor waiver form.

Pit Gate Location
Towpath Road Weedsport NY 13166

Parking Cost
Free parking except concerts.

Handicapped Parking Location
Near Grand Entrance

Camping Availability
electric hookup, non-electric, onsite, sanitary facility, showers, waste services

Camping Cost
Determined by event see website for specific details

Frequently Asked Questions  
To Win Amount

Reserved Seating
Top five rows of sections 1-15.

Type of Grandstand

Stadium Seating
Seat cushions are permitted. Please note, the top five rows of each section have individually numbered, contoured resin seats and can not accommodate portable stadium seats with back support.

Handicapped Seating
Row A of most sections

Handicapped Parking
Near Grand Entrance

Pit Age Limit
None. Parent or Guardian must complete minor waiver form.

Pit Gate Location
Towpath Road Weedsport NY 13166

Personal Coolers
Yes, small 6″ x 6″ x 12″, personal, soft sided cooler that holds no more than 6 cans. No alcohol. No glass. Must be in original sealed containers.


Credit Card Use
Concessions, Office, Pit Gate, Ticket Window

Alcohol Sales
Beer and Wine can be purchased by spectators over the legal age of 21. No outside alcohol permitted.

Smoking Policy
No smoking in grandstands. Smoking is permitted in designated areas.

Family Section
Section 8 – no smoking, no alcohol, no foul language.

Parking Cost
Free parking except concerts.

Camping Availability
electric hookup, non-electric, onsite, sanitary facility, showers, waste services

Camping Cost
Determined by event see website for specific details

Track Info  

Weedsport Speedway
1 Speedway Drive
Weedsport, New York 13166 

Track Phone
(315) 834-3067

Ticket Phone
(315) 834-3067

Track Email
[email protected]

Track Size

Track Type
D-shaped clay

Sprint Car Track Record
13.401 seconds by Greg Hodnett on 5/17/15

Closest Airport
Whitford Airport

Other Airport
Syracuse Hancock International

Pit Gate Location
Towpath Road Weedsport NY 13166

Track Map
Competitor Info  

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