The point leader earns his ninth win of 2024 after Larson’s bid from 10th ended with mechanical woes (Emily Schwanke Photo)

The best race teams can’t be kept down.

There’s no denying David Gravel and Big Game Motorsports didn’t have the weekend they would’ve liked last week. A crash at River Cities forced them to rally to 10th, and they followed that up with a sixth place run at Ogilvie. Two top-10s may not seem like bad outings, but they’re below par for the high bar Gravel and Tod Quiring’s crew have established.

Plus, Carson Macedo had closed within 10 points of Gravel’s position atop the standings heading into Knoxville Raceway’s Premier Chevy Dealers Clash. The talk through the week focused on the points battle shaping up, and how would Gravel respond to last weekend’s woes?

And the answer was he would respond emphatically.

Gravel started outside the front row of Friday’s 25-lap Feature, hunted down Parker Price-Miller for the top spot, and then had a little luck when mechanical issues ended an impressive charge from 10th to the lead from Kyle Larson.

“Once I got back to the bottom, I got right back to him (Larson),” Gravel said. “I really wish we could’ve raced that out. I think he was running really aggressive and was maybe going to run high one more lap, and I might’ve been able to get underneath him. I wish we could’ve race that out. I’ve got to thank Cody (Jacobs), Stephen (Hamm-Reilly), and Zach (Patterson) for working hard. This is a new car, and to debut it, qualify well going out late, and winning the race is really good.”

Gravel climbed to 97 career victories with The Greatest Show on Dirt. Six of those checkered flags have come courtesy of Knoxville, which puts it in a tie for the second winningest track on Gravel’s World of Outlaws résumé. The Watertown, CT native is already up to nine wins in 2024. And perhaps most importantly, he added a solid 42 markers to his lead atop the standings, growing the gap to 52 points over Macedo.

Pole-sitter Parker Price-Miller brought the field to green with Gravel to his right. “The Law Firm” got the advantage into the opening set of corners and committed to the bottom during the opening circuits. Gravel stayed with the cushion and could stay right with Price-Miller but not build enough momentum to pass him.

A Lap 4 restart brought Sheldon Haudenschild into the fight for the lead as he slid by Gravel for second. He closed in on Price-Miller, but PPM moved up to the top just in time to break Haudenschild’s momentum. On Lap 9 a resurging Gravel rolled under Haudenschild on the bottom for second, and one rotation later he did the same to Price-Miller to take the lead. Price-Miller snuck back around in the next set of corners, but Gravel grabbed it right back and closed the door on Price-Miller’s next attempt.

Meanwhile 10th starting Kyle Larson was making moves to the front. The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion claimed third on the 12th circuit, and then a lap later he drove the Silva Motorsports No. 57 into second. On Lap 16 “Yung Money” powered by Gravel to take the top spot and wasted no time pulling away as he started to slice through traffic.

Gravel got going on the bottom in the late stages of the race, and a duel to the checkered flag looked to be shaping up. But right as Gravel closed back in, a puff of smoke blew from Larson’s engine and he quickly slowed. Just like that, the magical drive from 10th was ended, and his night was over.

David Gravel taking the checkered flag at Knoxville
David Gravel‘s Knoxville victory gave him 97 for his career with the World of Outlaws and nine in 2024 (Emily Schwanke Photo)

Larson’s misfortune was Gravel’s gain as he inherited the lead for the restart and went unchallenged over the final six circuits on his way to trophy number nine of 2024 in the Huset’s Speedway No. 2. With the Summer of Money on the horizon, Gravel has his mind set on some lucrative trips to Victory Lane.

“This Morrison Engine was ripping tonight,” Gravel said. “Hopefully everyone comes to the (Huset’s) High Bank Hustle for $100,000 and the High Bank Nationals on Saturday for $250,000.”

Price-Miller held onto the second spot. He led the first nine laps and earned his ninth career World of Outlaws podium in the PPM Racing No. 9. The Kokomo, IN native has had a consistent 2024 to this point, and another solid run fueled his hunger for a win even more.

“Our car is really good,” Price-Miller said. “I’m just really excited to be racing right now when the car is this good. You obviously want to win, but we’ll keep trying, and hopefully it doesn’t take us too much longer to knock off a win.”

The podium was rounded out by Rico Abreu for his fourth top three of the year with the World of Outlaws and the 49th of his career. The St. Helena, CA native came away satisfied with the result and added some pages to the notebook for August when the NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s brings the entire Sprint Car world to Knoxville.

“I just focused on hitting my marks and understanding the race,” Abreu explained. “That outside lane was very, very difficult to take off in. I was kind of dependent on Sheldon (Haudenschild) who was obviously watching the leader go. The leader gets such a big advantage there on the inside row. I think you take a lot of notes from nights like this and work on bringing that back to the Nationals.”

James McFadden and Tyler Courtney completed the top five.

Sheldon Haudenschild claimed his third Simpson Quick Time of 2024 and the 32nd of his career in Sea Foam Qualifying.

NOS Energy Drink Heats One, Three, and Four went to Sheldon Haudenschild (111th Heat Race win of career), Rico Abreu (54th of career), and Tyler Courtney (18th of career). Milton Hershey School Heat Two belonged to Daryn Pittman (273rd of career).

Parker Price-Miller topped the Toyota Racing Dash.

Donny Schatz won the Micro-Lite Last Chance Showdown.

UP NEXT: The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars are back at Knoxville Raceway to complete the Premier Chevy Dealers Clash on Saturday, June 15. For tickets, CLICK HERE.

If you can’t make it to the track, catch every lap live on DIRTVision.


NOS Energy Drink Feature (25 Laps): 1. 2-David Gravel[2]; 2. 9P-Parker Price Miller[1]; 3. 24-Rico Abreu[3]; 4. 83SR-James McFadden[12]; 5. 7BC-Tyler Courtney[6]; 6. 69K-Daryn Pittman[8]; 7. 14-Corey Day[22]; 8. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[11]; 9. 1S-Logan Schuchart[25]; 10. 15-Donny Schatz[21]; 11. 39M-Anthony Macri[7]; 12. 88-Austin McCarl[9]; 13. 83-Michael Kofoid[23]; 14. 55V-Kerry Madsen[16]; 15. 49-Brad Sweet[20]; 16. 87-Aaron Reutzel[5]; 17. 13-Justin Peck[18]; 18. 1K-Kelby Watt[24]; 19. 6B-Brandon Wimmer[17]; 20. 21-Brian Brown[13]; 21. 41-Carson Macedo[14]; 22. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild[4]; 23. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss[19]; 24. 57-Kyle Larson[10]; 25. 17B-Bill Balog[26]; 26. 10-Scott Bogucki[15]

For complete results, CLICK HERE.