Race Story

(Story courtesy of WoO PR)

Eldora Speedway showed exactly why it’s known as “The World’s Greatest Dirt Track” on Saturday night.

The #LetsRaceTwo finale for the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars gave fans a main event they couldn’t look away from. It was everything you could ask for. A 10-time champion battling a driver eying his first. A tricky racing surface with multiple grooves. Several late passes for the lead including one last move to secure the victory on the last lap.

The combatants came in the form of David Gravel and Donny Schatz, and they threw everything they had at each other. Hammering the top. Tiptoeing the bottom. Rolling the middle. Slide jobs. Nothing was left on the table. In the end, Gravel grabbed the checkered flag by powering ahead of Schatz down the back straightaway on the 30th and final lap and holding him off to the finish line. Gravel put the punctuation mark on a clean sweep at “The Big E” as he also set Simpson Quick Time and won both his NOS Energy Drink Heat Race and the Toyota Racing Dash.

“With the lower air pressure and lower tire temps we were really, really good,” Gravel said. “I got my wing so far back I couldn’t steer it, and on the restarts I would move it forward. But then as the run went on I got really loose. Once I got to that lapped traffic, my car kind of stalled out. That’s why I grabbed the wing, but then it made it where I couldn’t move around. I just had to hold the car straight. I couldn’t maneuver. Donny was definitely more maneuverable, but I think in open air we were probably a little bit faster.

“It’s really hard to beat Donny Schatz in the slick like that. He was running really hard in (Turns) 1 and 2 and running the cushion and just hang a little bit off of (Turn) 2. And luckily, we were able to get just better runs down the backstretch each time and get position on him. It feels really good to get another win. Starting on the front row two nights in a row and getting no wins would’ve been very disappointing. Really happy to get this one.”

Gravel grabbed sole possession of the most World of Outlaws wins in 2024 with his fifth. He also moved Big Game Motorsports one step away from a major milestone. Tod Quiring’s team is at 99 victories with The Greatest Show on Dirt. A 100th would make him only the sixth car owner to reach the impressive feat. Five of Gravel’s 93 career triumphs have come at Eldora, putting it in a tie for the third winningest track on his résumé.

The 30-lap Feature was brought to green by Gravel with Michael “Buddy” Kofoid alongside. Kofoid looked under Gravel on the opening circuit but couldn’t find enough speed to make a run at the lead, and Gravel began to pad his early advantage.

It didn’t take long for Gravel to near traffic as third-running Donny Schatz began to close on Kofoid for second. On the eighth circuit, Schatz tried a slider in Turns 1 and 2 and couldn’t clear Kofoid. But in the next set of corners, the 10-time champion rolled the low line to snatch the runner-up spot from the Roth Motorsports #83.

Schatz wasted no time closing on Gravel. He was a second behind the lap he passed Kofoid, and one rotation later it was slashed to six tenths of a second. Then on the 14th lap Schatz found the run he needed and used the low side of Turns 3 and 4 to slip ahead of Gravel and lead the lap.

A slowing Kalib Henry set up a restart on the 17th lap and opened the door again for Gravel. The Huset’s Speedway #2 got a huge run down the back straightaway and slid ahead of Schatz in the third turn to regain the lead.

Over the next several circuits Gravel pulled away and looked as if he was heading to a comfortable win at Eldora. The gap grew to nearly two seconds on Lap 19, but with less than 10 laps to go the Tony Stewart/Curb Agajanian Racing #15 came to life as traffic became more and more of a factor.

By Lap 25 the lead was back under a second and shrinking with every corner. A few laps later the war began. Schatz dipped beneath Gravel in Turns 3 and 4 on Lap 28 and narrowly grabbed the spot on the front straightaway. Gravel returned fire with a slider in Turns 1 and 2 that Schatz countered with a crossover and took the lead back. In Turns 3 and 4 Gravel went low as Schatz opted for the middle, and just as the white flag was within sight the red lights flashed for a flipping Bryce Lucius.

Schatz held the lead for the restart, and the battle immediately resumed when the green lights returned. Gravel got a head of steam exiting the second corner and slid ahead of Schatz in Turns 3 and 4. Schatz turned under him to drive back ahead and lead at the white flag. Like the lap before, Gravel got a run out of Turn 2 and dove under Schatz in the final set of corners. But this time he stuck to the bottom and didn’t leave Schatz the lane to crossover. It proved to be the winning move as he came out on top.

“I just tried to go a car width lower or higher than him (Schatz) on the start and was able to get alongside him,” Gravel said. “And then when I slid across, I slid way too hard across all the way to the fence. I should’ve backpedaled, kept the tires underneath me, and put myself in better shape in (Turns) 1 and 2. But luckily, we were able to get a good run. Cody (Jacobs), Zach (Patterson), and Stephen (Hamm-Reilly) have been working really hard.”

Schatz brought home the runner-up spot after the hard-fought battle aboard the Carquest #15. The Fargo, ND native notched back-to-back podium finishes during the #LetsRaceTwo weekend and is up to seven top threes in 2024. Schatz felt he might’ve been standing in Victory Lane if it wasn’t for the red flag coming to the last lap.

“He ran away on that one restart,” Schatz said. “He drove by us and ran away. And then we caught back up and got back by. So, I guess if we wouldn’t have had the red, it may have been a different story.”

Carson Macedo brought the Jason Johnson Racing #41 home third to complete the top three. The Californian has now bagged six podiums this season. He fought within the top five throughout the entire race and climbed his way onto the podium with a strong run late in the going.

“I think I just had a really good final restart there,” Macedo explained. “Everybody kind of went to the top, and I sort of filled through the middle and felt really good. It’s a testament to Philip Dietz, Robby McQuinn, and Adam Zimmerman. They gave me a great car there. I thought there were points in the race where I had a really, really good car and then faded a little, and then I got good there at the end. I feel like we gain some momentum with that kind of a race car.”

Giovanni Scelzi and Logan Schuchart completed the top five.


(Story courtesy of USAC PR)

The jubilation following a hard-fought victory is one of the most satisfying experiences in all of sport.

However, the celebration displayed by Justin Grant in the immediate moments after his USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship score on Saturday night at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway was certainly one that won’t soon be forgotten.

It seems oddly fitting that it came directly after an unforgettable 30-lap feature in which Grant (Ione, Calif.) threw everything – the kitchen sink and a bag of chips – at leader Logan Seavey down the stretch of the #LetsRaceTwo finale before prevailing with a turn one  slider just three laps from the finish line.

After crossing the finish line 1.397 seconds ahead of Seavey to pocket the $10,000 prize, Grant proceeded with a cool down lap on the half-mile dirt oval, then a subsequent victory lap which seemed positively routine…until it wasn’t.  Appearing to be winding up his car for a series of donuts, Grant stood on the gas and slapped his right rear tire against the turn three outside wall, sending him for a ride consisting of 2.5 tumbles.

Ironically, it was in this very same event one year ago in which Grant flipped in the identically same spot while battling for the lead.  That one cost him a chance at victory.  This one only cost him the chance to pull into victory lane under his own power aboard the TOPP Motorsports/NOS Energy Drink – Bow Foundation – TOPP Industries/Maxim/Kistler Chevy.

“I was awfully, awfully excited at the end of that one, obviously,” Grant acknowledged after being towed to victory lane.  “What an idiot.  I feel like a moron.  I just got too excited, jumped the wall and turned that thing over.  I feel like an idiot.  Hopefully (my crew) won’t be too mad at me.  (Car owner) Kevin Birchmeier has put up with a lot of BS out of me over the years so, hopefully, we’ll weather that one.  But I know he’s excited we won.”

Grant needn’t beat himself up too much.  Grant’s victory was already his fourth of the USAC National Sprint Car season in just nine starts.  He’s the first driver to accomplish that feat since Damion Gardner in 2010.  Furthermore, the victory was a nice sigh of a relief after his past three series starts netted finishes of 20th, 22nd and 22nd.

Likewise, his 49th career USAC National Sprint Car victory placed him just one tally shy of becoming the fourth driver to reach the 50-win mark, and he achieved this one in round two of the Bubby Jones Master of Going Faster series presented by Spire Sports + Entertainment, the 10-race slate named in honor of his late father-in-law.

“It was really, really, really a fun race,” Grant stated.  “Logan’s a really good racecar driver and he’s gotten rolling around this place really good.  I feel like we were ‘gloves off,’ giving each other everything we had with every trick we could come up with.  I was running around this place harder than I’d ever run around it just trying to keep pace, let alone race him.”

Starting fifth, Grant got up on the horse and instantly went to work, swiping fourth on the opening lap and third on the second circuit.  Meanwhile, pole starter Kevin Thomas Jr. dashed away to lead the opening six laps.  Fourth starting Seavey was hustling too, and on lap seven, he ably slid Thomas for the lead in turn one.  Grant followed suit a lap later in the same spot to grab second.

Seavey built up a 1.5 second lead nearing midway, but lapped traffic stifled his groove a bit, chopping his advantage nearly in half to eighth tenths.  A yellow flag for a loose wheel cover lying in the middle of turn four completely erased Seavey’s interval, allowing Grant to be right on the back of his rear bumper for the lap 18 restart.  Grant went on the attack, sliding Seavey for the top spot in turn three on the restart, but Seavey was able to counterpunch and drive back underneath Grant to retain the lead for the time being.

Grant wound his car up on the high side and got a run off turn four to pull even to the inside of Seavey at the start/finish line with 10 laps to go.  As Seavey attempted to slide himself into turn one in order to prevent Grant’s own slider in turn one, the two drivers brushed wheels.  On the very next go around, they did the very same thing, touching tires as Seavey dug in to keep Grant at bay.

A yellow flag for the slowing car of 21st running Paul Dues on the back straightaway gave everyone a chance to catch their breath with five laps remaining.  But that was only a momentary cease from the madness as Grant fired a big shot in turn three on the lap 26 restart.  As Grant slid up to surpass Seavey, it was a meeting of chrome as Grant’s rear bumper and Seavey’s front bumper locked horns, sending Grant bouncing his right rear tire off the wall.  Simultaneously, Seavey turned down and was able to stave off Grant by three-quarters of a car length at the stripe.

Never straying more than an arm’s length from Seavey, Grant’s deciding move came with three to go as his turn one slide job stuck and Seavey’s response back underneath only drew even with Grant on exit.  Up top, Grant had the downhill momentum on his side and promptly drove away from Seavey from there on out.  Brady Bacon wound up third with Kevin Thomas Jr. fourth and Honest Abe Roofing Fast Qualifier C.J. Leary rounding out the top-five.

One night after seeing his series record streak of seven top-three finishes to start a season conclude with a flat tire and an 11th place result, Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) returned to form on Saturday night in his Abacus Racing/CG CPAs – Indy Custom Stone – Forecheck Marketing/DRC/Stanton Chevy.  Seavey scored his best career #LetsRaceTwo finish of second after leading a race high 21 laps and keeping himself up at the top of the standings in both the USAC National Sprint Car points as well as the Bubby Jones Master of Going Faster championship.

“What a freaking race,” Seavey exclaimed.  “This place is so cool.  This is one of my favorite racetracks in the world to come to and that’s what it’s about.  Last night was not fun for me, but to come here and run the curb right up against the wall like that is as cool as it gets.  It showed there that Justin is going to run hard and do whatever he can do to win, and I made the wrong decision there to cross him over.  I thought I could drive around it.  There aren’t very many Justin Grant sliders you can drive around.  That’s not saying anything bad about him.  It’s just knowing who you’re racing with, and I made the wrong decision.  He won and I lost.  That’s how they go, and we’ll come back stronger.”

Similarly to Grant and Seavey, Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) experienced a pleasant return to the podium in his Dynamics, Inc./Bazell Race Fuels – Davis Brothers Trucking – Tel-Star/Triple X/Rider Chevy.  Bacon started seventh and finished third on Saturday, one night after a flat tire dropped him to a disappointing 19th place result.

Race Results

Event Box Score


Heat #1 – (8)Laps – Top 6 Transfer
1. 69-Brady Bacon[2]; 2. 12-Robert Ballou[3]; 3. 24M-Hunter Maddox[1]; 4. 3R-Kevin Thomas Jr.[4]; 5. 57-Logan Seavey[5]; 6. 88J-Joey Amantea[8]; 7. 17GP-Jadon Rogers[7]; 8. 26-Chance Crum[9]; 9. 15X-C.J. Leary[6]

Heat #2 – (8)Laps – Top 6 Transfer
1. 33M-Matt Westfall[2]; 2. 5S-Chase Stockon[4]; 3. 3P-Kyle Cummins[6]; 4. 21AZ-Daison Pursley[5]; 5. 63-Max Adams[3]; 6. 98-Saban Bibent[7]; 7. 87-Paul Dues[8]; 8. 23D-Bryce Dues[9]; 9. 44-Todd Hobson[1]

Heat #3 – (8)Laps – Top 6 Transfer
1. 15-Carson Garrett[2]; 2. 4-Justin Grant[6]; 3. 39-Briggs Danner[4]; 4. 2B-Jake Swanson[3]; 5. 19AZ-Mitchel Moles[5]; 6. 39G-Matt Goodnight[1]; 7. 1H-Korbyn Hayslett[7]; 8. 71B-Braxton Cummings[8]; 9. 21B-Ryan Barr[9]

B-Feature – (10)Laps – Top 6 Transfer
1. 44-Todd Hobson[2]; 2. 15X-C.J. Leary[1]; 3. 26-Chance Crum[7]; 4. 17GP-Jadon Rogers[3]; 5. 1H-Korbyn Hayslett[4]; 6. 87-Paul Dues[5]; 7. 21B-Ryan Barr[9]; 8. 23D-Bryce Dues[8]; 9. 71B-Braxton Cummings[6]

A-Feature – (30)Laps
1. 4-Justin Grant[5]; 2. 57-Logan Seavey[4]; 3. 69-Brady Bacon[7]; 4. 3R-Kevin Thomas Jr.[1]; 5. 15X-C.J. Leary[10]; 6. 21AZ-Daison Pursley[3]; 7. 19AZ-Mitchel Moles[2]; 8. 15-Carson Garrett[9]; 9. 2B-Jake Swanson[15]; 10. 39-Briggs Danner[12]; 11. 44-Todd Hobson[17]; 12. 33M-Matt Westfall[8]; 13. 3P-Kyle Cummins[6]; 14. 12-Robert Ballou[13]; 15. 17GP-Jadon Rogers[19]; 16. 63-Max Adams[14]; 17. 98-Saban Bibent[20]; 18. 1H-Korbyn Hayslett[21]; 19. 5S-Chase Stockon[11]; 20. 88J-Joey Amantea[22]; 21. 26-Chance Crum[24]; 22. 39G-Matt Goodnight[18]; 23. 87-Paul Dues[23]; 24. 24M-Hunter Maddox[16]

World of Outlaws

Heat #1 – (8)Laps – Top 5 Transfer
1. 2-David Gravel[1]; 2. 15-Donny Schatz[2]; 3. 23J-Cale Thomas[5]; 4. 22-Cole Duncan[6]; 5. 17B-Bill Balog[8]; 6. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild[4]; 7. 5T-Travis Philo[7]; 8. 29-Logan McCandless[3]

Heat #2 – (8)Laps – Top 5 Transfer
1. 83-Michael Kofoid[1]; 2. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss[6]; 3. 32-Bryce Lucius[8]; 4. 24-Logan Seavey[7]; 5. 55T-McKenna Haase[3]; 6. 23-Garet Williamson[5]; 7. 15K-Creed Kemenah[4]; 8. 39M-Anthony Macri[2]

Heat #3 – (8)Laps – Top 5 Transfer
1. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[1]; 2. 41-Carson Macedo[3]; 3. 1S-Logan Schuchart[2]; 4. 7S-Landon Crawley[5]; 5. 24D-Danny Sams III[4]; 6. 21H-Brady Bacon[7]; 7. 1-Nate Dussel[6]; 8. W20-Greg Wilson[8]

Heat #4 – (8)Laps – Top 5 Transfer
1. 27-Emerson Axsom[1]; 2. 99-Skylar Gee[3]; 3. 49X-Tim Shaffer[6]; 4. 101-Kalib Henry[5]; 5. 42-Sye Lynch[2]; 6. 29Z-Zeth Sabo[7]; 7. 6-Bill Rose[8]; 8. 70-Kraig Kinser[4]

B-Feature – (12)Laps – Top 4 Transfer
1. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild[3]; 2. 23-Garet Williamson[4]; 3. 21H-Brady Bacon[5]; 4. 1-Nate Dussel[9]; 5. 29-Logan McCandless[2]; 6. W20-Greg Wilson[11]; 7. 29Z-Zeth Sabo[6]; 8. 5T-Travis Philo[7]; 9. 15K-Creed Kemenah[8]; 10. 6-Bill Rose[10]; 11. 14-Sean Rayhall[13]; 12. 39M-Anthony Macri[1]; 13. 70-Kraig Kinser[12]

Dash – (30)Laps
1. 2-David Gravel[2]; 2. 83-Michael Kofoid[4]; 3. 99-Skylar Gee[1]; 4. 15-Donny Schatz[5]; 5. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[6]; 6. 41-Carson Macedo[7]; 7. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss[8]; 8. 27-Emerson Axsom[3]

A-Feature – (30)Laps
1. 2-David Gravel[1]; 2. 15-Donny Schatz[4]; 3. 41-Carson Macedo[6]; 4. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[5]; 5. 1S-Logan Schuchart[11]; 6. 83-Michael Kofoid[2]; 7. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss[7]; 8. 99-Skylar Gee[3]; 9. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild[21]; 10. 22-Cole Duncan[13]; 11. 27-Emerson Axsom[8]; 12. 23J-Cale Thomas[9]; 13. 21H-Brady Bacon[23]; 14. 7S-Landon Crawley[15]; 15. 17B-Bill Balog[17]; 16. 1-Nate Dussel[24]; 17. 42-Sye Lynch[20]; 18. 101-Kalib Henry[16]; 19. 23-Garet Williamson[22]; 20. 24D-Danny Sams III[19]; 21. 55T-McKenna Haase[18]; 22. 32-Bryce Lucius[10]; 23. 24-Logan Seavey[14]; 24. 49X-Tim Shaffer[12]



Images from the Event

Photos by Tyler Carr


Video Highlights From The Event

05.04.24 #LetsRaceTwo | Feature Highlights