Race Weekend Central

This Day in Dirt: David Gravel, Hudson O’Neal Double Up on Speedweeks Wins

Dirt Racing’s Winning Moment: David Gravel blasted by Buddy Kofoid on a restart with less than 10 laps to go, scoring his second World of Outlaws feature win of Friday (Feb. 10) at Volusia Speedway Park after winning a rescheduled feature from Thursday’s rain out earlier in the afternoon.

Gravel became the first driver since Daryn Pittman in 2019 to win two consecutive features to start a WoO campaign.

Dirt Racing’s Dramatic Moment: Daulton Wilson was rapidly on closing on Hudson O’Neal in the waning laps for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Friday night at East Bay, but jumped the cushion and slapped the wall in turn 3 with two to go, leaving O’Neal to grab his second consecutive Winternationals victory.

O’Neal’s win marked five straight victories for Rocket Chassis cars at East Bay after the brand was skunked in the opening six races of the LOLMDS season.

What Dirt Racing Fans’ll Be Group Chatting About This Morning

Yes, Rocket Chassis has proven competitive again. They’re not “back” until they win at Volusia. Longhorn Chassis was ridiculously dominant on longer, high-speed ovals in 2022 and they’ve yet to be vanquished on that type of track. Of course, this syncs up awful well with the sudden momentum O’Neal and the Rocket Chassis house team now have.

It was amusing to me that there was apparently enough to time to wheel all three top finishers of Friday night’s (technically Saturday morning’s) WoO feature for the customary victory lane formation, yet there wasn’t enough time to interview second-place Kofoid or third-place Logan Schuchart because they needed to get the modified program moving. Please. If the modified program really was that important to DIRTcar they could have done all that victory lane hat dancing in the infield as they rolled the mods onto the track.

The term GOAT gets tossed around way too freaking loose these days. When it comes to a man that won 20 series championships, it’s totally appropriate. Congratulations to Steve Kinser for this recognition Friday night at Volusia.

The Workin’ Man Nationals out at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway had an anemic crowd in the grandstands Friday, but that’s hardly surprising. Ask any hiring manger, there’s not a lot of workin’ men around these days.

No major dirt touring series ever leaves Georgia/Florida Speedweeks without announcing dates for 2024, but there was another date that drew a ton of eyeballs coming from the Lucas Oil tour. Oct. 10-12 of next year will mark the final race before East Bay Raceway Park is demolished and the late model tour will be the headliner. 

I can’t stress this enough. If you are a race fan of any kind and have not made a trip to East Bay, get it done. I’ve covered too many track closures even in my short time on this dirt beat, but East Bay will likely be the first one to bring me to tears doing it.

Dirt Racing’s Heroes of the Day

Gravel and O’Neal both fit the bill with their trophies, but tonight’s shout out goes to the track crews at Volusia and East Bay both for doing stellar work to make racing happen Friday night. I wasn’t at either track, but can attest having driven from one coast of Florida to the other Friday there were popup showers coming and going at will. 

That’s stressful enough for any crew to deal with, but between East Bay’s bunch providing the raciest surface seen in three weeks of Winternationals competition or Volusia’s bunch turning a swamp into a dirt track in a number of hours, tip of the cap to the working men behind the racing surfaces (hey, we found some!).

Dirt Racing’s Victims of the Night

Apparently the worst place to be in dirt racing Friday night was running inside the top 10 at East Bay. First caution of the LOLMDS feature saw third-place Garrett Smith and fifth-place Tanner English tangle after Ryan Gustin and Tyler Bruening made contact in turn 1.

The ugliest incident of the night saw both Kyle Bronson and Jimmy Owens lose top-10 runs (and a ton of sheetmetal to boot) after the two got can-openered trying to avoid Brian Shirley, who appeared to get tagged by Garrett Alberson in turn 2.

And let’s not forget Tyler Erb, who lost a fourth-place running position due to a late-race flat tire.

All of the victims listed above finished outside the top 15 at East Bay.

Numbers Game

4

Dirt tracks that ran oval track racing programs Friday night in the U.S.

128

Nation’s largest car count Friday, the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia.

$16,000

The nation’s largest purse awarded this weekend, to the winner of the WoO feature at Volusia Friday night.

Up Next: Frontstretch will be back Monday morning (Feb. 10) with continued coverage of the DIRTcar Nationals from Volusia Speedway Park, the late model Winternationals from East Bay Raceway Park and the Short Track Super Series Sunshine Swing at All-Tech Raceway. Streaming coverage can be found on DirtVision and Flo Racing, respectively.

About the author

Richmond, Virginia native. Wake Forest University class of 2008. Affiliated with Frontstretch since 2008, as of today the site's first dirt racing commentator. Emphasis on commentary. Big race fan, bigger First Amendment advocate.

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