David Gravel Earns Capitani Classic After Epic Battle with Brian Brown

By: Bill Wright

KNOXVILLE, IA – Connecticut’s David Gravel claimed the $7,500 8th Annual Bell Helmets Capitani Classic presented by Great Southern Bank Sunday night at the Knoxville Raceway, overcoming half a dozen lead changes in the 25-lap event. His exciting win came aboard the Jason Johnson Racing #41, and was the fourth in his career at the “Sprint Car Capital of the World.” There were seventy-seven cars signed in.

Brian Brown earned the pole position by winning the $2,500 Ultimate Speedway Nationals at Valvoline Raceway in Parramatta, New South Wales, Pole Shuffle. Brown took the early lead in the main event, followed by Gravel and Brock Zearfoss. Soon, Brad Sweet shot around Zearfoss for third, but the Pennsylvanian battled back.

Holding his line with a good run on the top of turn two, Zearfoss tried to fit between Sweet and the wall. Though the cars made contact and lost several spots, they both continued. Gio Scelzi was the benefactor, reaping third from the incident. He had company, however and a good battle for the position ensued with Ian Madsen.

Up front, Brown was nailing the bottom, with Gravel in pursuit. Finally, Gravel shot to the bottom of turn one and took the lead on lap eight. Kerry Madsen contacted the frontstretch wall at that point, and collected Tim Shaffer. Both returned after repairs in the work area.




Gravel led Brown, Scelzi, Ian Madsen and Sweet back to green. Brown gained momentum on the high side this time and reclaimed the point on lap 10, but Gravel battled back, taking Brown’s line and leading lap 12. The final caution came out when a cone was knocked onto the track with 13 laps to go.

Sweet claimed fourth on the restart, but up front, Brown ran low, Gravel through the middle and Scelzi up top in a battle for the lead. Lap 16 saw Scelzi pass Gravel for second, but Gravel repaid the favor with a slide job on the following circuit. The leaders approached traffic, and with Brown on the bottom, Gravel found traction in the middle of turn two and took the lead back for good on lap 20.

Scelzi was fast again on the big half-mile and used lapped traffic to get by Brown on lap 21. Three laps later, he would get over the turn one cushion and lose the position.

At the line, Gravel won over Brown, Scelzi, Sweet and Daryn Pittman. Hard-charger Tim Kaeding was sixth (from 20th), and Ian Madsen, James McFadden, Sheldon Haudenschild and Aaron Reutzel rounded out the top ten. Reutzel and Brown set quick time over their respective groups, while Brooke Tatnell, Shane Golobic, Mark Dobmeier, Brown, McFadden and Sam Hafertepe Jr. won heat races. Josh Baughman won the C main, and Reutzel and Kaeding claimed twin B’s.

“(Brown) has been really good here all year, and he’s got one of the best cars,” said Gravel in Victory Lane. “He had me thinking when you’re in the lead, you don’t know what to do. He passed me on the top, and I knew if I hit the bottom, I’d be o.k., but man it was hard. I got tighter as the race went on, and it was harder to hold it down there. The lapped cars were all over at the end. We ran decent here at the Outlaw weekend, and to get a win here tonight gives us confidence for the whole week.”

“That was pretty awesome racing from my seat,” said Brown. “David’s one of the top two or three drivers in the world, and Gio is really good. I just wasn’t hitting my lines, and my car wasn’t stuck on the entries. I used the berm more than I wanted to. Three seconds in a row…it’s hard to be disappointed. We could be on the other end. Overall, it was a good night, and we’ll come back Thursday and see if we can put ourselves in position.”

“I made mistakes throughout the race,” said Scelzi. “The bottom was so narrow, I kept hitting the infield and squirting myself out. We had a restart and felt like we could have won…we just made a mistake. I pushed it a little bit too hard. It’s cool to do well on Bell Helmets night. They do a lot for us.”

The 59th Annual NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Stores kick off Wednesday, August 7, and continue through Saturday, August 10! For tickets and other information, visit www.KnoxvilleRaceway.com!

8th Annual Bell Helmets Capitani Classic presented by Great Southern Bank

Time Trial Group #1 (started), 2 laps: 1. 87, Aaron Reutzel, Clute, TX (6), 15.693; 2. 2M, Kerry Madsen, St. Mary’s, NSW, Aust. (11), 15.733; 3. 49X, Tim Shaffer, Aliquippa, PA (8), 15.760; 4. 70, Brock Zearfoss, Jonestown, PA (3), 15.774; 5. 41, David Gravel, Watertown, CT (16), 15.776; 6. 71, Gio Scelzi, Fresno, CA (9), 15.796; 7. 11, Hunter Schuerenberg, Sikeston, MO (14), 15.879; 8. 83, Lynton Jeffrey, Sydney, NSW, Aust. (27), 15.925; 9. 13, Mark Dobmeier, Grand Forks, ND (4), 15.976; 10. 55, Brooke Tatnell, Sans Souci, NSW, Aust. (28), 15.98; 11. 17W, Shane Golobic, Fremont, CA (12), 15.996; 12. 49, Josh Schneiderman, West Burlington, IA (7), 16.007; 13. 39, Sammy Swindell, Lakeland, TN (35), 16.013; 14. 19P, Paige Polyak, Tiffin, OH (26), 16.017; 15. 48, Danny Dietrich, Gettysburg, PA (36), 16.043; 16. 7TAZ, Tasker Phillips, Pleasantville, IA (1), 16.046; 17. 99, Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, OK (21), 16.066; 18. 18S, Jason Solwold, Mount Vernon, WA (5), 16.084; 19. 1S, Logan Schuchart, Hanover, PA (29), 16.084; 20. 91, Cale Thomas, Fairland, IN (15), 16.115; 21. 2, Carson Macedo, Lemoore, CA (37), 16.143; 22. 5, Shane Stewart, Bixby, OK (31), 16.145; 23. 33M, Mason Daniel, Springville, CA (10), 16.210; 24. 2KS, Austin McCarl, Altoona, IA (39), 16.213; 25. 09, Matt Juhl, Tea, SD (20), 16.218; 26. 2C, Wayne Johnson, Tuttle, OK (25), 16.222; 27. 13X, Paul McMahan, Nashville, TN (38), 16.265; 28. 44S, Trey Starks, Puyallup, WA (24), 16.288; 29. 2AU, Andrew Schuerle, Toowoomba, QLD, Aust. (2), 16.296; 30. 70X, Justin Peck, Monrovia, IN (13), 16.358; 31. 45, Rusty Hickman, Bendigo, VIC, Aust. (19), 16.407; 32. 18R, Lance Moss, Cherryville, NC (23), 16.421; 33. 18, Ryan Roberts, Aurora, NE (17), 16.448; 34. 92, Sye Lynch, Apollo, PA (18), 16.594; 35. 7S, Jeff Swindell, Bartlett, TN (30), 16.604; 36. 21P, Robbie Price, Cobble Hill, BC, Can. (22), 16.657; 37. 12N, Joey Saldana, Brownsburg, IN (33), NT; 38. 19T, Kevin Thomas Jr., Cullman, AL (32), NT; 39. 15, Bobby Mincer, Burlington, IA (34), NT.

Time Trial Group 2 (started), 2 laps: 1. 21, Brian Brown, Grain Valley, MO (12), 15.874; 2. 49S, Brad Sweet, Grass Valley, CA (22), 16.092; 3. 18M, Ian Madsen, St. Mary’s, NSW, Aust. (24), 16.143; 4. 1, Travis Rilat, Heath, TX (8), 16.172; 5. 71BC, Tyler Courtney, Indianapolis, IN (4), 16.192; 6. 4, Terry McCarl, Altoona, IA (23), 16.217; 7. 7X, Justin Henderson, Tea, SD (13), 16.277; 8. 9, James McFadden, Warrnambool, VIC, Aust. (5), 16.296; 9. 15H, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Sunnyvale, TX (19), 16.297; 10. 83JR, Daryn Pittman, Owasso, OK (35), 16.319; 11. 40, Clint Garner, Sioux Falls, SD (25), 16.335; 12. 41S, Dominic Scelzi, Fresno, CA (9), 16.339; 13. 7, Craig Dollansky, Elk River, MN (11), 16.345; 14. 17S, Sheldon Haudenschild, Wooster, OH (30), 16.381; 15. 3P, Sawyer Phillips, Pleasantville, IA (15), 16.386; 16. 21K, Thomas Kennedy, Winnipeg, MB, Can. (2), 16.405; 17. 5H, Spencer Bayston, Lebanon, IN (16), 16.417; 18. 88, Tanner Thorson, Minden, NV (32), 16.419; 19. 19M, Brent Marks, Myerstown, PA (17), 16.422; 20. 26, Cory Eliason, Visalia, CA (38), 16.436; 21. 7SS, Tim Kaeding, San Jose, CA (33), 16.566; 22. W20, Greg Wilson, Benton Ridge, OH (6), 16.567; 23. 5J, Jamie Ball, Knoxville, IA (20), 16.581; 24. 99X, Skylar Gee, Leduc, ALB, Can. (21), 16.621; 25. 51, Freddie Rahmer, Salfordville, PA (27), 16.630; 26. 20, AJ Moeller, Rockwell City, IA (7), 16.643; 27. 29, Willie Croft, Roseville, CA (36), 16.660; 28. 68, Chase Johnson, Penngrove, CA (37), 16.758; 29. 9JR, Derek Hagar, Marion, AR (31), 16.773; 30. 10, RJ Johnson, Tampa, FL (26), 16.815; 31. 17, Josh Baughman, Odessa, TX (28), 16.853; 32. 56N, Davey Heskin, St. Michael, MN (34), 16.957; 33. 1X, Don Droud Jr., Lincoln, NE (14), 16.985; 34. 85, Chase Wanner, Batavia, IA (18), 17.038; 35. 28, Brian Paulus, Mooresville, IN (1), 17.295; 36. 14M, Marcus Dumesny, Sydney, NSW, Aust. (3), 17.362; 37. 56, Joe Simbro, Pleasantville, IA (29), 17.411; 38. 71P, Parker Price-Miller, Kokomo, IN (10), NT.

Heat one (started), 8 Laps, 2:14.4: 1. Brooke Tatnell (1); 2. Hunter Schuerenberg (2); 3. Brock Zearfoss (3) / 4. Aaron Reutzel (4); 5. Shane Stewart (8); 6. Sammy Swindell (5); 7. Logan Schuchart (7); 8. Matt Juhl (9); 9. Tasker Phillips (6); 10. Rusty Hickman (11); 11. Trey Starks(10); 12. Sye Lynch (12) DNS – Kevin Thomas Jr.

Heat two (started), 8 Laps, 2:14.7: 1. Shane Golobic (1); 2. David Gravel (3); 3. Lynton Jeffrey(2) / 4. Kerry Madsen (4); 5. Brady Bacon (6); 6. Mason Daniel (8); 7. Paige Polyak (5); 8. Cale Thomas (7); 9. Jeff Swindell (11); 10. Lance Moss (9); 11. Andrew Schuerle (10) DNS – Wayne Johnson, Joey Saldana

Heat three (started), 8 Laps, 2:16.7: 1. Mark Dobmeier (2); 2. Gio Scelzi (3); 3. Danny Dietrich (5) / 4. Carson Macedo (7); 5. Tim Shaffer (4); 6. Josh Schneiderman (1); 7. Jason Solwold (6); 8. Paul McMahan (9); 9. Austin McCarl (8); 10. Justin Peck (10); 11. Robbie Price (12); 12. Ryan Roberts (11) DNS – Bobby Mincer

Heat four (started), 8 Laps, NT: 1. Brian Brown (4); 2. Daryn Pittman (1); 3. Craig Dollansky (5) / 4. Brent Marks (7); 5. Travis Rilat (3); 6. Thomas Kennedy (6); 7. Chase Johnson (10); 8. Greg Wilson (8); 9. Freddie Rahmer (9); 10. Josh Baughman (11); 11. Chase Wanner (12); 12. Justin Henderson (2); 13. Joe Simbro (13)

Heat five (started), 8 Laps, 2:18.5: 1. James McFadden (2); 2. Brad Sweet (4); 3. Sheldon Haudenschild (5) / 4. Spencer Bayston (6); 5. Cory Eliason (7); 6. Clint Garner (1); 7. Parker Price-Miller (11); 8. Tyler Courtney (3); 9. Brian Paulus (10); 10. AJ Moeller (9); 11. Derek Hagar (8) DNS – Jamie BallDavey Heskin

Heat six (started), 8 Laps, 2:19.0: 1. Sam Hafertepe Jr. (2); 2. Ian Madsen (4); 3. Dominic Scelzi (1) / 4. Tim Kaeding (7); 5. Terry McCarl (3); 6. Sawyer Phillips (5); 7. Tanner Thorson (6); 8. Skylar Gee (8); 9. Willie Croft (9); 10. RJ Johnson (10); 11. Don Droud Jr. (11); 12. Marcus Dumesny (12)

C main (started), 10 Laps, 3:17.9: 1. Josh Baughman (2); 2. Rusty Hickman (1); 3. Parker Price-Miller (14); 4. Don Droud Jr. (4) / 5. Lance Moss (3); 6. Ryan Roberts (5); 7. Brian Paulus (8); 8. Jeff Swindell (9); 9. Robbie Price (11); 10. Kevin Thomas Jr. (13); 11. Marcus Dumesny (10); 12. Sye Lynch (7); 13. Chase Wanner (6); 14. Joe Simbro (12) DNS – Wayne Johnson, Jamie BallDavey Heskin, Joey Saldana, Bobby Mincer

Pole Shuffle #1 (started), 2 Laps, 0:34.8: 1. Hunter Schuerenberg (1); 2. James McFadden (2)

Pole Shuffle #2 (started), 2 Laps, 0:34.5: 1. Ian Madsen (2); 2. Hunter Schuerenberg (1)

Pole Shuffle #3 (started), 2 Laps, 0:33.9: 1. Gio Scelzi (1); 2. Ian Madsen (2)

Pole Shuffle #4 (started), 2 Laps, 0:34.0: 1. Brad Sweet (1); 2. Gio Scelzi (2)

Pole Shuffle #5 (started), 2 Laps, 0:33.9: 1. David Gravel (1); 2. Brad Sweet (2)

Pole Shuffle #6 (started), 2 Laps, 0:34.6: 1. Brian Brown (1); 2. David Gravel (2)

Pole Shuffle #7 (started), 2 Laps, 0:34.7: 1. Brian Brown (2); 2. Brock Zearfoss (1)

B Feature #1 (started), 12 Laps, NT: 1. Aaron Reutzel (1); 2. Kerry Madsen (2); 3. Tim Shaffer (3) / 4. Jason Solwold (9); 5. Logan Schuchart (10); 6. Carson Macedo (12); 7. Tasker Phillips(7); 8. Sammy Swindell (5); 9. Brady Bacon (8); 10. Josh Schneiderman (4); 11. Austin McCarl(15); 12. Paul McMahan (17); 13. Josh Baughman (21); 14. Trey Starks (16); 15. Parker Price-Miller (20); 16. Mason Daniel (14); 17. Cale Thomas (11); 18. Justin Peck (18); 19. Andrew Schuerle (19); 20. Shane Stewart (13); 21. Paige Polyak (6) DNS – Matt Juhl

B Feature #2 (started), 12 Laps, 3:44.3: 1. Tim Kaeding (12); 2. Justin Henderson (4); 3. Spencer Bayston (8) / 4. Tyler Courtney (2); 5. Terry McCarl (3); 6. Cory Eliason (11); 7. Brent Marks (10); 8. Travis Rilat (1); 9. Clint Garner (5); 10. Sawyer Phillips (6); 11. Thomas Kennedy (7); 12. AJ Moeller (16); 13. Chase Johnson (18); 14. Greg Wilson (13); 15. Tanner Thorson (9); 16. Skylar Gee (14); 17. RJ Johnson (20); 18. Willie Croft (17); 19. Rusty Hickman (21); 20. Freddie Rahmer (15); 21. Don Droud Jr. (22); 22. Derek Hagar (19)

A main (started), 25 Laps, NT: 1. David Gravel (3); 2. Brian Brown (1); 3. Gio Scelzi (5); 4. Brad Sweet (4); 5. Daryn Pittman (12); 6. Tim Kaeding (20); 7. Ian Madsen (6); 8. James McFadden (8); 9. Sheldon Haudenschild (18); 10. Aaron Reutzel (19); 11. Mark Dobmeier (11); 12. Sam Hafertepe Jr. (10); 13. Dominic Scelzi (14); 14. Lynton Jeffrey (9); 15. Brooke Tatnell (13); 16. Justin Henderson (22); 17. Tim Shaffer (23); 18. Spencer Bayston (24); 19. Hunter Schuerenberg (7); 20. Kerry Madsen (21); 21. Danny Dietrich (17); 22. Craig Dollansky (16); 23. Brock Zearfoss (2); 24. Shane Golobic (15). Lap Leaders: Brown 1-7, Gravel 8-9, Brown 10-11, Gravel 12-14, Brown 15-19, Gravel 20-25. Hard-charger: Kaeding.