MECHANICSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA (October 4, 2019) – With cooler fall temperatures in the October air, your 2019 Knoxville Nationals Champion, along with his JJR crew, traveled to Central Pennsylvania to compete in the two-day 57th Annual Champion Racing Oil National Open. This prestigious event always attracts a good field of cars, 53 on this night, and a lot of fans for this late season gem at the track with the backstretch bridge. When you open the history books it is truly a who’s who of racing legends. David Gravel etched his name into these books twice before collecting wins in 2014 and again in 2017 alongside names like Gordon Johncock, Lou Blaney, Kenny Weld, Steve Smith, Van May, Kramer Williamson, Stevie Smith, Smokey Snellbaker, Doug Wolfgang, Steve Kinser and Don Kreitz Jr. just to name a few.
The field was split into two separate groups for their two laps against the clock in time trials. David would be the seventh car out in Flight A aboard the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Winters Performance Products #41 Maxim. The Watertown, Connecticut native got his Kistler powered hot rod up to speed and took the green flag as the seconds started to tick away. When he crossed the timing stripe the first time around the clock read 16.305 seconds. He kept digging and carried his speed forward as his Weld Racing wheels and Hoosier Racing Tires were churning into the tacky surface. He was working the low side and darted off of turn four to take the checkers, this time stopping the clock at 16.206 seconds. He was not only quick time in Flight A, but also overall on the night for the 19th time this season in World of Outlaws competition.
Starting from the pole in the first of six Drydene heat races, Philip and the JJR team prepared the Maxim Racing machine for battle. Gravel would share the front row with Ryan Smith as Tim Shaffer, Brad Sweet, Brian Montieth, Dylan Cisney, Tim Wagaman, Steve Buckwalter and Chase Dietz fell in place behind the front row starters. As they paced in their two-by-two starting order, Gravel was ready to go at speed. He pounded the loud pedal when they crossed the chalk stripe in turn four and he drove into the lead over Smith. He was fast and making tracks and not looking back in the Greber Racing Components (GRC)/Cody Monoco Racing #41. After eight fast laps around the place affectionately referred to just as “The Grove”, David recorded the heat race win by 2.437 seconds over Smith with Brian Montieth capturing the third and final transfer position to the feature as Sweet and Buckwalter rounded out the top five.
Making his way into the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash, Gravel would be summoned to the frontstretch to reach his hand into the oversized NOS Energy Drink can to see where he would start in the first of two dashes with the finishing order setting the inside row for the feature. These dash events are always loaded and it would be no different on this night. Gravel would pull the one pill and start on the front row of a potent field with Donny Schatz to his outside as Brian Brown, Danny Dietrich, Ryan Smith and Daryn Pittman rounded out the starting lineup. When the green lights illuminated, Gravel drove hard off the inside into the lead in the Weikert’s Livestock/Durst Inc. #41 Maxim. Schatz was right there, but the Watertown Connecticut chauffeur was on the move. After six quick laps, Gravel took the win over Schatz by 0.969 seconds with Brown, Smith, Pittman and Dietrich completing the finishing order.
As the temperatures continued to fall southward, the horns sounded to alert the teams and drivers that it was soon time to go racing in the 25-lap National Open opener. There just is nothing better in racing than the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series four-wide salute to the fans. The starting field made their way down the backstretch under the blue iconic bridge with the fans in the stands going crazy. It was time to go racing at Williams Grove Speedway! Gravel jumped into the early lead over Cory Eliason at the start with Donny Schatz on the prowl. Schatz would pass Eliason for the second position as Gravel was racing in clean air before the yellow flag was displayed for a slowing Kerry Madsen who cut a brake line. With Schatz to his outside for the restart, Gravel wheeled his J.R.C. Transportation/Jonestown KOA #41 Maxim into the lead. Schatz looked low to try to make the pass but Gravel motored off the top into the lead. He would endure a few more race stoppages, which gave Schatz some additional chances. But, Lance Dewease now made his way into the picture aboard the famous Don Kreitz Jr. #69k. During the middle and late stages of the race, with Gravel in the lead, Dewease and Schatz were battling for the runner-up position. With three laps to go, Dewease made the pass and started to pursue Gravel who was racing through lap traffic. Gravel made his way by Sheldon Haudenschild and then by Kraig Kinser when the white flag waved. He came off turn four for the last time to take his ninth official World of Outlaws victory of the season, his eleventh overall in 2019 including the Capitani Classic and Knoxville Preliminary Night win, over Dewease by 2.377 seconds with Schatz rounding out the podium and Giovanni Scelzi and Aaron Reutzel completing the top five. The jubilant driver stood atop his wing and celebrated his perfect night – quick time, heat race win, dash win and feature win! He commented, “I am just happy to get quick time and win a race.” He continued, “It seems like the couple of races we’ve been drawing a bad pill for the Dash draw and tonight we were able to get a good draw. So just an awesome night. Finally got to show how good this car is.” A great night for Gravel and the forty-one team!
Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT); Saich Family; Jonestown KOA; Dissolvalloy Downhole Revolution; Weikert’s Livestock; J.R.C. Transportation, Inc.; Durst Inc.; Maxim Racing; The Boyd Family; Pro Powder Coating (PPC); Waco Metal; High Performance Lubricants, LLC; Team Jack Foundation; Mark Burch Motorsports; Tiger Towing; All Pro Aluminum Cylinder Heads, Inc.; All Pro Auto Reconditioning; AutoMeter; Bell Racing USA; Blackbeard; Brown & Miller Racing Solutions (BMRS); Buckwalter Trucking, LLC; C&R Racing; Chalk Stix Torsion Bars; Cody Monoco Racing; Crow Enterprizes, Engler Machine & Tool, Inc.; Factory Kahne FK Shocks; Fibreworks Composites; FK Rod Ends; Fuel Safe Racing Cells; Greber Racing Components; Hoosier Racing Tire; ISC Racers Tape; Jansen Transportation; K&N Filters; Kaiden Kares; Kistler Racing Engines; KSE Racing Products; LogoDaddy Graphics; Max Papis Innovations (MPI); MSD Performance; RaceDiecast.com; Schoenfeld Headers; Shell Shock Paint; Simpson Race Products; T-FAB Custom Metal Fabrication; Vortex Racing Products; Weld Wheels; Wilwood Racing; and Winters Performance Products.
To stay connected with Jason Johnson Racing (JJR), go to www.jasonjohnsonracing.com.
To stay up-to-date with David Gravel and his success and journey on and off the track, as well as to purchase his gear and merchandise, go to www.DavidGravel89.com.