ROSSBURG, OHIO (September 23, 2020) – The competitors rolled into the track that Earl Baltes carved into the cornfields of northwest Ohio back in 1954, and Tony Stewart purchased in 2004. The drivers and their teams were back for the final night of the invitation only Governors Reign event that had a $52,000 check awaiting the winner in the livestream only event on FloRacing. After setting a New Track Record (NTR) on Tuesday night with a lap of 12.599 seconds and a disappointing 17th place finish, after having an on track mishap on a lap 20 restart while running third on the opening night, David Gravel and the JJR #41 team were back at Eldora Speedway focused and determined to continue their speed and drive a better overall outcome on the night when all of the big money was up for grabs. There were 46 of the 48 invited participants and their affiliated teams back in the pit area as they were spaced throughout the pit area again ready to get up to speed in some high sped action at Eldora Speedway!
The random pill draw would again set the qualifying order for time trials. David Gravel would be the fourth driver in Group B out on the track for his two laps at speed around the big high banked half mile speed plant. He pulled into the staging lane in his Weikert’s Livestock/J.R.C. Transportation #41 Maxim anxiously waiting his turn to get up to speed against the clock. When it was his turn, the horses were raring and ready to stretch their legs out when they were released from the always potent Kistler Engines power plant under the hood of his Maxim Racing machine. He stomped on the loud pedal and built up his momentum as he came to the green flag. He was wheeling and dealing inside the cockpit as he was making tracks and not looking back. The seconds were ticking by and when he crossed the start/finish line after his first lap the stopwatch read 12.816 seconds. The tenacious and talented driver was relentless in his pursuit for more speed as he executed another smooth and consistent lap the next time around this time clocking in at 12.835 seconds. He turned in two solid laps around Eldora Speedway, but the quicker of his two laps landed him as the Lincoln Welder Fast Time Award winner for the second night in a row and would set the tone for the evening ahead.
With the lineups set for the five 8-lap heat races, the 2019 Knoxville Nationals champion would find his name and car number in the All Pro Aluminum Cylinder Heads second heat race where he would start from the outside of row two in the Mesilla Valley Transportation/Factory Kahne/MSD Performance #41 Maxim. In the first race with competition, he would roll his Hoosier Racing Tires/Weld Racing Wheels into his fourth starting spot beside Dietz Motorsports #41 teammate Parker Price-Miller. The talented young duo paced behind Jac Haudenschild and Daryn Pittman in the Heffner #72. With four miles of high speed action ahead of him, David was confident and focused as he flipped down the shield of his Simpson race helmet. Pittman bolted into the lead as he was in clean air and using his speed to lead the pack. David moved the forty-one into the show position at the start and was flying as he was pursuing the runner-up position. Pittman was in command of the top spot and on the last lap Gravel was closing the gap and entered turn one using the high line to build momentum. He carried his speed down the backstretch and entered high, turned the car down and beat Haudenschild to the line to earn the runner-up finish. Parker Price-Miller came home fourth with fellow MVT driver Kraig Kinser securing the final transfer position.
Making his way into the first of the two 4-lap dash events, Gravel was looking to drive forward to finish where he started to gain the pole position for the feature. David started from the pole position aboard Team Jack Foundation/Mark Burch Motorsports/KSE Racing Products #41 Maxim in the first dash event with the finishing order establishing the starting lineup for the inside row. The blue eyed Watertown, Connecticut born native would share the front row with Brian Brown. Donny Schatz and Sheldon Haudenschild manned row two with Gio Scelzi and Aaron Reutzel in row three. Eager to get rolling, David approached the chalk line in turn four and muscled his way into the lead with Brown close behind. He led the Kear’s Speed Shop Dash #1 from start to finish taking the win over Brown, Schatz, Haudenschild, Scelzi and Reutzel. His effort earned him the pole for the Governors Reign finale.
The Governors Reign field on the final night was set for the 35-lap feature. The driver’s and teams that made the show worked hard to compete against the best drivers in the business at Eldora Speedway to secure their $1,500 minimum starting spot pay for making the field. All 26 drivers, as Cory Eliason and Paul McMahan took provisional starting spots as All Star regulars, now were solely focused on the $52,000 winner’s paycheck that they would be greeted with if they were the first car to cross the finish line after 35 high speed laps around Eldora Speedway’s always fast race track. David Gravel navigated the Dissolvalloy Downhole Revolution/Tiger Towing #41 into his front row starting position with night one winner Brent Marks to his outside. The 410 cubic inch engines were creating a buzz as all 24 of them were ready to get feisty and show what they were made of as they carried their drivers forward. The front row starters were the first drivers to see the green flag waving as they stomped on their accelerators bringing the field roaring down the frontstretch. The initial start was called back as the field went under yellow as a couple of cars got together coming out of turn four. When the race got started, Gravel took command of the top spot with Brent Marks building his speed following close behind. David was getting into a fast paced rhythm as he was speeding around the half mile oval. By lap six he caught the rear of the field and was starting to maneuver through lap traffic. Marks was able to stay within striking distance, but Gravel stayed focused on what was ahead with each passing lap. A caution with 16 laps to go regrouped the field with Gravel leading Marks. But it was tenth starting Kyle Larson who was on the prowl and now sitting in the show position licking his chops as the prey was now within his striking range. When racing resumed Gravel held the point position, but Larson made the pass on Marks entering turn one. David was able to hit his marks in clean air and maintain some distance between him and the stalking Larson. The two drivers expertly navigated through lapped traffic and it appeared with three laps to go that Gravel had the space he needed to take the win. But Larson gets the most out of carrying his speed and momentum into the turn and closed the gap. On the last lap, Gravel entered turn one high and exited turn two with speed and distance between him and Larson’s #57. Entering turn three, Gravel went high with Brock Zearfoss’ #3z a few car lengths ahead. Larson drove in hard on the bottom and drifted up to the middle lane to pull to Gravel’s side nerf bar. It was a race off turn four with Gravel just beating Larson to the lone by .098 seconds to take the win with Larson coming home second, Sheldon Haudenschild third as Brent Marks and Carson Macedo rounded out the top five.
The elated, hard-working Governors Reign victor did a series of celebratory donuts in turn one before crossing the scales to see the green light illuminate signifying that he met the 1,400 pound minimum weight requirement. He rolled into Victory Lane where he was met by his jubilant crew – Clyde Knipp, Nate Repetz and the always humble Philip Dietz. After celebrating atop the tail tank in his lucky orange Durst, Inc. Simpson Race Products suit, he started by stating, “I just gotta thank this entire team. I am confident we had one of the best cars all week,: He continued, “To come out here and set two quick times, one a track record, and get the win says a lot about this team. I’m happy to win tonight rather than last night because tonight pays way more. This field was just as stout as any field we’ve seen all season. All the best are here. It feels really good to beat the best. Anything that pays over 50 grand is a crown jewel to me.” A great night for David Gravel, the JJR #41 team, our sponsorship partners and fans. David and the JJR crew though won’t have any time to celebrate as they get back at it on Thursday evening in World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series action at Plymouth Speedway in Indiana. There is still more important work to do for the driver and team!
Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT); Saich Family; 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 Auto Reconditioning; AutoMeter; Bell Racing USA; Brown & Miller Racing Solutions (BMRS); Buckwalter Trucking, LLC; C&R Racing; Chalk Stix Torsion Bars; 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; 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; Walker Performance Filtration; 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.