PEVELY, MISSOURI (May 23, 2020) – The sun was shining bright all day over the 1/3-mile track that sits just off Interstate 55 in Pevely, Missouri. The heat from the sun was not only pushing the mercury up in the thermometer to the 90 degree mark and naturally wearing out the surface. There were 61 cars back at the fast and racy oval nestled in the pit area. The JJR #41 team and their talented speed chauffeur David Gravel were ready to follow up the sixth place finish on Friday night in their LogoDaddy Graphics/Vortex Racing Products #41 Maxim.
The field was split into two sets for qualifying and with the surface being tried by Mother Nature’s heat the placement in the qualifying order would matter. The forty-one team would be the 24th car out on the track in Flight A for their two laps. The 2019 Knoxville Nationals Champion climbed into the cockpit and prepared to battle the surface at speed. By the time he was in the staging area the times had moved into the mid-12 second bracket from the early qualifiers who were in the high 10 second bracket. Gravel pulled up on the track and raced his way forward as he took the green. The seconds on the stopwatch were ticking away and when he crossed the timing stripe the clock read 11.963 seconds. His second lap was slower at 12.333 seconds, but his first effort was good enough for 19th quick overall in Flight A.
He would lineup on the outside of row five aboard the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/J.R.C. Transportation #41 Maxim in the first heat race which had the fastest aggregate qualifiers by time. Logan Schuchart and Kyle Larson paced the field from the front row With Gravel and Donny Schatz starting at the back of the pack. When the green flag waved, Schuchart drove into the lead as Gravel had his elbows up and wheeled his way into the sixth position with some daring moves. He quickly set his sights on the duo of Terry McCarl and Jacob Allen as they were fighting for the final transfer position. The man from Watertown, Connecticut would get there and make his presence known but was unable to make the pass for position in the 10-lap event as Schuchart took the victory over Larson, Kraig Kinser, McCarl and Allen with Gravel coming up one position short in sixth.
Relegated to the Last Chance Showdown (LCS) where he would start from the third starting spot in the Weikert’s Livestock/The Boyd Family #41 where the top four would move into the 40-lap feature. The track crew worked hard all night reworking the surface to give the racers the best track they possibly could on this night. Brian Brown and Paul McMahan were on the front row as Gravel shared row two with Aaron Reutzel for the 12-lap final chance race. McMahan and Brown took the green and Gravel drove the forty-one into the show position. Reutzel was battling Pennsylvania Posse invader Danny Dietrich giving Gravel a little space to race. When the checkered flag flew it was McMahan taking the win with Brown, Gravel and Reutzel securing the final spots in the evening’s feature lineup. Donny Schatz and Jason Sides would need to use provisional starts to add themselves to the feature starting grid.
It was finally time to race 40 laps around this small but demanding oval that the racers love to race. David would start from the 23rd starting position with Reutzel to his outside. Defending Ironman 55 champion Sheldon Haudenschild was on the pole with 2019 World of Outlaws Champion Brad Sweet to his outside. The green flag waved and Sweet led the first two circuits before Haudenschild wrestled it away from him. The leaders were flying in clean air and caught the tail of the field quickly. As they began to navigate the cars running for position in the latter part of the order, Haudenschild was able to race by Gravel to put him a lap down. The yellow came out and the field was reset. Haudenschild was comfortable and fast at the front and continued to set a torrid pace. That is until he entered turn one and got over the cushion sending him into a series of hard flips. Fortunately he was not injured and Kyle Larson inherited the lead. Gravel continue to persevere and battle through moving into the top twenty. He stayed the course and worked hard all 40 laps. Kyle Larson would collect the $20,000 winner’s check over Brent Marks, Sweet and Schuchart with Brock Zearfoss rounding out the top five. Gravel would finish the race and be scored in the 17th finishing spot to end a challenging night. The team will be back in action next week for the two day show at Lake Ozark Speedway. If you cannot come out to catch the action in person as there are limited tickets for seating, be sure to tune into DIRTVision!
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; K&N Filters; 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.