SARVER, PENNSYLVANIA (July 21, 2020) – As the temperatures continue to push the mercury up in the thermometer throughout Pennsylvania the action on the tracks throughout the state are heating up too. David Gravel and the JJR #41 team, along with the stars of the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series, headed to western side of the Keystone State for the first time in 2020 to race in the $25,000-to-win 29th Annual Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup. Don Martin was more than just a successful track owner and promoter . . . he was a passionate race fan that dated back into the 1940’s. He was very proud of Lernerville Speedway and certainly was smiling while watching down over the field of 39 cars that lined the pit area located outside of turns three and four.
As is normal and customary when racing against The Greatest Show on Dirt, time trials were the first order of business on the agenda. Each driver gets their sole opportunity on the racetrack to drive to their best and fastest time. They have two laps to get the most out of themselves and their cars performance wise. David would be the 16th competitor out on the 4/10-mile track in the first flight for qualifying. The track record going into the evening was set back on May 15, 2002 by Joey Saldana at 12.334 seconds. When the Kistler Engines power came to life under the Indy Performance Composites (IPC) carbon fiber hood of the J.R.C. Transportation/Winters Performance Products #41 Maxim the talented speedster stomped on the accelerator and took the green. There is a lot going on inside the cockpit of these high speed machines and the Watertown, Connecticut wizard was processing all of the input and actions at speed while applying his talents around the top side of the track. The stop watch read 13.625 seconds after the first lap as he was digging for more on the second circuit. He was successful as his determined effort lowered his lap time to 13.551 seconds after his final attempt. The faster of his two laps was 3rd quick overall in Flight A.
World of Outlaws timing and scoring officials processed all of the quickest lap times from fastest to slowest in time trials and constructed the lineups for the 10-lap Drydene Heat Races. David Gravel would start on the outside of polesitter Carson Macedo in the first heat race. He pushed off in the Greber Racing Components (GRC)/Engler Machine & Tool #41 and rolled into his starting position on the outside of the front row with Logan Schuchart and Gio Scelzi following behind. Lernerville Speedway’s high banked track is fast and racy with no walls around the turns or down the back straightaway. The racers have room to race and put on one heck of a show. This event was no different as Macedo pressed the gas and got the field up to speed with Gravel and Schuchart close behind. David moved down and was working the low side of the track. He was entering turn one strong and closing in slightly on the leader. He would get within a car length of Macedo, but lost a little ground on the exit of turn two. Macedo would lead all ten laps and edged Gravel who came home second followed by Schuchart, and Scelzi with Hunter Schuerenburg finishing fifth.
With his second place finish in heat race action, David Gravel put the JJR #41 in the 8-lap DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash to race for his starting position in the feature. His luck with drawing for starting spots has not been that great all year as he has drawn the high numbered pills from the oversized NOS Energy drink can. He would be the fifth driver to pull a number and he pulled out Jaxx Johnson’s favorite number – five. JJR teammate Parker Price-Miller in the Chalk Stix Torsion Bars/Dietz Motorsports #14 would start on the pole with Carson Macedo to his outside. The front row starters were followed in the starting lineup by Brad Sweet and Kyle Larson, David Gravel aboard the Weikert’s Livestock/Vortex Racing Products #41 and Donny Schatz, with Sheldon Haudenschild and Brent Marks making up the final row. When the green flag waved it was Macedo leading lap one over Parker Price-Miller. Gravel was in a tight three way battle for position with Larson and Schatz. Meanwhile it was Brad Sweet on the move. He moved forward and took the lead from Macedo with two laps to go with Larson and Price-Miller running close behind. Gravel was in fifth and moving in on the Dietz Motorsports #14. Sweet took the dash win over Macedo as the checkers flew with Larson finishing in third. Coming off of turn four Gravel had a big run on the outside of Parker Price-Miller and the two made slight contact at the line. Parker Price-Miller collected that fourth spot by a car length over Gravel who came home fifth in front of Schatz, Haudenschild and Marks who rounded out the finishing order.
The 26 car field, including the two drivers who took provisional spots, was set for the 40-lap World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup XXIX feature event. David would get started from the fifth position in the starting grid aboard the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Waco Metal #41 Maxim. He climbed into his speed chariot with his red Team Jack Foundation driver’s suit and secured his Simpson Race Products safety belts. The finest in the business went four-wide to say thank you to the fans who all came to see them perform. It was time to go racing in Pennsylvania! Brad Sweet led the opening lap as Parker Price-Miller was battling with Macedo for the runner-up spot. David was running in the sixth position as all of the front runners were racing together in close proximity. With four laps in the books the first caution flag was thrown for Hunter Schuerenburg who slowed to a stopped in turn two. Under the yellow Jason Sides headed to the pit area with header issues but returned to the track. When the field of cars got back up to speed it was Sweet holding onto the lead when another yellow was quickly shown, this time for Kasey Kahne and Jacob Allen who got together in turn two. The next restart was a single file start with Sweet leading the field of competitors. Gravel was still running in the sixth position. They would return to speed as Schatz made the move into second and then took the lead away from Sweet. Gravel dropped back to eighth when he got off the track in turn four and did a wheel stand causing him to lose some spots in the running order. With 10 laps in the book the third yellow of the night was displayed for Michael Bauer’s #46 who was stopped in turn two. Schatz was now leading Sweet, Price-Miller, Larson and Macedo. On the ensuing restart Gravel used his Kistler Engines power to pick up two spots and move back into the sixth position. He was pressuring Macedo for fifth when the fourth caution of the night came out for Daryn Pittman and Lucas Wolfe, both of whom spun in turn one. Officials put the red flag out at this point of the race as the cars rolled to a stop on the backstretch for an Open Red to refuel so they could make the remaining distance of the race.
After a short delay under red flag conditions, David Gravel would restart from the sixth position in the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT) #41 as leader Donny Schatz brought the field back up to speed coming to the green flag with 29 laps remaining in the race with Sweet and Larson chasing him. The Connecticut born racer in the cockpit of the #41 used this restart to drive forward into the top five. He was now in a fierce battle with his teammate for the fourth position. Parker Price-Miller had it and David Gravel wanted it. The two talented chauffeurs were putting on a show and Gravel would eventually take command of the position. With 17 laps to go, Schatz was leading Sweet and Larson with Gravel and Price-Miller rounding out the top five. The fifth yellow was thrown for a slowing Jac Haudenschild. They restarted again and this time Gravel drove around the top and into third before Sheldon Haudenschild raced underneath him out of turn four to take command of the show position. Larson used the opportunity to slip by too, relegating Gravel back to the fifth position. With 11 laps to go, Brad Sweet drove under Schatz and retook the lead. Schatz was relentless and wrestled the lead back on a few laps later on lap 33. Sweet then drove back to the front as they again swapped the lead. The racing for the top spot was incredible, but about to get even better. Sweet started to build a lead as Kyle Larson got by Schatz for the runner-up position. The top three were in a fantastic battle now for the lead all within two car lengths of each other and racing different lanes of the track. At the end it was Schatz making a last lap pass on Sweet to take the win. They were all so close and Kyle Larson also snuck by Sweet to take second at the finish line with Sweet coming home third as Sheldon Haudenschild and David Gravel rounded out the top five. A fantastic race overall and a top five run for team forty-one!
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.