ROSSBURG, OHIO (July 18, 2019) – There is just something special about Eldora Speedway. Everyone associated with the track is engaged, does their job well, and just cares about making your experience one that not only you enjoy, but also one that makes you want to come back. Combine that effort with great racing and there is no wondering why they call this place “The Greatest Dirt Track” . . . because it is! After the sun shined down on the surface and the mercury rose in the thermometer to oppressive levels all day, the track crew did a fabulous job preparing the racing surface for the 54, yes 54, 410 sprint cars teams and drivers that lined the infield pit area of the famous half mile oval for the fourth running of the Jokers Wild.
The large field of speed demons would be split into two groups for time trial qualifying on this night with David Gravel and the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/J.R.C. Transportation #41 Maxim set to go out twelfth in Flight B. Philip, Tyler and Patrick were hard at work getting the forty-one ready to roll when they were given their shot at speed. Donny Schatz, who went out fourth in this set of qualifying, was sitting atop the scoring pylon with a strong lap of 13.241 seconds. The Watertown, Connecticut native was summoned to the starting box on pit lane as a push truck waited patiently behind to give him a push to get his Kistler Engines motor fired. It came to life and he used the technology to build up his speed to take the green flag. He again turned to solid, and fast laps, around Eldora’s high banks with the quicker of his two laps coming in at 13.215 seconds, which withstood the test of time as he was quickest overall in Flight B.
With greater than 48 cars, there would be six heat races with the top three finishers transferring to the feature. The first three heats were for the qualifiers in Flight A, while the second three heats were for the Flight B qualifiers. Gravel would start from the pole position aboard the High Performance Lubricants/Vortex Racing Products #41 in the fourth heat race, which coincidentally was filled with some serious talent. David would share the front row with Logan Schuchart as Rico Abreu, Brian Brown, Aaron Reutzel, Kraig Kinser, Kerry Madsen, Justin Peck and Dustin Daggett rounding out the starting grid. With the field aligned in their two-by-two starting order, the green flag waved and Gravel drove hard into the lead with Abreu diving to the bottom in turn one and taking over the runner-up position. Gravel was in clean air and trucking along, but the race for second was fabulous. Abreu and Schuchart were in a street fight and it was a lot of fun to watch as they displayed their talents. Gravel was not able to see that action though as he was focused forward in the top spot and took the win by 2.820 seconds over Schuchart who prevailed in the battle for the runner-up position with Brian Brown coming home third.
For the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash the winners and runner-up finishers from the first three heats would be in the first dash with the finishing order setting up the inside six rows for the feature, while the same would be done for the second dash with the finishing order setting the starting order for the outside of each row. David Gravel, in his Team Jack Foundation Simpson Race Products driver’s suit, climbed into the cockpit of his Maxim Racing machine where he would start fifth in the second dash. Donny Schatz and Logan Schuchart brought the field to the green as Sye Lynch, Jac Haudenschild, Gravel and Dale Blaney were in pursuit. Gravel was shuffled back to sixth on the initial start with Schatz out front. Schatz took the win over Schuchart, Haudenschild and Blaney as Gravel brought the Durst Inc./Tiger Towing Maxim home fifth with Lynch finishing sixth.
With the 30-lap Jokers Wild feature lineup posted, it was time to turn some circles around the famous half mile oval. David collaborate with Phil and the JJR crew to make some final adjustments before pushing the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Durst Inc. #41 out onto the track. He would line up on the outside of row five from the tenth starting position with Shane Stewart to his inside. Brad Sweet and Donny Schatz were in row one with Joey Saldana and Logan Schuchart pacing behind. Sweet took the lead on lap one as David went high on the initial start heading into one and moved back to thirteenth in the running order. Schatz would be scored as the leader on lap two, but Sweet regained the lead the next time around. Meanwhile, David Gravel was up on the wheel and starting to make his presence known as he was now in sync, hitting his marks and driving forward. One car at a time, he methodically worked his way back into the top ten after the first 7 laps were in the books. The leaders were putting on quite a show, with Logan Schuchart now in the mix, but the real entertainment, at least for the Gravel and JJR fans, was watching the driver of the forty-one orchestrate his charge forward. With Sweet still leading at the front, Gravel worked his way into the top five at the halfway point of the race in his Weikert’s Livestock/Waco Metal Maxim. He was far from done though as there was still work to do. A caution with 11 laps to go for Brian Brown who blew a tire, regrouped the field with a double file restart. The leader chose the bottom, so every driver running in an odd numbered position would line up on the inside of the rows. On the restart, third running Schuchart got a bad start and David drove from fifth to third and immediately started his run forward to attempt to chase down the leaders. He was making some progress, but just after Sweet beat Schatz to the finish line Gravel drove under the waving checkered flags with a third place finish with a determined and impressive drive forward. Another great run for the forty-one!
We are proud to represent all of our dedicated and loyal supporters:
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.