CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA (November 6, 2020) – The roads for David Gravel and the NOS Energy Sprint Car Series have certainly been long and winding throughout the 2020 season with stops along the way for COVID-19. The series officials, teams and drivers have done a tremendous job navigating the journey that even confused Siri at times. But on this early November evening the sprint car stars all followed the road that led back to Concord, North Carolina where the two-night Last Call event would take place at the Dirt Track at Charlotte replacing the traditional World Finals due to capacity restrictions related to the Coronavirus. There were 46 teams lining the pit area outside turns one and two ready to compete in the last two races of the 2020 season.
David Gravel, who entering the night had 5 quick times this season aboard the Mesilla Valley Transportation/J.R.C. Transportation #41 Maxim, would be the very last car to hit the track for his two laps against the clock in Flight B for time trials. The cool customer from Connecticut climbed into the cockpit of his Maxim Racing machine and strapped into his Simpson Race Products safety belts to prepare for his high speed adventure around the 4/10-mile red dirt clay. The Kistler Engines power came to life under the hood as he mashed the gas to take build up speed to take the green flag. As the seconds were rolling by on the stopwatch, the master was doing what he does best with a precise turn of his Indy Performance Composites (IPC) carbon fiber steering wheel. He hit his marks and the clock read 12.260 seconds after his first lap that shot him to the top of the speed charts. He was relentless behind the wheel the next time around improving his time to 12.193 seconds. The faster of his two laps was quick overall on the night elevating his total for the year to six.
With time trials completed, World of Outlaws (WoO) timing and scoring officials prepared the 8-lap Drydene heat race lineups. David Gravel would line the Jason Johnson Racing (JJR) #41 up in the pole position in heat race #3 with Brian Brown to his outside in the front row. Carson Macedo lined up in the third starting spot and was joined by Justin Peck in the Buch #13 as Shane Stewart, Kraig Kinser, Anthony Macri, Kyle Larson, Greg Wilson, Dave Blaney, and Shawn Dancer completing the starting lineup. Gravel jumped on the hot pedal and drove into the lead off the start with Macedo moving past Brown for the runner-up position. Gravel was up on the wheel and hitting all of his lines with each completed lap. The Watertown, Connecticut driver took the win over Macedo with Stewart, Larson and Peck locking down the top five to earn transfer positions to the Last Call feature event.
The DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash was next up on the evening’s agenda with Carson Macedo pulling the one to earn the pole starting position and Gravel pulling the two to share the front row with him. Kerry Madsen would get rolling from the third position with Brad Sweet to his outside followed by Ian Madsen, Sheldon Haudenschild, Cory Eliason and Daryn Pittman filling out the remaining rows. When the green flag waved Macedo and Gravel drag raced down into turn one with Macedo edging out Gravel for the top position. He used the clean air to build his lead over Gravel in the 6-lap dash. Macedo took the win with Gravel bringing the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Durst Inc. #41 home second with Kerry Madsen finishing in the show position. Sheldon Haudenschild came home fourth followed by Brad Sweet, Ian Madsen, Daryn Pittman and Cory Eliason.
The horns sounded as the cars rolled down towards turn four to enter the racing surface to stage for the 30-lap Last Call feature event. He would start on the outside of the front row aboard the J.R.C. Transportation/Waco Metal/High Performance Lubricants #41 with Macedo in the Kyle Larson Racing (KLR) #2. When the smoke from the fireworks cleared out of the area it would be replaced by the sound of 410 sprint car engines as they kicked up the red dust around The Dirt Track at Charlotte. When the field came out of turn four, Gravel used the outside lane to race side-by-side with Macedo into turn one. Gravel had a slight edge, but Macedo was there to fight for the top position. The high speed racing action would be interrupted by 5 caution flags throughout the 30-lap race, but each and every time David Gravel would be at the front of the field for the restarts. After a late race restart, he drove through the increasing dust which made it difficult to see the corner entry points. The dust parted enough for him to see the waving checkered flag where he collected the win, his third consecutive at The Dirt Track at Charlotte after sweeping the World Finals last year. From the platform in victory lane Gravel explained, “You couldn’t see the cushion going into turn three. It was really, really tough. So, I was kind of a little bit conservative. I’m sure whoever ran second got close there at one point. I went to the top and probably put on a little bit of a gap.” He concluded, “Happy to get another win here. That’s three in a row at this racetrack for us. Hopefully we can sweep it again. It would be really good accomplishment and we can end this year off with a bang.” A great run for the 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.