KNOXVILLE, IOWA (August 15, 2020) – On the third and final night of ‘The One and Only’ at Knoxville Raceway, David Gravel sat atop the event’s point standings after finishing fifth on Thursday evening and taking the win on Friday night as he beat Kyle Larson to the finish line. He had accumulated 849 points and was one of only four drivers to lock into the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash and the Brownells Capitani Classic, so he did not have to compete in any of the four qualifiers that were part of the night’s racing agenda. Philip Dietz, as he always does day-in and day-out, meticulously prepared the JJR #41 throughout the day to give his driver the best chance to end up in victory lane.
After qualifying was completed, Gravel climbed into the cockpit and went out with Kyle Larson, Aaron Reutzel and Logan Schuchart, the four cars that locked in, for some hot laps. The Maxim Racing machine was fast based on his lap times but the track continued to change as more laps were completed on the racing surface. After working hard the first two nights to earn points, the top four in the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash would now have to test their luck to see where they would start the event that sets the starting order for the feature. Being the high point driver, Gravel reached into the over-sized NOS Energy Drink can and pulled the #3, which put him on the inside of the second row. Aaron Reutzel and Kyle Larson would start in row one with Logan Schuchart joining Gravel in row two. The four winners of the qualifier races filled rows three and four – Spencer Bayston, Brad Sweet, Carson Macedo and Rico Abreu.
The 6-lap DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash was called to the staging area. The top eight drivers lined up and took the green flag. Larson drove directly into the lead over Reutzel as Gravel got shuffled back to fifth aboard The Boyd Family/Chalk Stix Torsion Bars #41. Larson was extremely fast in clean air and led wire-to-wire to take the win over Reutzel and Schuchart with Brad Sweet coming home fourth. David Gravel salvaged a fifth place finish and was followed across the start/finish line by Macedo, Abreu and Bayston. As soon as Gravel climbed out he was conversing with Philip Dietz and the crew so they could make some changes as the track had slicked off.
Following the conclusion of the Last Chance Showdown (LCS), the 24-car field was set for ‘The One and Only’ Brownells Capitani Classic that has a $50,000 check awaiting the winner. The JJR team made the final adjustments for their driver and rolled the J.R.C. Transportation/ISC Racers Tape #41 Maxim to the staging area. It was race time at the Sprint Car Capital of the World! After the fireworks that were set off during the four-wide salute to the fans, the drivers locked their shields into position and were ready to get down and dirty. Kyle Larson was on the pole and when the racing went green he took the lead as Reutzel tried to squeeze him entering turn one. Gravel raced off the bottom and into the fourth position in the initial two circuits. He inherited the third spot in the running order when second running Aaron Reutzel rolled to a stop on the front stretch with rear end issues that ended his night of racing. Larson was now leading Schuchart and Gravel with Sweet and Macedo rounding out the top five. On the restart, Larson quickly checked out as the talented duo of Schuchart and Gravel were in an all-out battle for the runner-up position. Lap after lap they raced cleanly and were putting on quite a show for the fans. Meanwhile Larson kept extending his lead which now grew to over four seconds over the pair trying to chase him down. With six laps to go, Gravel drove the special red Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT) paint scheme under Schuchart to take command of the second spot. Larson got way too far ahead in the lead to even see him for the defending Capitani Classic winner, but Gravel kept digging. The ultimate gap closer in racing occurred with 2 laps to go when the red flag was displayed for James McFadden who flipped the Kasey Kahne Racing (KKR) #9 on the exit of turn four. The engines were silenced while the safety crew tended to the accident scene where McFadden was okay, but his car was not as the damage ended his evening.
When racing resumed, the restart order would be Larson, Gravel, Schuchart, Macedo and Bayston. The leader was sitting in his office wondering where Gravel was going, and Gravel was doing the same thing from his space wondering where Larson was going. Based on past performance, the Connecticut-born driver sitting under the JJR #41’s Vortex Racing Products top wing thought for sure Larson would use the high line, so his strategy was to go where ever Larson did not go to attempt to make the pass for the lead and hopefully the win. The Weikert’s Livestock/Pro Powder Coating (PPC)/Waco Metal #41 was fast, but executing the strategy and pass against the superstar was not going to be an easy task. It was going to be a green-white-checkered finish. Flagman Justin Clark dropped the green flag as Larson drove out of turn four with Gravel right on his rear nerf bar. Gravel showed his hand as he moved down on the track to set up a low entry into turn one and Larson must have caught it out the corner of his eye and moved down to the bottom to block Gravel and his momentum. It worked and Larson raced the final two laps to reach the checkered flag 0.759 seconds ahead of Gravel who came home second as Schuchart, Macedo and Bayston rounded out the top five. From victory lane, Kyle Larson reflected, “I wasn’t quite sure what to do because Gravel gets around the bottom so well. I had been running the top both ends really good. But I didn’t want to leave the door open on the restart. I kind of debated with myself the whole way down the front stretch of what to do.” From Gravel’s perspective he stated, “If he ran the top there, I was going to send it in on him. It just didn’t happen. It was a good race. We wouldn’t have had a shot if that red didn’t come out. He was gone. Started fifth and couldn’t get going there early in the race. Had to battle Logan there quite a bot. I think we had the second best car.”
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.