MECHANICSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA (July 17, 2020) – With this year’s Kings Royal weekend cancelled due to the Coronavirus, owner Bobbi Johnson and the JJR #41 team had an open weekend on the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Sprint Car Series schedule. Evaluating all of their options they decided to bring the Weikert’s Livestock/Fuel Safe Racing Cells #41 Maxim to the Keystone State of Pennsylvania a week early to race for the weekend ahead of the WoOs return to the area next weekend. Williams Grove Speedway has a rich history dating back to May 21, 1939, when original owner Roy Richwine opened the gates for the first race at the now famous track. The winner that day was none other than Tommy Hinnershitz. Friday night’s headliner at Williams Grove was to honor the race winner and legend who first stood in victory lane in what is now branded the Tommy Hinnershitz Classic, simply referred to by many as the Tommy Classic, under Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions (ASCoC) banner. There were 39 410 sprint cars entered to race for ad opportunity to race against some of the best for a chance to win the $5,000 winner’s share of the purse.
Following the ASCoC Group Qualifying format, David Gravel would be in Group B and be the 10th driver in that group to push off for his two time trial laps around the track shaped like a paper clip. When he got the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT) #41 up to speed he was cruising down the frontstretch to take the green flag. The seconds were ticking by as his Kistler Engines/Engler Machine & Tool power was delivering speed. When the transponder delivered the signal when he cross the start/finish line it read 17.360 seconds. His Hoosier Racing Tires were digging in and the driver was continuing to search for the fastest way around the half-mile. The second lap was recorded at 16.963 seconds with the better of his two laps positioning him quick time in his qualifying group and ended up being second quick overall in qualifying.
With the inversion of the top four in heat race action, the Watertown, Connecticut driver’s time positioned him on the outside of row two with Californian Cory Eliason to his inside as Daryn Pittman and Sammy Swindell made up row one for the 8-lap race. When the yellow lights dimmed and the green lights came on Gavel drove into the show position and began chasing the top two. It was Sammy Swindell in the Swindell SpeedLab #39s leading Pittman and Gravel. The top five had some distance between themselves by the midway point of the heat race, but Gravel continued his forward momentum in the Durst, Inc./Team Jack Foundation Maxim. Swindell would be the first driver to the checkers followed by Pittman, Gravel, and with Danny Dietrich commanding the final transfer position.
The lineups for the Elliott’s Custom Trailers & Carts Dash events, two separate race to set the inside and outside rows starting positions for the feature, were posted. David would be in the second dash which was loaded with talent. Kerry Madsen sat on the pole with Sammy Swindell to his outside. Gravel would start from the third position with Kyle Larson to his outside all with the All Star Circuit of Champions 2-time defending champion and current points leader Aaron Reutzel preparing from the fifth starting spot. The green flag waved and Madsen drove into the lead over Swindell and Larson with Gravel sitting in the fourth position aboard the Pro Powder Coating (PPC)/Waco Metal #41. The four laps went by quick with Madsen taking the win over Swindell, Larson, Gravel and Reutzel. That would be your outside row starting lineup at the front of the pack.
The double horn sounded and the cars were rolling onto Williams Grove’s historic track surface for the Tommy Hinnershitz Memorial feature. David Gravel was schedule to start from the eighth, but as the cars paced around the track Sammy Swindell experienced some mechanical issues laying fluid down around the track. Officials halted the cars to take care of the fluid and threw an Open Red. Philip, Clyde and Nate topped off the fuel and made some very minor adjustments to the J.R.C. Transportation/Chalk Stix Torsion Bars #41 Maxim. The starting lineup for the field from fifth on back was crisscrossed moving David into the seventh starting spot. When the racing went green it was Anthony Macri driving into the lead over Kerry Madsen as David had a run on the low side through turns one and two on Larson in an attempt to move into the fifth position. The two wheelman were racing close and clean early in the fifth and sixth positions as they were trying to slowly close in on the leaders. The first 15 laps went non-stop green and just at the halfway point the caution flag was displayed for Josh Baughman who rolled to a stop. The top five at the time were Macri, Madsen, Carson Macedo, Daryn Pittman and Larson with Gravel situated in the sixth position. When the cars got back up to speed there was action everywhere. It would take Gravel 8 more laps to wrestle the fifth position away but he was not done. He kept tracking down Madsen and Pittman who were fighting for the final podium spot and he wanted to be part of the fight. With two to go he was right there but couldn’t make the pass. On the last lap he took over fourth but ran out of time to get by Madsen as Larson took the win over Macri and Madsen with Gravel and Pittman rounding out the top five. A great run for the forty-one in the Tommy Classic!
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.