MECHANICSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA (July 26, 2019) – As the Month of Money continues for the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series competitors, the journey takes these high speed professionals to some of the best and most revered dirt tracks in the country – Attica Raceway Park, Eldora Speedway, Lernerville Speedway, Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 and Knoxville Raceway. Friday afternoon the JJR transporter pulled in to Williams Grove with the historic blue walking bridge that crosses the backstretch as a backdrop. David Gravel and the JJR #41 team were ready to go on the first of two nights at the Champion Racing oil Summer Nationals aboard the Jonestown KOA/Weikert’s Livestock #41 Maxim Racing entry with 32 cars sitting in the frontstretch and backstretch pit areas.
A high number at the pill draw would only mean that Gravel would have to be patient before hitting the paperclip shaped half mile oval nestled in the center of the rich PA Posse footprint. He was scheduled to be the 31st car out on the track, but gained one spot when Kyle Reinhardt scratched for the night. The driver headed to the top of the trailer to watch his fellow competitors assault the surface with the goal of producing the lowest number possible for each of their two laps at speed. Donny Schatz, who went out 19th in the time trial order, was sitting at the top of the speed charts with a fast lap of 16.797 seconds when the Watertown, Connecticut driver pushed off in the Durst Inc./Saich Family #41. His Kistler Engines power came to life under the hood and the talented driver used his right foot to make the ponies dance. He combined his talent and speed together with the almost perfect car Philip Dietz, Tyler Elliott and Patrick Dudzinski gave him to set quick time the first time around with a lap of 16.784 seconds. It was his fifteenth quick time in his flight or overall this season.
Earning the right to start from the pole position in the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/High Performance Lubricants #41 Maxim with Danny Dietrich sharing the front row he was ready to get racing at The Grove. The front row starters were followed in the starting lineup by Daryn Pittman, Jacob Allen, Cory Haas, Shane Stewart, Kyle Moody and Chris Arnold for the 8-lap heat race. As they came to the starting stripe side-by-side, Gravel pedaled down as his Hoosier Racing Tires dug in and his Kistler Engines/All Pro Aluminum Cylinder Heads/Engler Machine and Tool power pulled him forward and into the lead entering turn one. Gravel would not look back as he was in a full sprint and with each passing lap was extending his lead over the always competitive and fast Dietrich. He would take the checkers for the heat race victory by 3.619 seconds over Dietrich as the two drivers locked themselves into the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash. Daryn Pittman would race home third followed by Cory Haas with Jacob Allen securing the fifth and final transfer position from this heat race.
For the top two finishers in each of the heat races, the next high speed adventure slated for the night was the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash. Tim Shaffer would start from the pole position with David lining up on the inside row of row three from the fifth starting spot. Shaffer wasted little time using his front row starting spot to find clean air. Gravel was running fifth after the first lap, but passed Brian Montieth the next time around to move into the fourth position. Shaffer would take the win over Freddie Rahmer and Donny Schatz with Gravel come home fourth as Montieth, Brad Sweet, Danny Dietrich and Chad Trout rounded out the finishing order.
Just before 10 PM on the east coast, the horns sounded in the pit area as the smoke from the always entertaining pyrotechnics show at Williams Grove cleared. The 24 car field was set. The fans that packed the stands were ready, including Brett and Cameron Ezzy who were in attendance all the way from Australia, for the first night of the Champion Racing Oil Summer Nationals. Gravel climbed into the cockpit of his Maxim Racing speed machine as the crew pushed him back from his pit area. Only 25 laps stood between the drivers and the winner’s trophy and check. After their traditional four-wide salute to the fans it was time to go racing at Williams Grove Speedway! Tim Shaffer would take advantage of the clean air and drive into the early lead over Freddie Rahmer, Schatz and Gravel. Throughout the early going, each driver was leaning up against the cushion to carry their momentum forward. That speed enabled them to catch the rear of the field six laps into the race. As the front runners navigated traffic most stayed up top, except Gravel. He dropped down on the track and was using the low line to carry his speed forward and on lap 13 he was able to pass Rahmer for the show position and quickly turned his attention towards the always formidable Donny Schatz. The two talented drivers would swap the runner-up position on lap 14 before Gravel secured the position the next time around before a yellow was displayed for Daryn Pittman who had a flat right front tire. Tim Shaffer was leading with Gravel now giving chase in the J.R.C. Transportation/Buckwalter Trucking, LLC #41 Maxim. After racing resumed, Gravel tried everything to try to get by the Aliquippa racer in the Rudzik Excavating/DR Racing #49. As the two drivers came down the back straightaway with two to go, Gravel drover hard into turn three and slid up across the track in turn four. He momentarily had the lead but gave Shaffer just enough room to cleanly and safely pass him back. Tim Shaffer went on to earn the victory as Gravel came hoe second ahead of Schatz, Rahmer and Dietrich. The second place finish was eight podium finish in the last nine races with the other one being a top five finish in the Kings Royal. Sitting on the frontstretch after the impressive run, Gravel stated, “I was close, I didn’t see him there for a second.” He continued, “I obviously just gave him a little bit of room to get back by me. If it was twenty or fifty grand (to win) I probably would have slid up here. But it was a good night. We were fast all night long. I feel like we were the only car to run on the bottom of the race track.”
After another great run for the forty-one, David Gravel and the JJR #41 team will be back at Williams Grove Speedway on Saturday for the $20,000-to-win Champion Racing Oil Summer Nationals finale.
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.