ROSSBURG, OHIO (September 22, 2020) – Following the race at Devil’s Bowl on Saturday night, the team trucked from Texas to Ohio, Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT) and J.R.C. Transportation style, for the kickoff off of the Governors Reign at the famous Eldora Speedway under Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions (ASCoC) presented by Mobil 1 sanction. Announced on August 18th, the invitation only event would happen behind closed doors due to the State of Ohio’s ongoing restrictions in response to COVID-19 health crisis. Fans could watch both nights of action live only on FloRacing as the 48 invitees prepared for action with no fans in the stands. The pit area was hustling as each of the teams were hard at work getting their speed chariots ready for their driver to perform at speed in this unprecedented two-day event.
A random pill draw would set the qualifying order by group for time trials under All Star Circuit of Champion (ASCoC) sanction for this event on both nights. David Gravel would be the first driver to go out on the high banked half mile aboard the Kistler Racing Products/Durst Inc./Chalk Stix Torsion Bars #41 Maxim. It was a stout field representing the best-of-the-best in the sport of sprint car racing, so getting off to a fast start was crucial. Gravel was wheeling the forty-one from the comfort of his ButlerBUILT Professional Seat System and turned in an incredible lap of 12.652 seconds the first time around the banking. That lap broke Craig Dollansky’s former track record sent back in 2002 at 12.707 seconds. He was hammer down searching around the track’s surface for a little more speed on his second and final lap. The master of speed from Watertown, Connecticut found some improving his time, and improving the New Track Record (NTR) with a blazing lap at 12.599 seconds. Both his laps broke the previous track record and netted him the Lincoln Welders Quick Time Award for the night. The humble driver predicted he was going to break it before the night began, but when interviewed quickly turned his attention to the important of the heat race.
There were five 8-lap heat races scheduled for the evening with the competitors in each race set by their fastest time trial lap. Only four would transfer to the feature at the finish. David would start fourth in the first Ford Performance heat race wheeling the Greber Racing Components/High Performance Lubricants #41 Maxim. Every participant in the field is accomplished at their trade, so there would be no desirable heat race as all were loaded with talent and speed. Kerry Madsen and Shane Stewart started on the front row with Gravel sharing row two with Jacob Allen. A formidable duo of Sheldon Haudenschild and Kyle Larson were in row three with Dominic Scelzi, Zeb wise, Travis Philo and Kraig Kinser rounding out the starting field. The track was still narrow and fast, so the start would be crucial for track position. When the green flag waved, Gravel pounded the speed button and drove around the outside of both front row starters through the first set of turns. He was flying and once he hit clean air he became a fighter pilot leading the field. He led the entire distance and took the heat race win over Shane Stewart and Kyle Larson with Kerry Madsen coming home fourth and Jacob Allen securing the final transfer position.
Next up on the evening’s racing agenda was the two 4-lap dash events in which the finishing order of each would set the starting lineup for the first five rows, the inside row for the first one and outside row for the second one, for the 30-lap Governors Reign preliminary night feature. David would start third in the second Elliott Custom Trailers Dash event aboard The Boyd Family/Engler Machine and Tool/Jansen Transportation #41 Maxim where he would share the row two with his Dietz Motorsports #14 teammate Parker Price-Miller to his outside. The front row was made up of James McFadden and Brent Marks with Shane Stewart and Carson Macedo starting from row three. When the racing went green it was McFadden to the lead with Gravel putting a slide job on Marks to take over the second position. Marks was not going to have and returned the favor as the two talented drivers raced cleanly. The four laps went by quickly on the lightning fast surface with McFadden taking the win over Marks, Gravel, and Price-Miller with Macedo and Stewart completing the finishing order.
The opening night, $10,000-to-win Governors Reign field was set at Eldora Speedway and would find David Gravel’s JJR #41 on the outside of row three starting from the sixth position. There were 15 miles between one of these drivers and the winner’s check and trophy on the first night of action. David had been the class of the field to this point and was eager to finish off his night strong. The front row was made up of two Australian wheelman, Kerry Madsen and James McFadden, with Donny Schatz and Brent Marks in row two. Gio Scelzi and Gravel were together in row three, with Sammy Swindell and Parker Price-Miller in row four. Brian Brown and Carson Macedo were in row five and Joey Saldana and Shane Stewart in row six. The front row starters brought the field screaming down the frontstretch to take the green flag as the race to the finish line commenced at the track built by Earl Baltes back in 1954. David drove the Weikert’s Livestock/Team Jack Foundation #41 Maxim into the top five and on lap 14 moved into the fourth position. McFadden had surrendered the lead to the hard charging Brent Marks in the CJB #5. Gravel was digging and as the fuel load burned off the forty-one was moving into the mix for the lead with Marks and Kerry Madsen. A caution on lap 20 for Aaron Reutzel who blew and right rear tire and got into the wall slowed the action and erased Marks lead. When they attempted to restart the race another caution was thrown this time for Sheldon Haudenschild who had a flat left rear after some on track contact. They would try again and Gravel came off turn four low and was making the pass on Madsen for the runner up position. Madsen, who exited turn four high, came across the track and made contact with Gravel sending the Connecticut driver spinning towards the inside wall. He made contact and rolled over easy on the side. When the track crew gently returned him to four wheels he headed to the work area where Philip, Clyde and Nate fixed the steering arm and other fine tuning before sending him out to rejoin the field. Marks had the field covered the remaining ten laps as he took the win over Madsen, Shane Stewart and 22 starting Logan Schuchart with Carson Macedo rounding out the top five. After a night of speed and precision, a bummed David Gravel brought the JJR #41 home with a 17 place finish. Certainly not the reward they were looking for after a solid night, but the team will now focus on Wednesday night’s Governors Reign finale that pays $52,000 to the victor. An impressive and heartbreaking night for the forty-one team, driver and fans!
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.