PEVELY, MISSOURI (August 2, 2019) – On an almost picture perfect day in Missouri, David Gravel and the Jason Johnson Racing (JJR) #41 team stayed in the team’s home state for two consecutive nights of high speed racing action at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55, often referred to as just Pevely or simply I-55, on Friday night. There were 26 World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series competitors lining the pit area that sits outside the track just over turn two and the backstretch to take their shot at the demanding 1/3-mile, high banked oval in the running of the Night Before the Ironman.
As luck would have it, the JJR team and their Connecticut speed chauffeur would pull the highest number at the pill draw which only meant he would be the last car out to entertain the fans with his two time trial laps. An opportunity of sorts to keep the fans in their seats throughout qualifying. The track was fast at Pevely on this night as Logan Schuchart went out and broke Stevie Smith’s 17 year old track record of 10.189 seconds with his own impressive lap of 10.115 seconds. David Gravel pushed off in the infield and rolled up onto the track between turns one and two. His Kistler Engines power came to life and he was up to speed in the LogoDaddy Graphics/KSE Racing Products #41 Maxim when he took the green. While the cars driving on the nearby Interstate 55 were only going 65 mph, Gravel was not as his first lap was a good one at 10.212 seconds. He was on the move. He stayed on the speed button and turned a consistent, but slightly slower second lap, at 10.313 seconds the second time around, but his first lap was good enough for second quick overall.
Earning the pole position for the second Drydene heat race with his time trial effort, Gravel shared the front row with Missouri native Hunter Schuerenburg for the 10-lap race. The front two drivers were followed by Sheldon Haudenschild, Jacob Allen, Tim Shaffer, Jason Sides, Kerry Madsen, Andrew Scheuerle and Steve Short on the starting grid. When the green flag dropped, Schuerenburg used the moisture in the high groove to quickly drive into the lead over Gravel and Haudenschild. The leader was sailing as Gravel maneuver the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Dissolvalloy Downhole Revolution #41 trying to find the fast way around in his pursuit of the leader. Schuerenburg would take the heat race win over Gravel by 1.974 seconds, with those two locking into the dash, as Haudenschild came home third with Shaffer, Allen and Madsen locking down the final three transfer positions.
The WoO officials summoned the top two in each of the three Drydene heat races to the frontstretch to draw for their starting positions in the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash. With the one and five pill remaining, Gravel chose the higher of the two meaning he would start on the inside of row three from the fifth starting spot in the Weikert’s Livestock/High Performance Lubricants #41 Maxim, leaving the pole position for the 10-time WoO champion Donny Schatz. Schatz sat on the front row with Schuerenburg as Brad Sweet and Kraig Kinser paced behind them, with Gravel and Logan Schuchart in row three. Schuerenburg again used his outside starting position to drive into the lead over Schatz as Gravel and Schuchart were battling for their position on the track. Schuerenburg led the distance and collected the dash victory over Schatz, Sweet and Kinser as Schuchart and Gravel rounded out the finishing order.
The field was set for Friday night’s Night Before the Ironman 35-lap event. The air horn sounded alerting the teams and drivers there were just eight minutes to finalize last minute adjustments, get in their cars and get them to the track for staging. Gravel climbed into the cockpit in his Simpson Race Products driver’s suit and buckled into the J.R.C. Transportation/Team Jack Foundation #41 Maxim Racing entry. The 24 cars sat on the track idle and waited for push trucks to pull in behind them to fire their engines. It was time to go racing at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in the Night Before the Ironman! When the initial green flag waved it was waved off when polesitter Hunter Schuerenburg jumped too early. Sweet and Schuerenburg swapped starting spots and on the next restart Sweet drove into the lead over Schatz. The racing action here at I-55 is crazy fast and super exciting. Gravel was steering his way around the top, but if he had a rear view mirror it would have been filled with cars waiting to get by him. Sheldon Haudenschild, Carson Macedo, and Rico Abreu were all anxious to make their moves in their wicked fast race cars. Gravel would fall back as far as ninth in the early and middle stages of the races, while Sweet continued to lead the race. With 12 laps to go, the tenacious driver of the forty-one had enough and started to march forward again in his Maxim Racing machine. A red flag for Carson Macedo, who flipped in turns one and two late in the race, slowed the field and gave the drivers a chance to breathe. Gravel had made his way back up to fifth by this point of the race and was starting to close the gap between himself and fourth running Logan Schuchart before the red flag was displayed. When racing resumed, Sweet was doing his best to hold off Haudenschild as Gravel was preparing to see if he could continue his forward arsenal against the competition. He drove hard but crossed the finish line in a close fifth place as Schuchart just beat him back to the line as Sweet won his twelfth feature of the year over Haudenschild and Schatz. After the race Gravel stated, “That was good preparation for tomorrow night.” He continued positively, “We had a fast car and just need to be a little better and we will be good.” Another good run for the forty-one!
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.