PLYMOUTH, INDIANA (September 24, 2020) – After rained washed out their first attempt to race at Plymouth Speedway back on August 2, David Gravel and the stars of the World of Outlaw NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series returned on Thursday night to race at the semi-banked 3/8-mile track nestled in the countryside near South Bend. David Gravel knows how to win here as he was the last driver to stand in victory lane back on April 28, 2017, when the World of Outlaws last visited the track. The event kicked off a triple header weekend of Outlaw competition that would take the traveling teams and their stars from Plymouth Speedway in Indiana to Wayne County Speedway in Ohio and then onto Lernerville Speedway in Pennsylvania in three consecutive nights. As the fall breeze flowed through the Midwest skies, 33 teams were parked in the pit area at Plymouth Speedway’s “Playground of Power” ready to put on a high quality show for the fans in the stands.
By the luck of the random draw, the Watertown, Connecticut chauffeur would be the eighth driver to roll onto the surface for his two time trial laps at speed. Before the rains came back in August, Donny Schatz set a new track record with a blistering lap of 11.061 seconds in his Ford Performance #15. When the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Engler Machine & Tool/Maxim Racing #41 got rolling and Gravel passed the flagstand, the second hand started to click on the stopwatch. He was working to find the fastest line and 11.704 seconds later the clocked stopped following his first of two laps at speed. He continued his speed forward and was consistent the second time around with a slightly better lap of 11.590 seconds. The forty-one driver’s best lap resulted in him being eleventh quick overall and positioned him and the JJR team for the remainder of the night.
David Gravel would get rolling from the third position in the third Drydene Heat Race aboard the Greber Racing Components (GRC)/Fuel Safe Racing Cells #41 Maxim. The heat race lineup was splattered with talent as defending series champ Brad Sweet was on the front row with Hunter Schuerenburg and Tyler Courtney to Gravel’s outside in row two. Max Stambaugh and Brinton Marvel made up row three, with Scotty Thiel and Shawn Dancer filling in row four. The race for qualifying would be 10 laps, with the top two finishers headed to the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash and the following three finishers locking into the evening’s feature event. When the green flag dropped over the field, Gravel used his Kistler Engines power to drive off the inside of row two and into turn one at Plymouth Speedway. The low side was filled with traffic and Tyler Courtney used the high line to avoid it. He moved into third relegating Gravel to fourth as Courtney immediately started to work on Schuerenburg for the runner-up position. Sweet was checked out and led from wire-to-wire to take the win. The hard-charging Courtney made his way into the second spot as Schuerenburg held onto third over Gravel and Marvel to round out the five transfers from heat three.
Missing out on a transfer position into the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash, David and the JJR #41 team would wait for the remainder of qualifying to get completed and assess how the track conditions were changing so they could prepare their setup for the 35-lap World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series feature event at Plymouth Speedway. They would have some work to do as they would get started from the 15th starting spot on a track that was proving that passing was going to be at a premium. The winner of the Governors Reign feature the night before climbed into the High Performance Lubricants/Chalk Stix Torsion Bars #41 and prepared for action. Polesitter Gio Scelzi brought the field to the green, but it was third starting Sheldon Haudenschild who led the first circuit. Scelzi would seize it back the next time around as the NOS Energy Drink #17 driver kept the pressure on the leader. Meanwhile, David Gravel was stuck back in the swirling dirty air battling to try to maintain his position. The passing lanes were few and far between and the bottom line was the preferred line for many. Scelzi led through the halfway point of the race before Haudenschild flexed his muscles and retook the lead on lap 18. The talented second generation driver held hat lead until misfortune struck the leader forcing him to surrender the lead as he headed to the work area and would be unable to rejoin with mechanical issues. Donny Schatz inherited the lead as he made his way by Scelzi before the yellow was displayed. Gravel would restart from the 15 position and use the remaining fifteen laps to see if he could gain some track position. Schatz led the field back to green flag racing as Gravel methodically started to move forward. David was able to move up as far as eleventh by the time the checkered flag flew over Schatz who collected his fourth win of the season over Brad Sweet, James McFadden and Jacob Allen with Tyler Courtney completing the top five. A challenging night for the forty-one team, but they will put it behind them and get back at it on Friday night when they visit Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, Ohio. If you can’t be at the track to see the stars of the sport, tune in to catch all of the action on DIRTVision!
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.