NEW RICHMOND, WISCONSIN (July 2, 2020) – The JJR #41 team, along with their driver David Gravel, headed to Wisconsin for the July Fourth weekend to race in Cedar Lakes Speedway’s 3-day Independence Day Spectacular! The Badger State, which got that nickname back in the 1800s when miners were searching for lead ore and dug tunnels into the hillside where they sometimes lived while working, is now filled with dirt track racing enthusiasts who love when the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series comes to town. The sprint cars stars of the series were joined by their late model partners for the entire weekend at the 3/8-mile oval. There were 30 sprint cars lining the pit area ready to put on a show for the fans!
Wednesday format was a little bit different as all of the drivers would time trial for the Friday and Saturday portion of the weekend and then run the first ever Elimination Showdown feature in Word of Outlaws history. For that event, the top 16 qualifiers in time trials were locked in with the top 12 inverted. The final four drivers would have to earn their way into the Elimination Showdown through the Last Chance Showdown.
David climbed into his Sharp Advantage custom fitted seat and buckled in for his two laps at speed around Cedar Lake Speedway to qualify for the Friday portion of the show. He would be the 24th driver out on the track and when he hit the surface his right foot dropped on the accelerator unleashing all of the horsepower in his Kistler Engines/Engler Machine & Tool power plant. With his elbows up he searched and maneuvered to find the fastest way around the oval. He completed his first attempt against the stopwatch with a time of 11.571 seconds. He stayed on the hammer and carried his speed through the corners and down the straightaways. His second lap came was better at 11.471 seconds which put him in the top ten. When qualifying concluded the faster of his two laps was 9th quick overall on the night.
After the late models completed their first set of qualifying, the sprint cars would be back on the track to time trial for the Saturday portion of the show. Gravel would be the first car out on the track driving the Dissolvalloy Downhole Revolution/ISC Racers Tape #41. He wasted little time showing off his speed as he hammered the loud pedal and his first lap came in at 11.690 seconds. His second lap was slightly slower at 11.978 seconds, but the first lap on the track by the Watertown, Connecticut native withstood the test of time and he earned quick time for Saturday night.
As they moved into the Thursday portion of the event there would be no Drydene heat races. Gravel would start fourth aboard the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/High Performance Lubricants #41 Maxim in the inaugural Elimination Showdown. This unique race format would have four distinct segments with the first three segments consisting of 5 laps with the last four cars being eliminated to dwindle the field down following each segment. The final segment would be 8 laps putting the top 8 cars left against each other for the $3,000 winner’s check.
When the green flag dropped over the first segment, polesitter Daryn Pittman drover into the lead with Donny Schatz, Paul Nienhiser and Gravel giving chase. David was using the outside of the track to build speed and race at the front of the pack. The track was fast for everyone resulting in very little passing as the top four finished that way. Following the first elimination segment, Shane Stewart, Mason Daniel, Jake Blackhurst and Dominic Scelzi were done for the night.
Down to 16 cars, the second segment went green with Pittman controlling the top spot over Schatz. Gravel was racing hard in the MVT/Waco Metal #41 with Nienhiser trying to wrestle the show position away. The laps go away quick with these high powered machines and at the end the top four stayed the same in the running order with Jacob Allen holding on to the fifth position. The cars and drivers eliminated in this segment were Ian Madsen, Bill Balog, Logan Schuchart, and Scotty Thiel.
As the third segment was preparing to roll, now down to 12 competitors, Gravel was hoping his Hoosier Racing Tires would dig in to the track’s surface and give him some forward drive to gain some spots on the track. When the yellow lights turned to green it was again Pittman driving the Roth #83 into the lead comfortably over Schatz. Carson Macedo made a strong move to drive into third as he passed both Gravel and Nienhiser on entry to turn one. When the checkered flag flew over the third segment Pittman stayed at the top with Schatz, Macedo, Nienhiser and Gravel rounding out the top five. The final four cars not making the cut were Brad Sweet, Parker Price-Miller, Kraig Kinser and Tim Kaeding.
The final eight drivers would race in the final segment, this time being 8 laps, to see of anyone could catch and pass Pittman who was dominant throughout the event to this point. When the green flag waved, Pittman held point as Sheldon Haudenschild drove from sixth to third with a bold and clean move as he now set his sights on the front two. Gravel was running in the sixth position when the only yellow of the event was displayed as Nienhiser’s right rear exploded. In this race format all restarts were double file. When they got up to speed again it was Pittman, Schatz and Haudenschild wheeling as Gravel was now running in the fifth position. Pittman would take the win and the money as he beat Schatz and Haudenschild with Macedo and Gravel rounding out the top five.
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.