STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA (September 13, 2019) – David Gravel and the JJR #41 team arrived in Stockton with the traveling show of speed and excitement known as the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series for the NOS Energy Drink Showdown at the 3/8-mile dirt oval. The track promoters and crew had water on the surface and worked hard to prepare the track for a great night of racing action with 22 cars in the pit area. Philip Dietz, along with Tyler Elliott and Patrick Dudzinski, rolled the Walter Performance Filtration #41 Maxim Racing machine out of the trailer to ready it for racing action on this beautiful California day.
The Watertown, Connecticut native would roll out 16th for his two laps against the clock aboard the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/All Pro Auto Reconditioning #41. The track was lightning fast as a few drivers who went out before him had already broken the previous track record. The potent Kistler Engines power plant under the hood came to life as Gravel dropped his right foot and elevated his elbows. The forty-one was flying as Gravel was hitting all of his marks. With the dirt spraying off his Hoosier Racing Tires as he exited turn four, he powered his way across the timing stripe and he now was the new track record holder with an impressive lap of 12.561 seconds the first time around. His fastest lap would not withstand the test of time at the top of the scoring pylon though as 10-Time World of Outlaws champion, Donny Schatz, was the last car out and on his second lap vaulted the #15 to the top of the speed charts with a lap of 12.543 seconds. Gravel was second quick on the night turning a lap just less the two one-hundredths of a second off Schatz’s top speed.
There would be three 8-lap Drydene heat races with the top two finishers each advancing to the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash. David would start on the pole of the second heat race in the J.R.C. Transportation/High Performance Lubricants #41 with Washingtonian Austen Wheatley sharing the front row with him. The top two drivers paced the field ahead of Kraig Kinser, Rico Abreu, Brad Sweet, Brent Marks and Shane Stewart. Wheatley would race into the lead at the start of the heat race using the outside line to build and carry his speed forward with Gravel right behind. The speeds and racing were incredibly fast and the laps were clicking down quickly. Gravel continue to chase the ultra-fast and smooth Wheatley. He was able to close the gap, but unable to catch him as Wheatley took the win over Gravel with Abreu coming home in the show position and Kinser and Sweet rounding out the top five.
Earning a shot to improve his starting spot for the feature in the 6-lap DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash, Gravel pulled the ‘3’ pill which put him on the inside of row two to start the race aboard the Durst Inc./Tiger Towing #41 Maxim with Logan Schuchart on his outside. The front row of Austen Wheatley and Jacob Allen brought the six drivers to the green flag with Wheatley holding down the top spot and Allen in tow. Gravel was in a spirited duel with Schuchart for the third spot with Jason Sides and Donny Schatz giving chase. Wheatley would continue his strong night of racing by taking the dash win over Allen. Logan Schuchart came home third ahead of Gravel, Sides and Schatz.
When the dash concluded, the 30-lap NOS Energy Drink Showdown starting lineup was set. The 2019 Knoxville Nationals champion would start on the outside of row two in the race for the winner’s $20,000 share in the Walker Performance Filtration/Weikert’s Livestock #41 Maxim. The field was rolled out onto the track and the fans were ready for some entertainment World of Outlaws style! When the green flag dropped it was Jacob Allen driving into the lead over Wheatley, Schuchart and Gravel. Gravel was racing wheel-to-wheel with Logan Schuchart for the third spot. The two talented chauffeurs were putting on an exciting show for the fans lap after lap as Allen legged out and built a pretty good lead at the front of the pack. The race for third was fierce over the first 10 laps before Gravel made a bold move and turned his Weld Racing wheels underneath both Schuchart and Wheatley to take over the runner-up spot. His car was working well on the bottom, especially through turns one and two, and he was now peering through the shield of his Simpson Race Products helmet at leader Jacob Allen. Allen was fast and caught the back of the field and was now mired in lap traffic. Gravel was closing the gap and was getting closer to the leader with each completed circuit. Logan Schuchart meanwhile was closing in quick too. The top three in the running order were right there racing hard together nose-to-tail with Allen using the low lane to get around. Gravel was right there and attempted to make a pass for the lead on the high side and caught the cushion a bit allowing Schuchart to slip by into the runner-up position, which turned out to be the move that cost Gravel his chance at the win. With seven laps to go there was a caution and the field reset and restarted in single file order. Allen again took off in the lead with Schuchart, Gravel and now Schatz in hot pursuit. Schatz moved into third ahead of Gravel. With two laps to go there was heartbreak for Allen who was leading as he slowed and pulled to the infield with engine issues after an incredible run that had everyone was cheering for him to collect his first WoO victory. Schuchart inherited the lead and then raced to the win over Schatz as Gravel wheeled his forty-one to a third place finish. The intense podium finisher, who is always hard on himself as he is ultra-competitive, reflected, “I kind of punched myself in the head there after that (attempt).” He continued, “I tried to pass Jacob on the top going into one and two, ended up giving the spot to Logan.” A third place finish is something to celebrate when you are racing against the best in the business night-in and night-out. Another great run for Gravel and the forty-one at Stockton!
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.