SHEPHERD, MONTANA (August 24, 2019) – After loading up at Black Hills Speedway following their third place finish on Friday night, David Gravel along with Philip, Tyler and Patrick started their 5-hour trek westbound to Big Sky Speedway where the traveling speed entertainment group was bringing the stars of the sport to perform for the fans of Yellowstone County, Montana and surrounding areas on Saturday night at the 3/8-mile oval dirt track. There were 21 cars in attendance and the drivers ready to put their talents to the test against each other at Big Sky Speedway. One of those determined race cars was the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Dissolvalloy Downhole Revolution #41 Maxim driven by David Gravel, the 2019 Knoxville Nationals Champion.
Gravel would be the 14th driver out on the track for his two timed laps. When fellow traveler Brad Sweet completed his two speed circuits, David fired his Kistler Engines/Engler Machine & Tool, Inc. power and the forty-one was on the move. He used his right foot to get the motor talking his language as he took the green flag. He was cruising around Big Sky Speedway and stopped the clock at 12.172 seconds the first lap, and followed it up with a similar but slightly slower lap of 12.195 seconds the next time around. The quicker of his two laps was eighth quick overall when time trials were completed.
When the Drydene Heat Race lineups were posted, the Watertown, Connecticut speed chauffeur would start on the inside of row two aboard the Weikert’s Livestock/C&R Racing #41 Maxim alongside Brad Sweet, as the two talented drivers paced behind polesitter Ian Madsen and Jason Sides with Trever Kirkland, Mindy McCune and Jay Burns rounding out the starting grid. They slowly made their way down the backstretch in their two-by-two starting order and when they came out of turn four Ian Madsen powered into the lead with Gravel right behind moving into the second spot in the running order. Madsen was in control as Gravel was fending off challenges from Sides and Sweet for the coveted second position, which advances the finisher into the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash. Gravel would have none of it as he controlled the spot as he followed heat race winner Ian Madsen across the finish line with Sweet coming home third followed by Sides, Kirkland, McCune and Burns.
Making his way into the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash, he was poised to run well and set himself up for a great night. The lineup for the 6-lap race to determine starting positions for the feature was set. Logan Schuchart would start from the pole position with Gravel’s J.R.C. Transportation/High Performance Lubricants #41 Maxim Racing entry to his outside. The front row starters were followed by Sheldon Haudenschild, Donny Schatz, Carson Macedo and Ian Madsen. Schuchart jumped out into the lead as he would battle with Gravel early before checking out on the field. Gravel continued to chase and ran second to Schuchart who took the win by 2.687 seconds as Haudenschild, Schatz, Macedo and Madsen completed the finishing order.
Securing a front row starting position for the 35-lap feature, Gravel came back into the pit area with focused and ready information to share with his crew to help make the car better. Philip, Tyler and Patrick went to work executing their jobs based on the information when officials accelerated the pace of the night when they moved the sprint car feature up before the street stock feature due to weather making its way into the area. Lightning could be seen off in the distance when the engines fired. Gravel rolled onto the front row in the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Durst Inc. #41 and was ready to get going. When the green flag waved, it was Logan Schuchart driving into the lead as Gravel dove low entering turn one followed by Haudenschild and Schatz. Before a lap was completed the yellow was displayed for the slowing car of Mitchell Burns. When they went back to green the racing at the front was exciting. The top four were racing hard, sometimes three and four cars wide entering the turns, fighting for positions. They were putting on a show for the fans to insure no one even thought about asking for their admission money back. Gravel never surrendered the runner-up position, but the race leader had used the opportunity to build his lead. After tracking down lap traffic on lap 6, Schuchart, Gravel and some of the front runners were navigating their way forward. As the laps clicked down Gravel started finding speed on the bottom and was closing in on the leader as they raced through the traffic. When racing resumed, it continued to be a three car battle for the lead between Schuchart, Gravel and Schatz. It was exciting. Schuchart held point at the front until lap 19 when David Gravel moved the Team Jack Foundation/Mark Burch Motorsports #41 Maxim into the lead as they made their way through more lap traffic. Gravel had found something on the bottom of the track and was in command when another yellow came out for Travis Reber on lap 20. When they restarted, Gravel started to put some distance between himself and Schuchart who was now embroiled in a fierce battle with Donny Schatz for the runner-up position. While those two ultra-talented drivers put on a show, the Watertown, Connecticut driver built his own lead. He was hitting his marks and doing a tremendous job working his way through groups of cars racing for positions further back in the running order. With three laps to go, Jay Burns spun bringing out the final caution of the race erasing Gravel’s 4.6 second lead. He was focused and had the forty-one at the front of the single file restart order. When the green flag waved again, he dragged raced Schuchart down the front straightaway and drove solidly through turns one and two around the inside lane. He was in control and took the white flag indicating one to go and raced his way around Big Sky Speedway one last time. He took the checkers to collect his ninth win of the 2019 season, and his 46th career World of Outlaw victory, over Schuchart, Schatz and Haudenschild with Sweet rounding out the top five.
The jubilant driver of the JJR #41 celebrated atop his Vortex Racing Products top wing in victory lane with confetti flying and lightning bolts lighting up the dark sky in the background. He smiled as he said, “It has been an awesome year! To win the Knoxville Nationals and be strong with a second and third and a win here since then . . . it’s been great.” He continued, “The top was dominant all night. It was better running second there. I found the bottom and took the chance to go down there and it felt really good. I poked my nose of him (Schuchart) one time and luckily got by him before he knew I was running the bottom.” He concluded by stating, “We (the JJR #41 crew) were working all night on this car, struggling to find a balance and with the weather and getting this done before the Street Stocks, we were thrashing. These guys gave me a great race car. Just have to thank them for putting me in contention.” Another great run for Gravel and the forty-one!
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.