KNOXVILLE, IOWA (June 12, 2020) – David Gravel and the JJR #41 team were back at Knoxville Raceway with smiles on their face as they prepared for two nights of racing action at the Marion County Fairgrounds in the Brownells Big Guns Bash with the Dissolvalloy Downhole Revolution/Winters Performance Products #41. When the checkered flag flew here on May 8th when they returned to racing, Gravel and the JJR boys were standing in victory lane in front of no fans. The JJR #41 team with a new Maxim Racing machine displaying the In Memory of Jason Johnson decal on both sides of the hood, along with 52 other teams, were back in the pit area at the “Sprint Car Capital of the World” ready to put on a show . . . this time in front of fans at Knoxville Raceway!
Philip Dietz, the crew chief of the JJR #41, dialed in the setup for the driver of the All Pro Reconditioning/Greber Racing Components Maxim and had it ready to create some speed. Gravel would be the sixth car out on the track in Flight A and when his Kistler Racing Engines came to life he mashed the loud pedal and released the power. He took the green at the famous half-mile oval and smoothly navigated around the black clay surface trying to find the fastest way around. When he crossed under the waving white flag the clock read a mid-15 second lap. He stayed the course and continued to search for speed and traction the next time around with the stopwatch now dropping and reading 15.002 seconds, which catapulted him to the top of the speed charts. The faster of his two laps against the clock was good enough for quick time overall on the night, which was his third in this interesting season.
His qualifying effort earned him the polo position in the first and fastest Drydene heat race, with the top two finishers advancing on to the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash. He would share the front row with Lynton Jeffrey with Carson Macedo and Kyle Larson poised behind them in row two. The JJR crew had the car ready to go for him aboard the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/High Performance Lubricants, LLC #41 Maxim for the 8-lap heat race. When Justin Clark waved the green flag, it was the Watertown, Connecticut driver using the low line to drive into the lead with Jeffrey battling with Larson and Macedo for position. The car was balanced and fast. The driver was showing off his talent and speed aboard the forty-one building a greater than 3 second lead before a yellow with 3 laps to go wiped out the gap. Always Fast Kyle Larson was now in the runner-up position with his eyes on the prized position that Gravel was in command of at the time. When the green flag waved again, Gravel got a great start and drove into one and out of turn two with the lead. He would take the heat race victory over Larson, Macedo ad Jeffrey with Jacob Allen racing hard to secure the final transfer position.
Capturing one of the all-important positions in the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash, Gravel was looking to change his luck when it came to pulling for his starting position out of the over-sized NOS Energy Drink can. Good fortune was looking down upon him as he pulled the ‘1’ pill this time. Rico Abreu would be his front row partner at the start with Shane Stewart, A.J. Moeller, Sammy Swindell, Ian Madsen, Kyle Larson and Donny Schatz rounding out the starting field. Gravel again jumped into the lead at the start and displayed his speed. Philip Dietz and the JJR crew had him motoring, but Schatz was on the move and making noise. He was navigating his way towards the front as Gravel cut through the clean air. Gravel would collect his first DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash victory of the season over Schatz, Abreu, Madsen and Stewart who completed the top five.
With the qualifying events in the books, the only thing that remained on the evening’s race agenda was the 25-lap NOS Energy Drink feature event. The crew topped off the fuel and bolted on their Hoosier Racing Tires looking to add to their exceptional performance record at the Knoxville Raceway. Gravel climbed into his office in his orange Durst, Inc. Simpson race suit and was determined and focused as he prepared to pilot the In Memory of Jason Johnson/Walker Performance Filtration #41 Maxim around the big half-mile oval at speed. The fans and drivers were ready to go and Gravel too the lead and led Schatz across the line to lead the first lap. The two talented drivers were dueling down the backstretch with Schatz leading slightly at the line on lap two. Gravel was running securely in the second position with Kyle Larson now chasing him down. With Schatz leading, Larson would slip by Gravel just before the red lights came on for Rico Abreu who flipped after getting over the cushion in turn one. When racing resumed Gravel and Ian Madsen were now battling for the show position. Gravel had it and Madsen wanted it. It was Gravel’s and he carried his speed forward to briefly get by Larson into the runner-up position on lap 7. Larson took that spot back the next time around and started to track down Donny Schatz, the 10-time World of Outlaw champion. Larson passed Schatz to take the lead on lap 10. David was running in the third spot with Ian Madsen and Carson Macedo now pressuring him for the position. Gravel maintained the position and with just under 10 laps to go had the cushion in turn one bite as he got sideways and almost wrecked, but not only did he miraculously save the car but he kept it running and also saved his position in the running order. Larson would take the win over Schatz and Gravel. It was David’s second straight podium finish, but he is hungry for his next win. A great run for the forty-one!
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; K&N Filters; 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.