KNOXVILLE, IOWA (June 13, 2020) – What is better than one night of racing action at Knoxville Raceway? Well that is easy, two nights of racing at the beautiful facility! After driving to a third finish on Friday night in the Weikert’s Livestock/Waco Metal #41 Maxim, David Gravel was back in the saddle of the JJR #41 for night two of the Brownells Big Guns Bash. There is always excitement around the Marion County Fairgrounds when there are sprint cars and haulers on the grounds in Marion County. On Saturday night there were again 53 teams registered to race for the winner’s check and the chance to stand on top of the podium at the “Sprint Car Capital of the World” in front of the fans who came out to see the stars of the sport!
The Watertown, Connecticut driver was primed and ready for action when it came time for qualifying around the fast and racy half-mile oval. David would be the 26th car out on the track for his two laps at speed out of 27 in Flight A. The tenacious competitor flipped the shield down on his Simpson Race Products helmet as pulled out on to the track. With the air now flowing over the top of his Vortex Racing Products wings he had the down force needed to maximize the rear tires bite into the black gumbo clay surface. He was locked and loaded as he cruised at speed in the Team Jack Foundation/AutoMeter #41 Maxim Racing machine. There is no room for error in this competitive field, especially when you go out late, so turning a great lap compared to a good lap is a matter of tenths of a second. The speed technician inside the cockpit of the forty-one was working hard to get the most out of his entry to chop tenths of a second off the clock and stopped it the first time around at 15.862 seconds. He kept searching and ran a clean line, but could only pick up a few hundredths the next time around at 15.850 seconds. When time trials for Flight A ended that lap was good enough for only 17th quick overall on the night making the rest of the night more challenging.
The cool and calm racer of the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Factory Kahne Shocks #41 would start pretty far back from the 9th position in the first heat race. Only the top five transfer on, so he would need some luck and be up on the wheel. The defending Knoxville Nationals champion had his game face on as he rolled onto the inside of row five ready to get his elbows up. When the green lights illuminated around the track as the flagman waved the green flag, Gravel dropped his right foot and accelerated down the front straightway. He dove low and whisked through the first set of turns. Brian Brown got sideways and Gravel moved into the sixth spot before a yellow was displayed making it all for naught. When they restarted, Rico Abreu led the field under the green and Gravel again drove into the sixth position. Rico was in command as Brian Brown gave chase with Gravel battling with Carson Macedo for the fifth and final transfer position. Gravel was on the inside heading down the backstretch and appeared to have the line before Macedo moved down to scrub off Gravel’s momentum not only negating a pass but also allowing Antony Macri the opportunity to steal back the sixth position. Abreu went on to take the win over Brian Brown, Lynton Jeffrey and Macedo with Donny Schatz coming home fifth. Gravel finished in 7th place.
The team and driver of The Boyd Family/Pro Powder Coating (PPC) #41 Maxim would have to earn their way into the only paying race of the night through the Last Chance Showdown where they would start seventh. McKenna Haase and Giovanni Scelzi were on the front row with Anthony Macri and Terry McCarl in row two. When the green flag waved over the 12-lap race, Gravel was aggressive and clean as he moved into the third position in the running order. He was fast and set his sights on tracking down Macri for the lead. Coming off turn two he had the low line and used his Kistler Racing Engines power to drive underneath him as the two were side-by-side heading into turn three. Gravel held his line and made the pass for the lead. He would hold that spot and take the win over Macri and Austin McCarl with Hunter Schuerenburg securing the fourth and final transfer spot in the event.
The team went to work immediately to make some changes to the Waco Metal/Buckwalter Trucking, LLC #41 Maxim to get to ready for the 30-lap NOS Energy Drink Brownells Big Guns Bash feature. He would start from the inside of row eleven, so he would need some speed and luck in order to make any gains. Polesitter Daryn Pittman jumped into the early lead as Gravel was fighting to make progress. The laps were clicking by and the leaders were coming as they were catching the back of the field. Daryn Pittman approach the initial pack with Gravel trying to make a pass he came off the cushion between one and two and made contact with the leader sending Pittman spinning into the outside wall and flattening the left rear tire of Gravel’s speed chariot. Gravel headed pit side and the crew changed the tire and made some adjustments. He rejoined the field and tagged the back of the field. Kyle Larson inherited the lead and was setting a torrid pace. Gravel kept digging for the balance of the race, but was only able to salvage a 19 place finish as Larson took the victory over Brad Sweet, Logan Schuchart and Carson Macedo with Sheldon Haudenschild charging to a fifth place finish. A rough night for the JJR #41 team but they will regroup and be back at it on Friday night at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Indiana. If you can’t make it out to the track, be sure to tune in via 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; 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.