WILMOT, WISCONSIN (July 11, 2020) – After trucking 4 hours north to Wilmot Raceway following Friday night’s racing action at 34 Raceway, the JJR #41 team was looking to continuing their momentum and recent success aboard the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Weikert’s Livestock #41 Maxim Racing speed machine. Wilmot Raceway is a semi-banked 1/3-mile track located to the north of Chicago just off the shores of Lake Michigan. David Gravel has enjoyed past success at this track as he logged three previous victories back in 2014, 2016 and 2017. So needless to say, the driver and the team pulled in the pit gates with their confidence brimming with positivity and anticipation. There were 29 teams registered to get at it at Wilmot Raceway on this Saturday evening in the Badger State.
In sprint car racing the driver only gets two time trial laps to put up their best and fastest speed. In order to do well these two solo laps around the track bring together everything for the driver and team – knowledge, skills, talents, setup and preparation for success. Every component and contributing factor is magnified and important because sometimes the difference between the best and the worst is measured on the stopwatch in tenths of a second, so any gap or mistake in any of these areas can change the complexion of your night. When David pulled on his Simpson Race Products helmet and gloves he was all business and ready to showcase his talent as the 12th driver out on the track. With his safety belts secured tightly he powered to speed in the High Performance Lubricants/All Pro Auto Reconditioning #41 to take the green. He was hustling and it showed with a first lap time of 13.183 seconds. He was relentless and stayed on the loud pedal the next time around, this time turning in a quicker lap of 13.127 seconds, which was just a little slower than Brad Sweet who took over the top spot just before David hit the track. The quicker of his two circuits ended up 2nd quick overall on the night.
With time trials completed, next up were the 10-lap Drydene Heat Races where David would line up on the pole in the second of three heat race event in the J.R.C. Transportation/Engler Machine & Tool/FK Shocks #41. The field was stacked with talent like Carson Macedo to his outside and names like the previous night’s winner at 34 Raceway Parker Price-Miller, always fast Sheldon Haudenschild and tenacious Logan Schuchart behind the front row. When the green flag waved it was Gravel to the lead over Macedo when they crossed the starting line, but the Californian dove low entering turn one and rode the momentum on exit out of turn two into the lead. It was Macedo in front with Gravel and Price-Miller giving chase. Macedo was loving the clean air in the Kyle Larson Racing (KLR) #2 as Gravel wheeled the Jason Johnson Racing (JJR) #41 from the runner-up position. Macedo would take the win over Gravel as Price-Miller, Schuchart, Haudenschild, and Paul Nienhiser secured the remaining transfer positions from the heat race.
With weather moving into the area World of Outlaws (WoO) and track officials kept the show moving along. Next up for David Gravel and the JJR team was the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash. Gravel would start from the outside of row two with the Jason Sides to his inside for the 8-lap event. Carson Macedo was on the pole with Daryn Pittman to his outside, as Scotty Thiel and Brad Sweet made up row three. Macedo darted into the lead when the green lights illuminated, but on lap two Gravel made the move of the race as he found some space between Sides and Pittman to fit the forty-one to take over the runner-up spot. He was wheeling and dealing inside his Maxim Racing machine and was trying to reel in Macedo. He ran out of laps as Macedo took the win with Gravel coming home second followed by Pittman, Sweet and Sides with Thiel rounding out the finishing order.
It was now time for the running of the Badger 40 at Wilmot Raceway. This 40-lap feature event is what the fans were waiting for and the only event of the night that earns the drivers any money. Mother Nature was cooperating and the field was set. Gravel would start from the outside front row aboard the High Performance Lubricants, LLC/Team Jack Foundation #41. Macedo held the pole position so he earned the right to be the first on the accelerator when the green flag waved. After their traditional four-wide salute to the fans, it was time to go racing. The drivers were given the one lap to go sign and when the flagman unfurled the green flag it was Gravel driving off the top side into the lead over Macedo. With one lap in the books the first of many reds was displayed as Kyle Schuett was upside down. When racing resumed, it was again the driven Connecticut-born driver in the JJR #41 driving into the lead. Philip Dietz gave him a safe and fast car and the talented driver was using it. With two laps in the books another red flag was displayed, this time for Sheldon Haudenschild who bicycled into turn one which started a series of flips. Not only was the driver ok, but the crew did a fantastic job fixing a lot of broken parts in the work area to get him back out on the track. Gravel again showed the way when they went back to racing before another red flag was thrown for Brayton Lynch who crashed collecting Mason Daniel. Officials used this time for an open red flag so crew could top off the tanks and make minor adjustments.
Moving to a single file restart due to narrow track conditions enabled Gravel clear site lines on the restart. He used the open track to connect his Kistler Engines horsepower to his Hoosier Racing Tires to create speed. The field was finally stringing some high speed laps together and Gravel was building his lead over Macedo. Brad Sweet had worked his way into the show position and was lurking ready to move forward. Smoke started to stream from the NAPA Auto Parts #49 and with 23 laps to go Sweet slowed to a stop in turn four bringing out the caution. HE could not make repairs to rejoin the field, so when they went back to racing is was Gravel competing with Macedo, Pittman, Schatz and Schuchart. The talented driver of the forty-one was up on the wheel and Macedo was in control of the runner-up spot. The race was for third at this point, but that was all behind them as they had their own work to do at the front of the pack. With five laps to go Macedo was closing the gap on the leader as he was fast and furious in pursuit. Gravel took the white flag and had a third of a mile between him and the black and white waving cloth. He encountered lap traffic which slowed his speed, but he had built enough of a lead to earn his second victory of the disrupted season by 0.375 seconds over Macedo who ran a great race. Logan Schuchart charged from his eleventh starting position to round out the podium in third as Donny Schatz and Daryn Pittman competed the top five. A jubilant driver and team in victory lane, his fourth in nine WoO races held there, explained, “This has been an awesome town for me.” He continued, “It is always awesome to come here. For some reason this place suits me really well. Philip gave me a great race car. The guys have been working really hard. I’ve been pretty hard to make happy here lately and tonight they did that.”
It was a big night for the team collecting the win, but Philip Dietz also achieved a great accomplishment becoming one of the few crew chiefs to ever win back-to-back nights with two different drivers and teams as Parker Price-Miller led every lap at 34 Raceway on Friday night in the Dietz Motorsports #14 that he and his wife Brooke own. The always humble Dietz stated, “It feels great. It’s kind of been a struggle the last few months to find good balance. I feel like we’ve hit on something lately. It definitely showed last night with Parker and I feel like we were able to apply come of those things to David’s car. It definitely showed.”
All the success and celebration was captured by Jaxx Johnson during his wing celebration with David Gravel as the confetti was falling. He simply said, “That’s how we do it!” which is so true and brought smiles to the many faces in victory lane!
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.