SARVER, PENNSYLVANIA (September 28, 2019) – The last time David and the JJR #41 team visited Lernerville Speedway back on July 23, they all left with smiles on their faces as they won the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup race. After a late night in Eldora following the rain and a seventh place finish, the crew was trucking Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT) style as they rolled into western Pennsylvania to visit the racy track located just north of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania where the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates and the term “yinz” dominate the conversations. There were 32 cars sitting in the pit area located behind turns three and four at the track. It was go time in the Pittsburgh area.
When hot laps were completed track officials made an initial attempt to get time trial qualifying completed, but a few drivers before David Gravel was slated to push out the rain began to fall. They continued, but when David rolled onto the track the moisture took over the surface halting time trials. David headed back to the pit area and when the rain stopped the track crew had to rerun in the surface and the drivers started back with hot laps and redid qualifying over from the beginning. Gravel was ready to get up to speed aboard his Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Winters Performance Products #41 Maxim. The track was still very fast with the times all in the low thirteen second bracket when Gravel set the new quick mark for the night with his first lap of 12.994 seconds. He ran the first lap around the cushion the entire way, but on the second lap he whisked around turns one and two on the top side and then ran through the middle of three and diamond off turn four to improve his time with a lap of 12.972 seconds. That lap secured his 18th quick time overall on the season in World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series competition.
Claiming the pole position in the first Drydene heat race, Philip Dietz and the JJR #41 crew got the Engler Machine & Tool/All Pro Aluminum Cylinder Heads Maxim prepared for 8 laps around the 4/10-mile track with high banking and no walls. He would share the front row with Robbie Kendall with Brent Marks and Shane Stewart in row two, Kerry Madsen and Carl Bowser in row three, and Dan Kuniger and Jeremy Hill in row four. David powered his way out of his inside front row starting spot into the lead as they crossed under the waving green flag. Kendall drove hard into turn one and tried to slide the leader to no avail as the Watertown, Connecticut chauffeur drove around the top and was in the front and creating dirty air behind him. He was making tracks and not looking back. In fact, David ran four laps during the race which was quicker than his top time trial lap with his fastest heat race lap coming in at 12.817 seconds. He led the race from start to finish as Stewart came home second followed by Kendall and Marks with Madsen securing the fifth and final transfer position to the A-Main from the first heat race.
Earning a spot in the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash is an important part of the success formula each night in these WoO races. The next crucial step is to pull a low number out of the can which determines where you will start the race whose finishing order establishes the starting lineup for the first four row of the feature. This is magnified when the track is as fast as Lernerville was after the rain. Unfortunately, David pulled the ‘7’ pill and would start on the inside of row four for the six lap dash. Series point leader Brad Sweet would start on the front row with Ian Madsen with Brian Brown and Shane Stewart in row two. Donny Schatz sat in row three with Jacob Allen as Gravel shared row four with a local hero and Aliquippa native Tim Shaffer. Sweet jumped into the lead at the onset with Schatz and Gravel driving forward. Sweet was in control over the entire distance of the dash, but Schatz gained three spots to finish second ahead of Stewart and Madsen. David gained two spots to finish fifth as Brown, Shaffer and Allen completed the finishing order.
The double horns sounded and the pit crews rolled their cars and drivers back away from their trailer gates and worked them towards the track in front of a packed house at Lernerville Speedway for the 35-lap Commonwealth Clash feature event. As Tyler Elliott drove away on the four wheeler after pushing his driver onto the track, David sat in his Sharp Advantage Custom Fitted Seat patiently awaiting a push to get started. With a slight tap on his rear bumper his Kistler Engines power came to life and he was rolling in the Weikert’s Livestock/Jonestown KOA #41 Maxim. With fireworks going off on the front straightaway during the World of Outlaws’ traditional salute to the fans, Johnny Gibson and this traveling tour of speed professionals had the packed crowd excited for some NOS Energy Drink sprint car racing World of Outlaws style! Brad Sweet wasted little time taking ownership of the top spot with Schatz right there if he bobbled. The top two competitors were battling hard for position from the get go. A few early cautions one for Clay Riney and A.J. Flick slowed the action and gave Schatz a chance to gain the lead on the double file restarts. Sweet though was determined to hold the lead. Sweet and Schatz continued their battle, but there was some other exciting action right behind as Ian Madsen, Shane Stewart and David Gravel were in a fierce battle for who could own the show position. At times they were three wide with each owning the position momentarily over the other two depending where they were racing around the track. With all the action it was hard to focus on just one thing. The caution flew with 19 laps in and misfortune struck second running Schatz as he slowed with mechanical issues. Schatz’s untimely misfortune was bittersweet, but Stewart inherited a front row spot for the restart. He now had his shot at race leader Sweet. Sweet would have none of it and drove into the lead with Stewart and Gravel giving chase. David was able to drive forward and get close to Stewart. At times it appeared he was poised to make a pass for the runner-up position, but when Sweet took the double waving checkers Stewart came home second with Gravel securing a third place finish to round out the podium.
A Podium Finish in the Commonwealth Clash at Lernerville Speedway in Western Pennsylvania!
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.