LEBANON, OREGON (September 4, 2019) – As David and the JJR #41 crew work their way down the West Coast towards California for action this weekend, they stopped at Willamette Speedway in Oregon for a mid-week high speed entertainment show at the fast and racy 3/10-mile oval. There were 17 cars entered to race for the winner’s share of the purse. Philip Dietz, Tyler Elliott and Patrick Dudzinski were working hard prior to the racing activities commencing to prepare the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/High Performance Lubricants #41 Maxim for competition.
The Watertown, Connecticut native would be the 15th car to push off for his two time trial laps. He got the J.R.C. Transportation/Tiger Towing #41 up to speed and took the green flag to start the clock. He ran clean lines and when he completed his first circuit around Willamette the clock read 11.597 seconds, which catapulted him into second on the speed charts. His second lap was slower at 11.872 seconds, but his first lap secured second quickest overall behind Brad Sweet’s time of 11.563 seconds on this night.
Earning the pole position in the second Drydene Heat Race, Gravel lined up on the front row beside Ian Madsen with Kraig Kinser, Donny Schatz, Jason Sides, Brent Marks, Austen Wheatley and Brian Boswell completing the starting lineup. When the green flag waved, the 2019 Knoxville Nationals winner drove into the top spot with Madsen and Schatz close behind. Gravel had the MVT/Winters Performance Products Maxim moving and when the eight laps were complete he took the checkers and heat race win over Donny Schatz who was followed across the finish line by Madsen and Marks with Kinser rounding out the top five.
By virtue of his heat race victory, Gravel had the JJR #41 entry back in the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash where he would start from the third starting spot. Brad Sweet sat on the pole with Shane Stewart to his outside as Gravel lined up beside Donny Schatz. Qualifying race winner Daryn Pittman and runner-up Ian Madsen made up row three for the 6-lap race. Sweet powered his way into the top spot when racing began as Gravel used his Kistler Engines power to drive underneath Shane Stewart into the runner-up position in early action. Sweet was carrying his speed in his NAPA Auto Parts #49 and building his lead as Gravel and the remainder of the field gave chase. Sweet would take the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash victory over Gravel with Schatz coming home third as Stewart, Pittman and Madsen completed the finishing order.
With the sun setting and night falling over the speedway, the eight minute horn sounded to summon the cars to the track to stage for the start of the 30-lap feature event. Brad Sweet and David Gravel made up the front row as the two drivers had proven their dominance up until this point of the night. The track’s surface had transitioned throughout the night and the high line appeared to be the fast lane of choice. When the green flag waved, Sweet made his way to the top as Gravel attempted to make the pass for the lead using the road less traveled on the bottom side entering turn three. Gravel could not make it stick and continued to chase Sweet from the runner-up position. The top two drivers were pulling away from the field and before you knew it they had caught up to the back of the field. Sweet and Gravel were gracefully navigating their way through lap traffic as Gravel was stuck to the rear nerf bar of Sweet’s #49. Gravel did not give up and dropped the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/K&N Filters #41 Maxim down to the bottom trying the seize the open track to make a pass. Sweet was carrying his speed off the top and Gravel just could not make it work on the bottom. With less than 10 laps to go the racing was fast and furious. The leaders had about a straightway lead on third place Ian Madsen, but they were mired in lap traffic. With 6 laps to go, Sweet got stuck behind Jessie Attard and Brent Marks who were battling for position in the high line. Gravel aggressively drove the JJR #41 down on the bottom and took advantage of the opportunity and took the lead coming off turn two and down the backstretch. He crossed the line in the top spot but Sweet then dove to the bottom and drove up across the track in turns one and two, almost making contact, to regain the lead. Gravel was relentless and fought back and tried to return the favor the next time around but ran out of space. He continue to tracked down Sweet over the final two laps, but Sweet controlled the lead and collected the win over Gravel with Ian Madsen rounding out the podium finishers. What an exciting race between two fierce competitors. Sitting on the frontstretch reflecting on the race winning pass for Sweet, Gravel explained, “Maybe just throw a bomb on him like he gave me back there.” He continued, “It’s just one of those things that you’ve got to put moves on guys to win these races. I was just a little nice. He put a big boy move on me and I should’ve done the same back.” Nonetheless, another great run for the forty-one at Willamette Speedway!
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.