MECHANICSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA (July 24, 2020) – With four races in five nights, Philip Dietz, Clyde Knipp and Nate Repetz were hustling in the heat all week. The heat and humidity was simply unrelenting which made their days long and hard away from the track. All too often the crew’s efforts go unnoticed by the fans as they humbly work extremely hard to accomplish their jobs before they even arrive at the track. Early morning maintenance. Late night car washes. Long drives to the next track. Success at the track does not happen just by showing up at the track. It is a direct result of everything preparation wise that happens when no one is looking away from the tracks. The ‘to-do’ task lists never get any shorter and the process repeats itself after each race day. After their 4th place finish in the Gettysburg Clash on Thursday evening at Lincoln Speedway, the JJR crew had smiles on their faces and were looking to continue to positive momentum to build on their consistency on the first of two nights of racing in the Champion Oil Summer Nationals at Williams Grove Speedway.
There were 35 teams registered at Williams Grove on this Friday evening ready to compete at the famous half mile oval to kick off the Summer Nationals. With both the inside and outside pit areas brimming with eager competitors, the drivers would all be in one group for time trials. David Gravel would be the 31st car out aboard the High Performance Lubricants, LLC/Buckwalter Trucking #41 for his two laps against the fast moving clock that was recording his precision and speed. He had his elbows up in his red Team Jack Foundation/Mark Burch Motorsports Simpson Race Products driver’s suit and was wheeling it from inside the cockpit of his Maxim Racing machine. His first lap was a really good one at 17.075 seconds, but he wanted more from his Kistler Engines power plant. It delivered as his WELD Racing wheels glistened in the early evening sunlight. His Hoosier Racing Tires were digging into the clay surface and creating speed. The second lap was consistent and slightly slower than the first lap with a time of 17.230 seconds. The quicker of his two laps around Williams Grove was second quick overall. A great start to the evening.
The 2019 Knoxville Nationals champion would line up on the pole in the second Drydene Heat Race. He was primed and ready to go fast in the Durst, Inc./Wilwood Racing #41 Maxim. The yellow lights were turned off and the drivers were given the one to go signal. When they hit the chalk stripe in four the purr of the engines turned into a roar as they barreled down the frontstretch and into turn one. Gravel was up on the wheel and in a drag race with Donny Schatz who got a good start. Schatz was leading Gravel on lap one when a yellow flag came out slowing the action. On the next restart Schatz got the lead on the initial start, but the Connecticut born racer wheel the Durst, Inc. #41 down the front straightaway in drove low around turns one and two and exited with the lead. He would lead the remainder of the qualifying event to take the win over Schatz, Brock Zearfoss, Lucas Wolfe and Landon Myers who did a tremendous job holding off the hard charging Logan Schuchart.
Earning another spot in the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash, David was hoping for a little luck in the redraw. He selected the ‘5’ pill again, which put him on the inside of row three with Donny Schatz to his outside. Anthony Macri and Shane Stewart were on the front row with Daryn Pittman and Lance Dewease in row two. Steve Buckwalter and Jacob Allen made up the final row for the 6-lap dash. Stewart wasted little time driving into the lead in the Indy Race Parts #71 with Macri running second. David was maneuvering around in his Maxim Racing entry as he was fighting for position with Schatz and Dewease. Stewart took the dash victory over Macri with Pittman, Schatz and Dewease completing the top five as Gravel, Allen and Buckwalter rounded out the finishing order.
The crew topped off the fuel in the forty-one’s Fuel Safe Racing Cell for the 25-lap World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series Champion Racing Oil Summer Nationals on night one. The driver was ready and climbed into his office with a unique view. He rolled onto the half mile oval where he awaiting a push truck to fire the engine in the Tiger Towing/Factory Kahne (FK) Shocks #41 Maxim. With the fireworks complete, it was time to go racing for the winner’s trophy at Williams Grove Speedway. The fans came out to see the best in the business race at this historic speedway and the energy level was high. Shane Stewart jumped into the early lead from the pole position and was cruising in clean air. He was fast, but Macri was not letting him get away too far. David was running in his starting spot when the red flag came out on lap 2 when Landon Myers spun in turn three and collected Wayne Johnson with Johnson flipping. When racing resumed, Gravel was in control of the sixth position with Stewart in the lead as he battled with Macri. David was getting in sync when they tied together laps at speed and closing in on fifth running Lance Dewease when another caution was displayed, this time for Brian Montieth who jumped the cushion in turn four. While the yellow flag was out Danny Dietrich headed to the work area to fix a mechanical issue. Stewart was still leading Macri, Daryn Pittman, Schatz, Dewease and Gravel. He maintained that lead on the restart. Gravel was now in a fight for position with Brock Zearfoss in the Moose’s LZ Bar & Grill #3z. Zearfoss made the pass on the driver of the forty-one to relegate him to seventh in the running order, but the two talented drivers were racing close on the track. On lap 16, the yellow was again thrown this time for Lance Dewease’s #69k as they rolled to a stop and headed to the pits where he nosed the car to the back of the trailer versus heading to the work area. With 9 laps to go, Gravel was running in the sixth spot with Stewart still at the helm. On the restart, Gravel raced back into the top five as he made his way back by Zearfoss. The two would race side-by-side, nose-to-tail for the remaining laps of the Summer Nationals Opener. Stewart raced a great race and led wire-to-wire to take the win over Schatz and Macri who completed the podium spots as Pittman came home fourth. On the last lap there was a race for that fourth position and Gravel drove the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT) #41 Maxim in hard on the low side trying to dive under Pittman. He scrubbed off some speed and was in a drag race now with Zearfoss to the finish line. Zearfoss beat him in a close finish at the line to be awarded the fifth spot with Gravel coming home sixth. Another strong night for David Gravel and the JJR #41!
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.