MECHANICSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA (October 5, 2019) – Fresh off their win on the opening night of the Williams Grove National Open, David Gravel and the JJR #41 team were back at it at the famous half-mile oval with a bridge on the back straightaway. The boys worked tirelessly following their win as they cleaned the car and did all of their general maintenance procedures to ready the Jonestown KOA/Team Jack Foundation #41 Maxim for the $65,000-to-win 57th Annual Champion Racing Oil National Open. There were 49 cars back at the track as the fans filled the stands and the infield to pack the house.
The Watertown, Connecticut native would be the first driver out for time trials aboard the Kistler Engines powered J.R.C. Transportation/Waco Metal #41. He buckled in to his Sharp Advantage custom fitted seat insert and buckled his Simpson Race Products safety belts. He would need them as he was a rocket when he stepped on the accelerator and got his Maxim Racing hot rod rolling. He took the green flag and hit every one of his marks around the track. When he crossed the finish line after his first lap he turned a lap in 16.909 seconds. His second lap was a consistent one at 16.917 seconds, but his quicker first lap set the bar high for the rest of the competition. When time trials were completed for all of the entries, his two sub-17 second laps would be the only ones turned during time trials resulting in his 20th quick time overall of the 2019 season. In fact, he swept quick times throughout Pennsylvania during this swing as he was the fastest qualifier at Lernerville before coming to the Grove and setting the mark both nights.
Earning the pole position in the first and fastest Drydene heat race, the 2019 Knoxville Nationals Champion climbed into his office, pulled on his head sock and buckled his Off Axis Paint custom displayed Simpson helmet. David Gravel shared the front row with Kerry Madsen in the KI Crossbows #2 with Danny Dietrich, Jacob Allen, Brock Zearfoss, Jason Sides, Chase Dietz, Logan Schuchart and Justin Whittall filling out the remainder of the starting grid. Gravel drove the Weikert’s Livestock/KSE Racing Products #41 off the bottom and into the lead as the field charged down the front straightaway. He would put some space between himself and the second running Madsen. That gap would grow throughout the eight laps and when Gravel crossed the finish line he beat Madsen there by 4.242 seconds with Dietrich coming home third to lock down the final transfer position.
Earning a spot in the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash, Gravel was hoping for a low number when his hand came out of the NOS Energy Drink can during the draw. When he pulled the round disk out of the can it had a number three on it, which would position him on the inside of row two in the first of two dash events. Meanwhile, Philip and the JJR crew were feverishly changing an engine following heat race action. After firing it to get heat in the new bullet, Gravel rolled back onto the track in the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/High Performance Lubricants #41 Maxim for the 6-lap dash event. Brian Brown and Matt Campbell were on row one with Freddie Rahmer sharing row two with Gravel. Aaron Reutzel was in row three with Kerry Madsen. Brown drove the Casey General Stores #21 into the top spot as Reutzel maneuvered by Gravel for third. Brown would lead wire-to-wire to take the win over Campbell, Reutzel and Gravel with Madsen and Rahmer rounding out the finishing order of the first dash, which set the starting spots in the inside row of the feature lineup. Brent Marks won the second dash over Brad Sweet, Daryn Pittman, Donny Schatz, Paul McMahan and Lance Dewease to set the starting lineup on the outside row of the feature lineup in the first six rows.
There were 40 laps and a big check awaiting the winner of the prestigious 57th Annual Champion Racing Oil National Open. The fans in the stands were on their feet as the drivers went four-wide to salute them before lining up to get up to speed. When the green flag waved, it was Brent Marks driving into the lead over Brian Brown. He led the first two laps before the yellow flag was shown. David Gravel would restart from the eighth spot and would exchange the spot with Aaron Reutzel in the early going. When racing went back under green flag conditions, Brian Brown seized the lead over Marks as Gravel secured the seventh position aboard the All Pro Auto Reconditioning/C&R Racing #41. Brent Marks would track down Brown and make the pass to take the lead back on lap 13 with Daryn Pittman also getting by Brown to move into the runner-up position. Racing at speed was short lived though as the caution flew the next lap around for Lance Dewease. During the pause in the race, track official stopped the cars for an open red to allow crews to top off the fuel and make minor adjustments. When they restarted, it was Marks leading the way but Gravel was rejuvenated and making some noise. He moved into the top five at the half way point of the race and was moving and grooving. There was some exciting wheel-to-wheel action with Reutzel throughout the remainder of the race. As Marks approached lap traffic, Pittman closed in on the leader along with Schatz, Reutzel and Gravel. It was getting exciting before a late race caution slowed the field and took the lap cars out of the picture for the leaders. Brent Marks was undeterred and led the remainder of the race to take the win over Pittman and Schatz as Reutzel and Gravel rounded out the top ten. It was Gravel’s and the JJR #41 team’s 44th top five finish of the season, an impressive 62.86% top five success rate, and moved him 88 points behind current series points leader Brad Sweet with eight races left on the schedule with Schatz sitting in second 14 points out of the lead. Congratulations to Brent Marks and the entire #19 team!
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.