PEVELY, MISSOURI (August 8, 2020) – With the sun shining brightly over the Missouri race track all day as temperatures reached 87 degrees, track officials continued to water and prep the racing surface for the race with the most laps all season – the Ironman 55 at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55. David Gravel, fresh off a tenth place finish in his first NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoor Truck Series race at Michigan International Speedway in the GMS Racing #24 Chevrolet Silverado with sponsorship from ChevyGoods.com, was back in his ButlerBUILT Professional Seat System that was bolted in the J.R.C. Transportation/High Performance Lubricants #41 Maxim. There were 32 teams registered in the pits all hoping to win this highly anticipated race that is scheduled every year.
With the size of the field under 38 cars, the competitors stayed in one group for time trials. David would be the very first car out on the track for time trials. After hot laps he ducked into the infield and waited for his turn against the stopwatch. He would get the solo show against the clock started as the Kistler Engines power under the hood of the Team Jack Foundation/LogoDaddy Graphics/Engler Machine & Tool #41 fired and Gravel got all of the horses rolling as he took the green flag. He hit his marks through the first set of turns and made quick work down the back straightaway. He sped through the next set of turns before blasting down the frontstretch to take the one-to-go white flag. The clock stopped at 10.199 seconds when he crossed the stripe on the first circuit. His second lap was a good one too at an identical 10.199 seconds, his two mirrored laps positioning him fourth quick overall in qualifying with 8 tenths of a second from quick time to the slowest time.
When WoO timing and scoring officials compiled the lineups for the four 10-lap Drydene Heat Races, Gravel would line up from the pole position in the fourth heat race aboard the Dissolvalloy Downhole Revolution/FK Rod Ends Maxim. Sheldon Haudenschild would share the front row as Daryn Pittman and Logan Schuchart paced from row two. Paul Nienhiser and Joe Miller were in row three with Zach Hampton and Kevin Ingle completing the starting lineup. The skies were now overcast and the racing lanes widened a bit for the competitors of the last heat race. After Shane Stewart won the first heat race the rain began to fall putting the show under a rain delay. After a brief delay the engines fired up again and the heat races continued. Gravel rolled onto the track and took his position. When the green flag waved it was a drag race with Sheldon Haudenschild down the front straightaway. Sheldon led lap one with Gravel and Schuchart battling for the second spot. Sheldon was setting a torrid pace out front with David maneuvering the forty-one from second. Sheldon took the heat race victory over Gravel, Schuchart, and Pittman with Joe B. Miller locking down the fifth position.
As officials moved the program along with impending weather in the area, they 8-lap DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash was next. The way these eight cars finish is the way they lineup for the Ironman 55 feature. Not too long after the last heat race, the horn sounded summoning the dash drivers to the staging area. Sheldon Haudenschild and Kyle Larson would start on the front row with Jacob Allen and Shane Stewart in row two. David Gravel in the Weikert’s Livestock/Durst, Inc. #41 Maxim and Rico Abreu were in row three with Brad Sweet and Donny Schatz filling the final starting positions in the last row. It was Larson to the early race lead at the start on this high speed surface. Gravel was in a three car battle for the fifth position with Abreu and Schatz. Larson took the win over Haudenschild, Allen, Stewart and Abreu with Schatz, Sweet and Gravel rounding out the finishing order.
It was now time for the Ironman 55 finale at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series style. The competitors and teams that had put in a lot hard work to get here would now need to dig deep if they wanted the winner’s share of the purse at the end of this high speed, grueling 55-lap race. The Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Team Jack Foundation #41 Maxim would start from the eighth starting position with David Gravel eager to find some forward bite to power him forward. When the field went under green flag racing conditions it was Kyle Larson to the lead with Sheldon Haudenschild right there in the runner-up position. Gravel moved onto the seventh position with Brad Sweet right behind stalking him for the spot. Jacob Allen was on the move on the low side and passed Haudenschild and tracked down and passed the leader on the fifth lap. Allen was leading and mired in traffic with Larson, Shane Stewart and Haudenschild coming fast. A caution for Hunter Schuerenburg on lap 8 slowed the field with Allen at the front and Gravel running in the seventh position. When the caution lights went out, Allen continued to lead as Sweet slid by Gravel relegating him back to eighth. With 20 laps in the books it was now Shane Stewart on the move as he passed both Larson and Allen and was your new leader. The top five were embroiled in a fierce battle for position. With 26 laps to go another caution, this time for Joe B. Miller who slowed with Shane Stewart still leading Larson, Haudenschild, Abreu and Allen. David Gravel was running in the ninth position as Logan Schuchart moved by on lap 22. Stewart drove back into the lead over Larson and Abreu. Gravel continued to battle just inside the top ten. With 20 laps to go, the third caution of the night flew with Stewart leading. Back to green it was again Stewart to the lead with Haudenschild now in the second spot and Larson in third. With seven laps to go Larson passed Stewart for the lead and led the remainder of the race to claim the Ironman 55 title. Haudenschild came home second, Stewart third, Abreu fourth and Donny Schatz rounded out the top five. David Gravel came home with a ninth place finish. A good night for the forty-one team as they now focus their attention on Knoxville next weekend.
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.