HARTFORD, MICHIGAN (July 12, 2019) – David Gravel and the JJR #41 team were back on the road, this time with the GPS taking them to Hartford Speedway in Michigan as part of their summertime journey. This driver and team have been running so strong in the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/J.R.C. Transportation #41 Maxim lately with eleven consecutive top ten finishes coming into the night of racing. There was a huge crowd on hand to see the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series stars do what they do best at Hartford Speedway with 23 cars entered and lined up in the pit area at the 3/8-mile oval.
Under the hot summer sun, the track surface was dry and slick as the teams prepared to push out for time trials. Tim Kaeding was the first car out and set the mark everyone would be chasing all night at 14.014 seconds. David Gravel would be the 13th car out on the track. When 10-time champion Donny Schatz finished his two circuits, the Watertown, Connecticut speed chauffeur got up on the wheel and took the green. The tricky surface was not giving anyone anything at this point of qualifying and when he tripped the clock the first time the stopwatch read 14.859 seconds. He stayed on the hammer aboard the Greber Racing Components/High Performance Lubricants #41 and improved slightly the second time around with a lap of 14.824 seconds. The faster of his two laps ended up eleventh quick overall in the final rundown when time trials were concluded.
The heat race lineups were set, but before the competitors in the first heat race could push off Ryan Ruhl scratched for the night after having mechanical issues during time trials. Ruhl misfortune moved David Gravel and the Jonestown KOA/Durst, Inc. entry up to the outside of row two to start the heat race. The top two finishers would advance to the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash and when the green flag waved Gravel took advantage of some of the moisture they just laid down on the track’s surface and used his Hoosier Racing Tires to drive on the high side and into the lead with James McFadden, Tim Kaeding and Brad Sweet all coming hard in pursuit of the leader. Gravel would not look back and collected the heat race victory as he crossed the finish line ahead of Kaeding and Sweet with Kraig Kinser and McFadden rounding out the top five.
Earning a spot in the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash is always important, and rewarding, and when the winner of the first heat race drew his pill there was a number one on it, which put him on the pole for the 6-lap race whose finishing order sets the starting order for the first three rows of the feature event. After making some final adjustments Gravel rolled on the track and into his starting spot beside Carson Macedo on the front row. Row two was made up of Donny Schatz and Tim Kaeding, with Jason Sides and Ian Madsen rounding out the field. When the green flag waved, Gravel and Macedo would race side-by-side for the lead. Macedo would gain the lead with Gravel right there ready to take advantage of any mistakes by the Lemoore, California driver. Macedo did not falter at all and took the dash win over Gravel and Schatz with Kaeding, Sides and Madsen rounding out the finishing order.
With all of the qualifying action in the books, it was time to start the tussle to see who would win the Battle of Michigan at Hartford Speedway. It would take 30 laps around Hartford Speedway to see who would end up on top of the hill. With fireworks exploding over the traditional four-wide salute to the fans, the drivers were ready to go racing! When the green flag started to wave, the engines in these powerful 410 sprint cars came to life and filled the air with the sweet sound of racing. That sound was soon quieted when there was a crash on the backstretch on the opening lap that included point leader Brad Sweet, Brian Paulus, and Max Stambaugh. When racing resumed, Gravel and Macedo would race side-by-side for the lead. Gravel dove low and was using the bottom lane as Macedo worked a higher lane. Macedo squeaked ahead of Gravel after the first completed lap. David kept the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Greber Racing Components #41 Maxim in contention as the two talented drivers were again racing side-by-side through the early stages of the race giving the fans their money’s worth and more. Just after the midway point of the race, the recently engaged Watertown, Connecticut driver moved his #41 car into the top spot on lap 17. The action was far from over as Macedo was not going to go away. Lurking behind the top two, and coming fast, was Logan Schuchart in the Shark Racing #1s. He was fast and he was chomping at the leaders lap after lap. He would get by Macedo and set his sights on Gravel. Lap after lap he would decrease the distance between himself and the tail tank of the #41. He was right there with five laps to go as he could see every granule of dust on Gravel’s Fuel Safe Racing Cell. He would make the pass for the lead on lap 27 as he passed Gravel on the high side entering turn one as Gravel stayed in the low line as he approached the lapped car of Jacob Allen. Schuchart had the lead and Gravel was right behind. The yellow flag was thrown for a slowing Jason Sides who shredded a right rear tire. He headed pit side and changed the tire as the field would restart single file. As the drivers paced around under caution conditions, Gravel finalize his restart strategy and focused on executing the plan. When the flagman gave them the authorization to get back up to speed, Gravel drove low and hard into turn one and got underneath Schuchart. The two hard-charging speedsters raced down the back straightaway. Gravel slid up in front of Schuchart in turns three and four and took the lead. He led the remainder of the race to collect the checkers at the Battle of Michigan by 1.057 seconds over Schuchart who was the KSE Hard Charger. It was David Gravel’s fourth win of the 2019 season with the JJR #41 team and he celebrated by standing on the tail tank with his buddy Jaxx Johnson as the confetti scattered in the air around them. The jubilant driver explained from victory lane, “Carson had a good pace. I think he got free halfway through.” He continued, “I just kept working him, working him, trying to keep the pressure up, hoping he would spin his tires and kind of wear his stuff out. Luckily we were able to get by him.” He concluded the winner’s interview by stating, “We have been wanting to win so bad. Finally getting the win, we’ve been so close. As a driver I’ve let a couple of wins get away. Just happy I can get another win. You never know when your next one is going to be.” A great run for the forty-one!
We are proud to represent all of our dedicated and loyal supporters:
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.