PORT ROYAL, PENNSYLVANIA (July 19, 2020) – After finishing seventh on the opening night of action at the Port Royal Speedway on Saturday night, David Gravel and the Jason Johnson Racing (JJR) #41 team were back at one of Central Pennsylvania’s finest facilities nestled in Juniata County. They were excited to get back on the finely tuned surface that Steve Stimely meticulously prepares night in and night out to produce the best racing at The Speed Palace. The pits again were bustling with 45 teams readying their equipment for action to take a shot not only at the $10,000 winner’s check, but also licking their chops over the additional $1,029 Weikert Bounty that would go to the driver that beats Danny Dietrich to win along with the additional bounty of $1,000 that was posted to any driver who could conquer the seemingly impossible to stop Kyle Larson in the championship finale. It was time to go racing at Port Royal Speedway in the Bob Weikert Memorial finale!
Prior to the engines firing, amidst the extreme heat with temperatures topping 100 degrees, the fans were enjoying the festivities and good food always present at Port Royal Speedway. Following hot laps the cars lined up on the inside of the speedway in order for time trials. David Gravel patiently waited in his ButlerBuilt with Sharp Advantage custom molded seat with his Simpson Race Products belts securely fastened. The speedster who hails from Watertown, Connecticut would be the 26th car out on the half-mile surface to take his qualifying laps aboard the Weikert’s Livestock/Walker Performance Filtration #41. With a lowering on the right foot his Maxim Racing machine took off and he took the green flag and he was on the clock. It did not take long to get up to speed and 16.589 seconds later he crossed the stripe to complete lap one and restart the clock for his second circuit. His second lap was quicker at 16.460 seconds, which was good for 7th quick overall. He earned 132 points for his qualifying effort and was looking to add more in heat race action.
With an inversion of the fastest 8 drivers in each 10-lap heat race, Gravel would get going from the inside of row three in Heat #3 sponsored by Hunt Brothers Pizza with Anthony Macri to his outside. Zeb Wise and Dylan Cisney paced the field from the front as Robbie Kendall, Tyler Bear, Brock Zearfoss and Paul McMahan made up the next two rows. When the green lights illuminated around the track Cisney drove into the lead as Gravel hustling from his seventh starting position in The Boyd Family/KSE Racing Products #41 Maxim. As the field started to spread out he found some racing room and was able to move up a spot on lap 3. He kept working hard and was battling with Paul McMahan for the fifth position. That battle started at the midway point of the race and continued to the end. Cisney took the win over Robbie Kendall with Macri, Wise and McMahan rounding out the top five as Gravel came home sixth. Following heat race action Gravel had accumulated 202 total points which left him two points shy of the top ten redraw competitors.
With no dash event in the Weikert Memorial format the top ten drivers in points after qualifying headed to the stage on this extremely hot day and evening to see what type of luck the redraw would bring them as they drew for starting positions in the first five rows of the 30-lap Bob Weikert Memorial Championship finale. The always smiling Connecticut-born speed chauffeur would start 11th in the feature aboard the Weikert’s Livestock/Durst Inc. #41. After their salute to the fans who came out to see some of the best talent sprint car has to offer it was go time at Port Royal Speedway! The engines came to life delivering power to the Hoosier Racing Tires as they kicked the dust up taking the green flag. Gravel got shuffled back early to the twelfth position early on as Carson Macedo was wheeling it from the front of the pack. The racing action in the area of the pack was competing in was close as there was three or four guys battling for the same position at all times. There was a razor thin dust cushion right up against the wall and about half the field was braving running the thin line. Gravel moved into the top ten with 10 laps in the books. A caution flag was thrown for your early race leader Macedo, who was running fourth at the time, who slowed on the backstretch with a right rear flat tire. He headed to the work area and while still under yellow Robbie Kendall would also head pit side with a flat right rear tire. Gravel would restart from the eighth position with Kyle Larson now leading the field with Aaron Reutzel and Lance Dewease trying to keep pace. The field got rolling at speed again and there was exciting racing action all around the track. In the middle third of the race the driver of the Weikert’s Livestock #41 would move between positions eight and eleven, but on lap 22 when another yellow was displayed for a slowing Sheldon Haudenschild with a flat right rear tire, Gravel still held down the eighth spot. This time while under yellow flag conditions Kasey Kahne needed to head to the work area as he too had a flat tire. Larson was still leading but he was in a fierce battle with Aaron Reutzel for the top spot. Reutzel was leaving nothing on the track as he was driving the wheels off the Fischer Body Shop #87. Lance Dewease quietly was working from the third position as Danny Dietrich and Anthony Macri completed the top five. Racing resumed and Gravel was fighting for positions with Daryn Pittman, Brent Marks and Jacob Allen. They were all fast and racing for a higher spot in the running order. Two laps after getting up to speed the yellow was displayed for Reutzel who had experienced mechanical issues which ended his night. Gravel was still scored in the eighth position but he wanted more. Officials decided to throw an Open Red and open the track up for 2 minutes for crews to fill them with fuel and make some minor adjustments. Philip Dietz, Clyde Knipp and Nate Repetz came to the driver of the forty-one. As they added fuel Philip meticulously made some changes for his driver for the final run. The horn sounded and the crew fled back to pit lane leaving their driver to do his thing inside the cockpit of his Maxim Racing machine. Larson was still leading Dewease with Macri now up to third. Larson accelerated into the lead as Gravel was using the low side to make some forward progress He had a fast car and was exiting turn two strong and entering turn three low to carry speed up across four. On exit he would use his Kistler Engines power to carry him down the straightaway. Larson would take the win as he swept the weekend over Dewease, Macri, Dietrich and Allen with David ending strong with a sixth place finish in the Weikert’s Livestock #41. Another good run for the forty-one!
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.