GREENWOOD, NEBRASKA (August 30, 2020) – When racing wrapped up at U.S. 36 Raceway on Saturday evening ending with a fourth place finish, David Gravel and the JJR #41 Sprint Car Team loaded up and started their trek to the Cornhusker State where I-80 Speedway would be hosting the best in the business on Sunday evening. The team has been fast and consistent all season but continued to search for more speed and traction as they unloaded in Nebraska. The fans came out to pack the grandstands for a chance to watch these winged warriors. There were 35 teams situated in the pit area at the 4/10-mile oval that sits just north of Lincoln off Interstate 80 on your way to Omaha.
For his two laps against the clock, David Gravel would be scheduled to be the 9th driver out on the track aboard the Durst/Team Jack Foundation/Mark Burch Motorsports #41 Maxim. He is a good timer and Philip Dietz knows how to give him what he needs to get the most out of his short time on the track. The track record at I-80 Speedway was set back on September 21, 2000, by Mark Kinser with a fast time of 13.570 seconds. After setting the fastest time in hot laps the team’s spirits were high, but when David pushed off the car sputtered down the backstretch forcing him to the pit area with a mechanical issue before taking the green to start the clock. He would be afforded one lap at the end of qualifying after the team fixed the issue. When Brian Brown completed his two circuits, Gravel took the green with his Hoosier Racing Tires digging into the surface of the speedway. The traction was converting the horsepower from his Kistler Engines power into speed. He did his best and stopped the clock at 14.715 seconds. That lap positioned him 21st overall on the night and appeared to put the team behind the eight ball for the night.
Looking into the face of adversity, David did not waver as he lined line the Durst Inc./Factory Kahne Shocks #41 Maxim up on the outside of row three in the first and fastest 8-lap Drydene heat race based on qualifying times, with Dominic Scelzi to his inside. Donny Schatz and Daryn Pittman made up row one with Gio Scelzi and Scott Bogucki side-by-side in row two. Brooke Tatnell and Wayne Johnson were in row four as Kevin Ingle rounded out the starting grid. Schatz wasted little time hustling into the lead over Pittman as Gravel used the outside line to drive into the fourth position. Schatz was opening up a lead over Pittman and third running Bogucki as Gravel closed the gap between himself and the show position. With three laps to go, Dominic Scelzi shredded a right rear tire while running in the final transfer position sending him pit side. Under the caution period, runner-up Daryn Pittman has a left rear tire going down forcing him to the work area. Gravel and Bogucki were the beneficiaries of Pittman’s misfortune and moved up a position. With the top two finishers advancing to the all-important dash event, Gravel was ready to get his elbows up in his great Durst emblazoned Simpson Race Products driver’s suit. The yellow lights were turned off and the green flag waved as Schatz drove off into the top spot. Bogucki and Gravel were battling for the second spot as Gravel slid up across and made the pass in turn four. But Bogucki wasn’t about to give up and retook the spot entering turn one on the last lap before Gravel re-seized it going down the back straightaway and entry to turn three. Schatz would take the win over Gravel, Bogucki and Gio Scelzi with Wayne Johnson collecting the fifth and final transfer position to the feature.
The fortunes of his evening continue to evolve as he made his way into the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash for the evening. He would select a ‘7’ pill to put him in the last row with Donny Schatz to his outside for the 6-lap event. Jacob Allen and Justin Henderson led the field to the green as Brad Sweet and Carson Macedo followed in row two with Austin McCarl ad Kerry Madsen in row three. Allen would own the top spot as Brad Sweet was running in second and pressuring him using the low side. The Watertown, Connecticut native, driving the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Waco Metal/Wilwood #41 was battling in a group of four for position. He would come out on top and move into the fifth position on the third lap. He kept digging for more, but ran out of laps as Allen beat Sweet to the line. The top two were followed in the finishing order by Henderson, Macedo and Gravel, as Schatz, Madsen and McCarl.
Philip, Clyde and Nate worked hard all night to give their driver the best car to showcase his talents after the time trial setback. They would start from the third row of the 30-lap feature at I-80 Speedway. This is what the fans paid their hard earned money to see and these talented drivers were not about to disappoint. The air horn sounded summoning the teams to the track. Gravel climbed aboard his Maxim Racing entry as he pulled on his helmet and gloves. It was time to go racing in Nebraska! When the green flag waved and the cars got up to speed it was Jacob Allen leading the way. Gravel got stuck on the bottom as the top line found speed and space. He fell back to eighth early on and as far back as ninth mid-race. Allen surrendered the lead on lap 13 to Brad Sweet, but continued to race forward challenging the leader. With 5 laps to go, David Gravel’s determination and talent started to show as he began his march forward. He was driving the Weld Racing wheels off the forty-one and with each passing lap picking up a position. A late caution found him in sixth for a green-white-checkered finish. He took advantage of it and drove into fifth. Sweet took the win over Macedo, Schuchart and Sheldon Haudenschild as Gravel came home fifth. It was his 26th consecutive top ten finish, not all World of Outlaw sanctioned as that impressive run includes races with the All Star Circuit of Champions and a non-sanctioned race he won at Lincoln Speedway in Pennsylvania, with 17 of them being in the top five including 3 wins. A great 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.