SARVER, PENNSYLVANIA (September 26, 2020) – With some warmth returning to the air, David Gravel and the JJR #41 team arrived in western Pennsylvania to compete in the prestigious Commonwealth Clash held at Lernerville Speedway on Saturday evening racing to race on the fifth consecutive nights. This event is always a popular race for the competitors as the 4/10-mile high banked surface always produces some excellent racing for both the drivers and the fans alike. The grandstands were filled as everyone followed the pre-race COVID temperature check testing protocols and were ready to see some great racing. In the past, David has had proven success at Lernerville and was looking to build upon that success as he was searching for another victory when they pulled into the pit area that is located off turns three and four at the track. There were 47 teams registered at the pit gate to race against each other for the Commonwealth Clash trophy and prize money.
David Gravel is very efficient when it comes to time trials and he was prepared to show off his talent as he would be the very last driver out onto the speedway for his two laps of speed. Due to the number of cars, the field would be split into two separate flights for qualifying with Gravel in Flight B. He buckled into his Simpson Race Products safety belts and headed to the staging area to patiently wait for his turn against the clock in the Mesilla Valley Transportation (MVT)/Winters Performance Products #41 Maxim. The one-lap track record at this historic facility was established by Joey Saldana back on May 15, 2002, with a lap of 12.334 seconds. After Logan Schuchart raced under the checkers for his two laps, the Kistler Engines power plant under the hood of the Watertown, Connecticut driver’s entry fired and his attention was solely focused on generating speed and hitting his marks while getting the most out of his car. With his elbows up and his right foot planted in the accelerator, he was rolling at speed and stopped the clock the first time around in 13.140 seconds. He kept his foot mashed on the loud pedal and smoothly wheeled through the turns the next time around producing another consistent lap of 13.205 seconds. With two solid laps in the books, the faster of his two lap times would hold serve and be third quick overall in the second flight.
When the Drydene Heat Race lineups were constructed, Gravel and The Boyd Family/RaceDiecast.com #41 would start from the second position in the third 8-lap heat race. After crew chief Philip Dietz and the JJR crew made some final adjustments, the driver and car rolled into the staging area while they waited to get on the track. David would share his row in the starting lineup with polesitter Kraig Kinser with Spencer Bayston and Logan Schuchart pacing behind in row two and Hunter Schuerenburg and Ryan Smith in row three. Lee Jacobs, A.J. Flick, Jared Zimbardi, Michael Bauer, George Hobaugh and Davey Jones completing the starting grid. When they field went green flag racing, the air flowed over the forty-one’s Vortex Racing Products wings and provide the necessary downforce needed to produce traction and speed as he drove into the lead over Kinser. He was bad fast and enjoying making his laps around Lernerville. He would lead wire-to-wire as he took the win by 2.605 seconds over Kraig Kinser, Schuchart, Jacobs and Schuerenburg who inherited the final transfer position when Spencer Bayston rolled into the infield off turn two on the final circuit while racing in a transfer position.
Continuing his success of making the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash and selecting a high number, Gravel would start seventh in the 6 lap race to set the starting order for the first four rows of the feature. Kerry Madsen and Sheldon Haudenschild were on the front row with Daryn Pittman and Carson Macedo in row two. James McFadden and Kraig Kinser were lined up in row three with Gravel and Brad Sweet in the last row. Polesitter Kerry Madsen raced into the lead at the drop of the green flag with Haudenschild racing the rim close behind. Gravel was dicing with Sweet for the final two positions with the Watertown native holding onto the seventh position. He was closing in on sixth running Carson Macedo and with two laps to go moved into the sixth position. That is where David would finish which enabled him to move up one row for the feature. Madsen took the win over Haudenschild, Pittman, McFadden and Kinser with Gravel, Macedo and Sweet completing the finishing order.
The 35-lap World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series Commonwealth Clash was the last remaining competition on this evening’s entertainment card. Gravel climbed into the cockpit with his brand new black JJR 10th Anniversary Simpson Race Products racing suit. He would roll around from his sixth starting position as he finalized his race strategy. When the green lights illuminated around Lernerville Speedway, it was Sheldon Haudenschild taking control of the top spot. He was fast and was setting a torrid pace early on in clean air. David moved The Boyd Family/AutoMeter/Fuel Safe Racing Cells #41 Maxim into the top five at the start and maintained that position through just after the hallway point of the race. Haudenschild was on fire as he was in a league of his own at the front with no one even close. On lap 14 Gravel maneuvered by Kerry Madsen to take over the fourth spot. Five laps later on lap 25 he was able to race by Daryn Pittman into the show position. Then with five laps to go, Gravel chased down runner-up James McFadden and made the pass. Haudenschild was still in another universe as he was over 6 laps ahead of Gravel with the laps dwindling down. But the story was not over in Sarver as that is when misfortune and heartbreak surfaced for the leader Haudenschild who was absolutely dominant and slowed to a stop with a right rear tire that went down. Second Running Gravel was thrilled to have Lady Luck fall into his lap with two laps to go. For the restart, Gravel led McFadden and Pittman back to the green flag and passed through the last eight turns to collect his seventh win of the year, fifth World of Outlaws win, and the $10,000 winner’s share of the purse. He pulled into victory lane, the Schoenfeld Headers of the Weikert’s Livestock/FK Rod Ends #41 Maxim still putting off some heat, Gravel reflected on the night of racing by stating, “Sheldon was the class of the field. If he didn’t blow a tire, I would’ve run second. But a little bit of racing luck got us the win tonight.” He then stated, “In the heat race, we had a really, really good race car.” Continuing “Then we drew a seven. I didn’t get too upset because 35 laps here, this is one of the best racing tracks we go to. There’s always lanes to run thee wide. That’s one of my favorite places to go to.” A great night for the forty-one driver and team!
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.