GREENWOOD, NEBRASKA – When racing wrapped up at U.S. 36 Raceway on August 29 ending with a fourth place finish, David Gravel of Watertown and the Jason Johnson Racing #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 the next evening.
For his two laps against the clock, Gravel would be scheduled to be the 9th driver out on the track, but when he 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.
Gravel eventually positioned himself 21st overall on the night and appeared to put the team behind the eight ball for the night.
In the 8-lap heat race based on qualifying times, Gravel had plenty of work to do.
Gravel used the outside line to drive into the fourth position; after a series of stops-and-starts, Gravel was battling for the second spot, which he earned behind Donie Schatz.
The fortunes of his evening continue to evolve as Gravel made his way into the Fast Pass Dash, as he would select a ‘7’ pill to put him in the last row with Schatz to his outside for the 6-lap event.
Moving into the fifth position, he kept digging for more, but ran out of laps and settled for sixth place.
Starting in the third row of the 30-lap feature, Gravel climbed aboard, pulled on his helmet and gloves and went racing.
At the outset, things didn’t look promising, as Gravel got stuck on the bottom as the top line found speed and space; he fall as far back as eighth early on and as far back as ninth mid-race.
With five laps to go, Gravel’s determination and talent started to show as he began his march forward, picking up a position with each passing lap.
A late caution found him in sixth for a green-white-checkered finish; he took advantage of it and drove into fifth, which is where he crossed the finish line.
It was Gravel’s 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 three wins.
On September 5 and 6, Gravel and the JJR team move onto Huset’s Speedway in Brandon, S.D. for World of Outlaws races.