KANSAS CITY, Kan. – David Gravel and Jason Johnson Racing have put together an impressive first year together, with nine wins and a whopping 20 quick times in qualifying.
Currently sitting third in points with six races to go this season, Gravel has a specific goal he’d like to accomplish.
“I’d like to win one more race, hopefully two,” said Gravel, who has 48 career World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series wins. “I’d like to get to that magical number fifty for me in my career. That’s a goal that’s really important to me. I hope to do that.”
He could reach that goal this weekend with the World of Outlaws. The tour visits Lakeside Speedway for the FVP Platinum Battery Showdown on Oct. 18 before going to Lake Ozark Speedway for the Jason Johnson Classic on Oct. 19.
Both races will play a big part in the World of Outlaws’ championship battle, which Gravel still has a part in.
He and second-place Donny Schatz had bad luck at Tri-State Speedway and lost points to leader Brad Sweet – Gravel is now 102 points behind Sweet and Schatz is 30 points back.
However, just one weekend can create a large swing in the points, as Schatz had cut Sweet’s points lead in half after the Williams Grove Speedway doubleheader before going to Tri-State.
Gravel has finished third in points the last three years driving for CJB Motorsports. He has a solid hold of the position for the remainder of the year and could find himself finishing third for the fourth year in a row.
There is a slim chance for him to catch Sweet without a lot of luck, but Schatz is only 72 points ahead of him.
“My goal is to keep the front two guys honest,” Gravel said. “You know, we have an extremely slim chance of making anything happen, especially with the rainout [at Terre Haute]. I mean, just to be in the conversation at the end of the season with a first-year team, with a team like this, it’s just been really cool. We’ll just try to finish out strong and be competitive every night.”
He and JJR have unloaded with speed all season long, being fastest in practice 11 times and collecting 20 quick times so far. There’s a combination of elements that have helped the No. 41 car be fast early on in the night, said Philip Dietz, JJR’s crew chief.
“Our engines have to run good. They have to be fueled right,” he noted. “Just our car balance in general has to be really, really good to start the night off.”
Gravel will be going for his first win at Lakeside Speedway and Lake Ozark Speedway this week. He finished 14th at the half-mile Lakeside Speedway last year. It’s a track he said he usually struggles at.
However, Gravel and JJR have been one of the most dominant teams on half-mile tracks this year. They won at Calistoga Speedway, Knoxville Raceway and twice at Williams Grove Speedway.
“We’ve been really good on big tracks, so I’m hoping to go there and qualify good and just keep doing what we’re doing,” Gravel said.
Lake Ozark Speedway may be his next best opportunity to pick up another win before the end of the season. He finished second the last two races there.
The Eldon, Mo. track is also a home track for JJR. Their shop is eight miles away from the speedway.
Gravel knows a win at the third-mile track would be special for the team, especially with the event being the Jason Johnson Classic – which will pay $10,410-to-win due to an added bonus by FK Rod Ends.
“That’s a track I’m pretty confident at and excited to go back to,” Gravel said. “To win it for Bobbi (Johnson), and for Jason’s race, that would be very cool. Definitely looking forward to that. They’re going to have a lot of friends, family and sponsors there, so going to be a pretty cool moment.”