By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Fourteen months ago, Jason Johnson Racing lost its leader when Jason Johnson died at a race. On Saturday night, the team won the biggest Sprint Car race.
David Gravel won the 59th annual Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa. This is Gravel’s first win of the historic Knoxville Nationals.
He dominated much of the race, as the leader, before winning the race. With the win, Gravel won the $150,000 purse.
During his victory celebration, Gravel celebrated with Jaxx Johnson, the son of the late Jason Johnson. Following his death, his widow Bobbi decided to keep the team going.
“Jason wanted to win and we f’in did it,” Gravel said in his post-race interview. “This is awesome. I don’t know what to say. It was a dream week. Brad Sweet killed it last year and we kind of continued what he did. Having Jeff Gordon and Axalta — and Bobbi keeping this team going — and Phil to bust his butt, who lost his best friend to keep this going, made it all worth it. It’s obviously a h*ll of a crew here. It feels amazing and I’m numb. After the checkers, it fells like you have boulders on your shoulders. It’s really surreal, as it doesn’t feel real. I was happy to get the lead and control my own destiny. We made an adjust on red and made the car better.”
Gravel finished the 50-lap race in 38:09.611. His best lap was lap 10 when he had a 17.516 second lap.
Pennsylvania native Logan Schuchart was the finished place finisher. He was 4.632 seconds behind Gravel.
World of Outlaws competitors rounded out the Top 3, as Daryn Pittman was third. He was 5.060 seconds behind the winner following the 50-laps.
Brad Sweet — who won last year’s event — finished sixth. He was 10.397 seconds behind Gravel.
Pole leader Aaron Reutzel finished fifth. He was 8.277 seconds behind the leader.
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