Danny in action earlier this season at Mercer Raceway Park in Mercer, Pennsylvania - Rick Rarer Photo
From early April until the cold start of November, Danny Holtgraver and the entire D4 operation spent their longs days and late nights on the road and at the track. The 2011 season was comprised of more than 50 starts for the Pittsburgh based 410 sprint car program; which included track appearances in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, Michigan, and Canada. When the dust settled in early November on the outskirts of Charlotte, North Carolina; Holtgraver had tallied 4 wins, almost 20 top 5's, and a nearly 30 top 10 place finishes. The season was most definitely a success.
Pictured above representing his 'Knoxville Nationals' paint scheme, Danny Holtgraver competed on various occasions at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania during 2011; including the 49th annual National Open - Rick Rarer Photo
After capturing a track championship at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pennsylvania last season, Holtgraver and his family owned D4 team decided to venture away from the Western Pennsylvania scene, and develop a new taste for racing on the road. His goal in 2011 was to compete regionally with the All-Star Circuit of Champions - and race full time in their newly developed 'Ohio Region' program. Their decision proved to be wise, as Holtgraver earned a 4th place finish in the 2011 All-Star Circuit of Champions Ohio Region standings, and a 7th place finish in the overall national points chase.
A third place finish in the overall Ohio Sprint Speedweek points system would help set the tone for most of the summer; which also included a trip to the Knoxville Nationals and the World Finals at Charlotte. Holtgraver's rookie Knoxville appearance proved to be not only exhilarating, but educating; as he would step up from a disappointing qualifying time to earn a C-main starting spot in the Saturday night, televised finale.
The Kistler powered J&J Chassis also tallied two back-t0-back quick time awards with the All-Stars in 2011; which came at Attica (OH) and Butler (MI) in early Septemeber. The
Danny and crew pictured in victory lane at Mercer Raceway Park in Mercer, Pennsylvania; one of four victories for the team in 2011 - Fully Injected Photo
The Spinneweber Auto Sales primary sponsored machine entered victory lane four times in 2011; claiming winner's checks at Lernerville Speedway, Dog Hollow Speedway, Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway, and Mercer Raceway Park. Interestingly enough, perhaps Holtgraver's biggest win of the season, and maybe of his career, came at The Dirt Track at Charlotte in early November; where he dominated his respective World of Outlaws, 'World Finals,' heat race, in front of a live SPEED Channel audience.
"We are very happy with our season..." explained Danny when discussing 2011. "Had a lot of success and had an opportunity to visit a lot of new tracks and learn quite a bit."
When asking about next season, Danny simply replied: "Really looking forward to next season...nothing for certain yet but anxious to get back in the office!"
Danny Holtgraver and the entire D4 operation would like to give a special thanks to all of their sponsors:
Spinneweber Auto Sales
Bastin Track Parts
West View Motors
Bagleys Auto Service
Dan Taylor Racing
Alternative Power Sources
"Next season will will get it done again!"
HOLTGRAVER SEASON UPDATE
-It's been a busy past couple of months for Danny and the D4 team, which included four feature wins at Mercer (2), Lernerville, and PPMS, several all-star events, and Danny's first trip to sprint car racing's crowned jewl, the Knoxville Nationals. Danny scored his first two quick time pole awards in time trials in the All-Star ciruit, coming from consecutive events at Attica and Butler. Both races led to top-five showings for Holtgraver of third and fifth place, respectively. His impressive performances have propelled him to fourth place amongst all stars in the Ohio regional point standings.
Danny's first of many visits to the Knoxville Nationals yielded a great learning experience for the young driver. He earned the opportunity to compete in the star-studded Race of Champions, which was full of winners of the Knoxville Nationals, World of Outlaws points champions and more by winning the sprint car title at Lernerville in 2010. He notched a top-ten effort in that event before placing second in the D-Main to try to get the D4 into the main event. Unfortunately, his car suffered brake issues in the C-Main and he was forced to retire from the event in its early goings.
TWO-DAY ALL-STAR EVENT AT FREMONT
-Danny and the D4 team unloaded for the first half of a two-day all star event at Fremont on May 28. The team started off the night solidly by placing third in the heat race before finishing fourteenth amongst the all-stars in the feature. The following night, Danny wheeled his car to a fifth-place finish in the heat race before experiencing an engine failure early in the feature, ending his night.
ALL-STAR SHOW AT MERCER
-May 21, Holtgraver participated in the all-star event at Mercer Raceway park. His time trial was quick enough to clock him in second fastest, but a wreck in his heat race sent him to the B-main where he was able to finish second. In the A-main, Holtgraver started twelfth in a strong field of cars and was able to work his way up to eighth by the event's end.
-On Friday, May 6, the D4 team started the day off at Lernerville from the tail end of the field in the heat race. However, Holtgraver made his way toward the front and finished the heat in fourth. Fittingly, he lined up on the outside of row two at the start of the feature event and moved forward to second by the drop of the checkered flag. The following night, Danny ran second in his heat race before lining up 11th for the feature. Misfortune struck, however, and a flat tire while running eighth relegated the team to a DNF.
ROUGH OUTING FOR HOLTGRAVER AT FREMONT
-The D4 race team made its first trip to Fremont Speedway this past Saturday, amidst a strong field of forty cars vying for a $3000 winner's purse. Holtgraver started off the night in impressive fashion, landing his 410 sprint car in the seventh position in time trials. However, Danny was only able to log a sixth-place finish in the heat race, shy of a position good enough to transfer him into the A-main. The D4 car lined up on the pole position for the B-main, looking to earn a starting spot in the feature event. It wasn't meant to be, though, as an incident on the first lap of the race sent Holtgraver's car flipping, ending the team's night early.
-Holtgraver returned to Lenerville Speedway for the first time this season after capturing his first career points championship at the prestigious track in 2010. Danny showed strength out of the gate by winning his heat race. He lined up tenth on the grid in the feature event on a track that was slow and on which it was difficult to make up ground. Danny struggled a bit with the set-up of his car in the unusual track conditions, but was able to forge forward for a solid sixth place finish. Look for Danny next weekend at Lenerville on Friday and Mercer Raceway Park on Saturday.
HOLTGRAVER SCORES TOP FIVE IN SEASON OPENER
-Danny started off the 2011 season with a trip to Attica Raceway with the All-Stars in a field of 48 cars. Holtgraver started off the night with a strong 10th-place run in time trials before starting the heat race from fourth and finishing in the third positon. In the feature, Holtgraver started from the seventh position and worked his way up to fifth in a field of very strong cars before the checkered flag flew.
NEW SITE LAUNCHED
-Danny Holtgraver OnLine has refreshed its look with a cleaner, easier to navigate design that reflects the colors of Danny's 2011 ride. Check back reguarly for updates on Danny's progress throughout the season and new content.