Shane Gray sees the win light in the first round of four-wide competition
CONCORD, NC – Shane Gray and the Gray Motorsports team picked up a round win in the Tire Kingdom/Service Central Pontiac GXP at the unique, once yearly NHRA Four-Wide Nationals and are taking more than that home from the event. They're also bringing back a surge of renewed confidence.
The Denver, N.C.-based team handled a tough mental blow in qualifying when they made their best run of the weekend, a 6.545 at 210.83 mph, in the first session and then found that the engine was hurt and required extensive repair that would not allow them to use it again during the weekend. They had noses to the grindstone but were unable to improve upon those initial numbers. Still, they earned a raceday start from the No. 11 position.
The team came to the starting line with a positive attitude and the will to win on raceday, and fortune was on their side as two of the four competitors in their first-round quad – Greg Stanfield and Dave Connolly – timed out at the starting line, leaving Gray, who recorded a 6.620, and Vincent Nobile to race to victory.
Gray was grouped with Nobile, Allen Johnson and Greg Anderson in the second round of eliminations, and he was first to leave the starting line in the Service Central Pontiac but quickly ran into traction trouble. He was down for the count.
"We just missed the call on the racetrack," said crew chief Justin Elkes. "We thought we had a good shot, but that No. 1 lane threw everybody for a curve."
"I was really surprised that we didn't make it down the track on that last run," agreed Gray. "But it was more surprising that Stanfield and Connolly got timed out in the first round. I didn't realize that much time had gone by, and all of a sudden, the tree came on and the light was green, so I had to let the clutch out. Honestly, we got lucky there."
In just two weeks, the format returns to the normal two-lane version in Houston, and Gray and the team hope to have their brand new Chevy Camaro ready to race. On Monday, the team will return to zMax Dragway to test the new car.
"I feel positive about how we did here this weekend," said Gray. "We gave it all we had, and I think we're about to start seeing the progress that we've been after."
The next event on the Full Throttle Series tour is the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals in Houston, April 27-29.