Shane Gray inching towards success in his NTB Service Central Pontiac
BAYTOWN, TX – Pro Stock driver Shane Gray and his Gray Motorsports team showed great tenacity as they worked hard to make the show in the tough conditions at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston’s Royal Purple Raceway, and on raceday, Gray held off the No. 1 qualifier in their first-round match a good long while before forfeiting the advantage and bowing out gracefully.
With 20 respectable cars vying for a raceday berth and the hot air thick with humidity all weekend long, the team was pleased to even get their NTB/Service Central Pontiac GXP in at the No. 16 spot. Gray and the crew had been thrashing all weekend and taking whatever measures were necessary to find gains, and their final qualifying pass – a 6.628, 209.36 – was a just-right move that had them on the bump spot with a right to race on Sunday after entering the final day of qualifying on the outside looking in.
Gray faced No. 1 qualifier Allen Johnson in round one, a driver who had his number in the first round at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas just a few weeks ago. Despite recent history, Gray came to the starting line focused on his own game and launched ahead of his competitor by nearly three-hundredths. He kept the advantage all the way to the 1/8 mile marker before Johnson passed him to take the win light, 6.564 to 6.644.
“Well, that was something – just wish it could have been a little something more,” said Gray. “You know, we want to be in that top 10. We were really happy to pick up, get in the show and move into 10th, but after first round we were knocked down again. That top 10 is a big goal of ours, and it is going to be tough, but we just have to keep plugging away to make that happen.”
Gray, now 11th in the Full Throttle Series standings, is just 19 points back from No. 10 man Larry Morgan.
“Every day and every time we go down the racetrack, we expect to learn something,” said Gray. “It’s all part of the process and part of getting our NTB/Service Central car to be competitive. I think we might have learned a little bit of something about engine tuning out there this weekend, and every bit of knowledge is helpful. We know we have to keep trying, keep digging. We have some things in the works, and we’ll get there – and boy, will we be happy when we do.”
The next event on the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series tour is the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals in Atlanta, May 4-6.
Photo by Auto Imagery