Returning Topeka champ Shane Gray aims to defend in NTB Service Central Pontiac
DENVER, NC – A full year has passed since Pro Stock driver Shane Gray claimed the second title of his career at Heartland Park Topeka, but the memory of the accomplishment is still fresh, and the second-generation driver is motivated to build on last season’s victory with a strong performance in the NTB/Service Central Pontiac GXP at the upcoming Dollar General NHRA Summernationals.
When he last competed in Topeka, Gray qualified in the No. 7 position and proceeded to dispose of Erica Enders in the first round before delivering a 1-2 punch to the multi-championship KB Racing team led by drivers Jason Line (second-round opponent) and Greg Anderson (semifinals challenger). Both of the KB cars spun the tires, while Gray and his Gray Motorsports-finessed GXP glided to quicker e.t.s and, as a result, win lights.
In the final, Gray took on Greg Stanfield, a driver notorious for leaving the starting line first. As expected, Stanfield took the initial edge in their match – but by just .007-second – and Gray closed the gap, nabbed the lead by half-track, and held on for a rewarding victory that moved him into the top 10 in the Full Throttle Series standings.
“I know my guys worked real hard before we even got to Topeka last year,” said Gray. “It paid off then, and I’d like to think that their hard work will pay off again. We may not have the quickest and fastest car out there right now, but sometimes we seem to figure things out when the other guys have missed it.”
Scoring the title in 2011 ignited a surge of confidence for the Denver, N.C.-based team, and repeat success at the Dollar General Summernationals would guarantee a step back into the top 10. Gray is currently just outside in the No. 11 position.
“We were lucky there last year, but man, my guys did a good job with our Service Central Pontiac,” said Gray. “We have a great car, and if we can dig up a little more of that luck and work just as hard, who knows? It could be our day again.”