Shane Gray makes another move up in Big O Tires Service Central Camaro
SONOMA, CA – Shane Gray and the Gray Motorsports team have made no secret of the fact that they embarked upon the Western Swing in full-on test mode in preparation for the looming Countdown to the Championship playoffs, but their Big O Tires/Service Central Chevy Camaro is still managing to shine and climb in the Full Throttle Series Pro Stock standings, and Gray will leave this weekend's NHRA Sonoma Nationals one position higher than he was in when he arrived.
Gray, now seventh in the standings, was the No. 13 qualifier in Sonoma and made his best run of the weekend on Sunday, a 6.565 at 210.87 mph. Unfortunately, it was defending Pro Stock world champion Jason Line in the opposite lane, and Line clocked a very speedy 6.526 at 212 mph to get the win.
Gray's team tested a slew of items and continued to massage a new engine package during qualifying, and they wisely came into raceday well prepared and with a reliable and proven engine nestled in the Big O Tires/Service Central Camaro. The time they recorded against Line would have won in two of the other first-round pairings, but against Line it simply was not enough.
"It's hard to remember that we're in test mode for the Countdown, but we are," said crew chief Justin Elkes. "We're making forward progress, it's just not happening as fast as we would like. However, if everything goes the way that it looks like it's going to, we'll be able to run much better when it matters the most. There are inherent problems that we are beginning to identify, and that's where progress begins."
Gray was the No. 8 man before the tour arrived in Sonoma, and due to steadfast dedication and consistent effort, he has continued to move forward in the standings. With each A to B run down the dragstrip and each inch forward in the points, their confidence as a team grows.
"The mood in our camp is a lot better than it was not too long ago," said Gray. "Sure, we're all a little frustrated because we really, really want to be farther along than we are. But we are still right there in the top 10, we're still fighting, and we are getting stronger.
"Right now, we look forward to the next race because it gives us another chance to work on what we have and make it better. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and boy it's bright. It's just a matter of staying focused for us, and we'll see some real progress here on the racetrack before too long with this Big O Tires/Service Central Camaro. Just wait."
The Full Throttle Series travels to north to Seattle for the next event on the tour, the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals, Aug. 3-5.