NTB Service Central driver Shane Gray puts together simple plan of attack for raceday in Reading
MOHNTON, PA – NTB/Service Central Racing Pro Stock driver Shane Gray came to Reading to race, and he will be one of 16 drivers who scored a shot to do just that on Sunday at the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.
On the first day of qualifying, Gray was out of the gate with a pair of respectable runs that the team felt were a sign of better things to come. A 6.61 pass followed by a 6.60 sent them home for the night with the idea that a few changes could make a big difference, but when conditions for the third session weren't as pleasing as originally thought for the Pro Stockers, hope of a solid and strong number to take into raceday dwindled.
The Gray Motorsports crew, however, did what they had to do and mustered a 6.623 at 208.49 mph to get into the field in the No. 16 position.
"I thought we could have gone a little bit faster in the first run today, but the entire field slowed down," said crew chief Justin Elkes. "I was hoping we could go up there and run a 6.59 or 6.60, but when we saw how everyone else ran, it turned out that our 6.62 was right in line with what was out there."
The second session was a no-go for the team as an ignition issue put an immediate damper on their intent to improve. Two cylinders within the engine misfired in low gear and the GXP lost momentum and went directly into tire-shake.
Gray will take on No. 1 qualifier Jason Line in the first round of eliminations on Sunday. In 2010 – his rookie season – Gray picked up the second round win of his career by defeating Line in the opening match at the national event in Houston, and in Topeka in 2011, Gray got past Line in the second round en route to the second professional victory of his career.
"The plan is just to go out there and turn on a win light," said Gray. "That's always the plan, no matter who is in the other lane. The first part of the plan – qualifying – has already been accomplished. Now we just need a little luck to close the deal and see how far we can take this NTB/Service Central GXP."