Big O Tires/Service Central driver Shane Gray is studying up in preparation for Mile-High Nationals
DENVER, NC – Big O Tires/Service Central Racing driver Shane Gray and his Gray Motorsports team are prepared to tackle the unique environmental conditions of the next event on NHRA's Full Throttle Series tour, the 33rd annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Denver's Bandimere Speedway. The high altitude of the facility creates a racing scenario that is particularly tricky for the naturally aspirated factory hot rods of the Pro Stock category in which Gray competes.
"This is a very difficult race to prepare for," said Gray. "Our best bet is to go up there, take our notes from last year, and see how we do. This is one race that is very different from the rest, but it's also one that we look forward to each and every year."
Gray, currently 8th in the Full Throttle Series Pro Stock standings, has accumulated a modest assortment of round wins so far this season that includes a pair of semifinals performances (Topeka and Norwalk), and he will looking for the win light as many times as possible on raceday to grow his collection.
"We've been pretty much nonstop at the shop, and there are a few different things that we've been working on," said Gray, who resides near Charlotte in Denver, N.C. "We had a good day in Norwalk going to the semis, and the car ran decent – but we haven't found anything extraordinary yet. We're sure looking.
"I'm not going to say that we're going to be better by leaps and bounds up there on the mountain, but we're making a little more power – and we certainly hope to show it. It'll be a challenge up there, but that's what makes it fun."
Gray has only raced in the exceptionally competitive Pro Stock class since 2010, but he already has two national event wins to his credit and has finished in the exclusive top 10 in each season. Although he was unable to move forward from the first round at Bandimere Speedway last year, Gray was a top-half qualifier and outran two opponents on raceday on the mountain in his debut season.
The second-generation drag racer – dad Johnny Gray pilots the Big O Tires/SpeeDee Oil Change and Tune-Up Funny Car – doesn't shrink from the challenge ahead, and in fact marks the event as one of his favorite stops on the tour.
"Bandimere Speedway is a top notch facility," said Gray. "It doesn't get any better, and the folks who run the track – Larry Crispe and John Bandimere, especially – they're just awesome people. They have treated us very, very well, and we always look forward to going back to their place. It's going to be a lot of fun taking our Big O Tires/Service Central Chevy Camaro up there for the first time and seeing what she can do."