Shane Gray and NTB Service Central Camaro ready to pick up where they left off in Brainerd
DENVER, NC – Pro Stock pilot Shane Gray exhibited improved performance in his NTB/Service Central Racing Chevy Camaro on the recent thrash of three consecutive weekends of racing during the Full Throttle Series famed Western Swing, and the upcoming Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd Int'l Raceway will be a proving ground for the Gray Motorsports team as they continue to refine their program and further solidify their top 10 position in the Full Throttle Series standings.
"We were encouraged by the performance gains of the NTB/Service Central Camaro on the Western Swing, and we've been working hard since we got back," said Denver, N.C.-based Gray, now seventh in the series points with two events to go before the ten participants of the Countdown to the Championship playoffs are decided.
"To qualify better than we have been lately, it just gave us a reminder that we have what it takes. But we just have to keep at it. Now is not the time to rest, and let me tell you, we have a lot of fight left in us."
At the last event of the strenuous 'Swing – the Northwest Nationals just outside of Seattle – Gray earned a position as the No. 9 qualifier, and it was his best raceday start since the season-opening Winternationals in February.
Second-generation drag racer Gray (his father is former Pro Stock driver and current nitro Funny Car pilot Johnny Gray) has twice this year fallen just short of the final round with semifinals appearances in both Topeka and Norwalk. He battled to break into the top 10 for the first part of the season, but once there – following the respectable showing in Topeka – he managed to protect his berth. The stakes are high as the series returns to the facility lodged in the heart of the self-anointed Land of 10,000 Lakes, but Gray is taking the calm and steady approach.
"We're just going to pick up where we left off in Seattle," said Gray. "Our immediate goal will be to qualify a little better, to start off. Then we will have something to work with on Sunday."
Sunday in Brainerd has been successful for Gray in the past; in 2010, his rookie year as a professional Pro Stock competitor, he raced all the way to the final round and collected victories over Rickie Jones and Allen Johnson before defeating his own father in the semifinals and finally being stopped by Jeg Coughlin Jr. in the money round.
"It was awesome to get to the final, but we got our butt beat when it came down to it," said Gray. "Maybe we can find some retribution there this time around. We don't like to get too far ahead of ourselves, but I have a lot of faith in this NTB/Service Central Chevy Camaro, and I have a lot of faith in this team. We've been known to pull one out of the hat every now and again.
"No matter what, I feel like we're in a pretty good position right now. I'm ready to get out there and keep building on what we've already started."