Back to work for Shane Gray and NTB Service Central team following Brainerd event
BRAINERD, MN – The Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd Int'l Raceway brought much more pleasing conditions than the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series drivers and crew chiefs have seen lately – including cooler air and a far less scorching racing surface, but for Pro Stock driver Shane Gray and the NTB/Service Central team, the end result was not as pleasant as they had hoped.
A haunting misfire issue within the engine plagued the weekend, yet Gray was able to qualify his Chevy Camaro in the No. 16 position for a first-round match with Erica Enders. Gray came to the starting line ready and launched with a respectable .035 reaction, but Enders cut a psychic light and paired it with a low e.t. of the meet pass to stop the NTB/Service Central car, 6.542 to 6.639.
"She made a very good run, and she was .001 on the tree," said Gray. "There wasn't much I could do, but we went into this round knowing we were going to have to be in best form and really do something. We gave it all we had to give; it just wasn't enough. That's racing."
The team will head home to the Gray Motorsports shop in Denver, N.C., with work to do before the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis in two weeks, when they will be aiming to look sharp and ready at what is one of the most prestigious and historic events on the Full Throttle Series tour. The event will also mark the end of the regular season and the final shot for drivers in all categories to secure a position in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
"We moved down a spot in the points, and we're getting to where every little point matters," said Gray, now 8th in the series standings. "Sure, we want to stay in that top 10 with the Countdown right around the corner, but right now, our main focus is on getting the NTB/Service Central Camaro to perform as we want it to. We want to go rounds. We want to win races. Once we can do that – then the championships will become realistic."
The Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis are scheduled to take place Aug. 29-Sept. 3, 2012.