Shane Gray getting comfortable again in NTB Service Central Pontiac in Dallas
ENNIS, TX – The first day of qualifying at the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex near Dallas meant more to Shane Gray than it did to most. For Gray, driver of the NTB/Service Central Racing Pontiac GXP, it was a chance to shake off any lingering nerves following a stunning crash at the national event in Charlotte just last week.
"I'm not going to lie, I was nervous that first run today," admitted Gray. "But you know how it is, when you hit your finger with a hammer, you want to try not to hit your finger again. I'm just glad to get that first run out of the way, and now I won't be going out there with wide eyes wondering what that's going to feel like. Now I can go up there and get back to doing what I need to do."
Gray's first run down the all-concrete racing surface at famed Texas Motorplex, a track that the Carlsbad, N.M.-native calls home, resulted in a 6.686 at 207.72 mph. At the end of the first session, Gray was 9th in the line-up.
The second session did not produce equal results as the Pontiac shook hard off the starting line and lurched to the right. Gray had to shut off immediately.
"It's been a long time since I've been in the GXP," said Gray, who has been behind the wheel of a brand new Chevy Camaro since mid-season but switched back to the Pontiac following the incident last week. "But really, the problem that we're struggling with right now is with the engine tune-up. We expected to come out here and have a few things to iron out, and really I'm just glad to be back racing.
"We'll get our act together, and tomorrow we'll see what we can get done."
Qualifying will resume at 11:00 a.m., and Gray will have two more chances to improve before the field is set for Sunday eliminations.