Gray ready to drive NTB Service Central Pontiac onward and upward on second day in Reading
MOHNTON, PA – Pro Stock driver Shane Gray settled into his NTB/Service Central Racing Pontiac GXP at the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway and aimed upwards for a position in the field and a chance to race for the title on Sunday. The first day of the event concluded with two clean passes down the quarter-mile dragstrip and a good baseline for what is to come on Saturday.
In the first session, Gray, a semifinalist in Reading in his first season of racing in the extremely competitive Pro Stock category, raced to a 6.619 at 207.53 mph and was 10th in the line-up when the final car crossed the finish line. The team, led by crew chief Justin Elkes, noted that the back-half numbers were not up to par on their initial journey down the track, but the early incremental times held promise.
The second round showed some improvement and further incited encouragement for the devoted Gray Motorsports crew as Gray clocked a 6.608 at nearly 209 mph that was 13th quickest overall for the day.
"That was a little better," said Elkes. "But we feel like there is more in there that we aren't quite getting. We've got some work to do before tomorrow, but we feel pretty good that we are continuing down the right path. The proof will be in what we are able to extract before the weekend is over."
Second-generation driver Gray was confident that the team would see a better qualifying position before the field is set.
"I have a lot of faith in this team, as I've said many times before," said Gray. "We've rebounded from a lot in a very short amount of time, and to get that car down the racetrack and showing even small amounts of improvement is very encouraging at this point.
"If the weather holds out and we have a dry racetrack tomorrow to race on, I think we'll have something to work with."