ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. – A near-spectacular qualifying performance gave Gray Motorsports Pro Stock driver Shane Gray a solid leg to stand on this weekend for the opening round of eliminations at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
Gray, of Denver, N.C., qualified in the No. 2 spot with a solid 6.564, and he had a powerful car that was in the top three in three of the four sessions. The opening round of qualifying saw Gray fly to an impressive 211.70 mph that would stand of low e.t. of the meet.
On raceday, the second-generation driver continued to show he had a top 3 car as he was second quickest in his first-round defeat of Mark Martino (6.594 to 6.752) and third-quickest in his quarterfinals meeting with Vincent Nobile. Although he had the quicker car, it was Nobile who turned on the win light in their meeting following some unusual happenings at the starting line when Gray unintentionally illuminated both of the pre-stage bulbs and Nobile quickly followed suit.
The expedited staging process resulted in much slower than usual reaction times for both drivers, with Nobile scooting off the line ahead of Gray for a holeshot win.
"That was completely unintentional," said Gray, currently 7th in the Mello Yello Series Pro Stock points. "I feel pretty bad about it. I'd rather race him outright than have it go down like that, but it is what it is.
I'm really happy with the car; the Gray Motorsports Chevy Camaro is just awesome right now, and we're having a great time. We'll get back after it in Bristol here in a couple of weeks."
Despite extremely warm conditions, Gray's Camaro was right on track, which sets the stage for a dynamic summer as the warm months come into view on the calendar.
"Every time we let the clutch out this weekend, we were top 3 both during qualifying and on raceday," said crew chief Justin Elkes. "We were second-quickest in the first round and third-quickest in the quarterfinals.
Our car performed really well, and even that last run on a track that was the trickiest we've had this weekend, we feel like we could have run faster. We left a lot on the table. This weekend we were really encouraged to see that the motor is running well for the summer months, and the car is performing on hot and greasy tracks. It's very promising."