CHANDLER, Ariz. - Final qualifying for the 29th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird International Raceway near Phoenix has concluded, and Don Schumacher Racing Funny Car driver Johnny Gray has once again stood out in the crowd at the desert facility. Gray, of Artesia, N.M., wheeled his gorgeous Pitch Energy Dodge to a series of spectacular runs that ultimately led to the capture of the fourth No. 1 qualifying start of his professional career and second consecutive pole at Firebird Raceway.
The third qualifier was another strong showing for the Pitch Energy team as they lit up the scoreboard with a 4.045 at 314.46 to again establish themselves as the quickest in the field, more than two-hundredths ahead of the next best. The final session ended abruptly in tire smoke, but Gray's bold number from earlier in the weekend was untouchable, and he maintained hold of the coveted No. 1 position.
"We made a spectacular run Saturday morning," said Gray. "It was stupid fast for the session. We came back and thought we might have gotten away with something, so we backed it down just a little bit - and maybe we backed it down just a little bit too far. But hey, you learn every time you come to the starting line, and boy we feel really, really confident going into tomorrow. Who knows, maybe I can get this one off my bucket list.
"All my guys are just having a blast this year. We're all confident, Rob and Rip and the whole crew, and the excitement just continues to build with this team surrounding this car," said Gray, who will line up next to Robert Hight in the first round of eliminations on Sunday. "That means we're looking forward to tomorrow and doing what we can to put the Pitch Energy Dodge in the winner's circle."
Don Schumacher Racing