Don Schumacher Racing press release
JOHNNY GRAY REACHES QUARTERFINALS OF THE AAA TEXAS NHRA FALL NATIONALS
ENNIS, TEXAS, September 25, 2011 – Johnny Gray, driver of the Service Central/NTB-National Tire Battery Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, lost a second-round race today to his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the 26th-annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals here at the Texas Motorplex.
Coming from a strong number-two qualifying position, the 58-year-old Gray opened final eliminations with a first-round run of 4.173 seconds at 304.53 miles per hour for a win against Paul Lee. The Artesia, N.M. native lost traction in his quarterfinal match with Capps, posting a 4.542 at 209.36 mph against the other DSR driver’s 4.228 at 301.20 mph.
“We knew Ron, who is fighting in the Countdown (to the Championship), would make a great run and we intended to run with him; we were not giving him anything,” explained Gray. “We tried to run with him, but just didn’t get it done today.
“We came into today’s race looking for a Wally, going for the trophy. My Service Central guys did a great job in qualifying (4.141 seconds at 303.78 mph) and in the first round; we thought we had a shot today.”
Gray has adopted the role of spoiler for the remainder of the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season as the Service Central Team continues to improve and prepare for next season.
“It’s a shame we didn’t make the Countdown, but as I’ve said, this Service Central hot rod has been getting better and better and will be a factor for the last four races,” explained Gray. “And we know we’re going to be even better next year as we’ll have a complete season under our belt.
“We’ll head into Reading (Pa.) for the race at Maple Grove Raceway next weekend running the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Car and we hope to do better than the last time (Denver, a DNQ),” he said. “The foundation is based in Pennsylvania and we really would like to perform well for some of the kids and their families who will be coming out to see us (Alex’s Lemonade Stand raises money in the fight against childhood cancer).”