JOHNNY GRAY QUALIFIES SIXTH FOR AUTOMOBILE CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA NHRA FINALS
POMONA, Calif., November 12, 2011 – Johnny Gray, aboard his Service Central/Big O Tires Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, will start from the sixth position for Sunday’s 47th-annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals here at the Auto Club Raceway.
The 58-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver needed a 4.107-second pass at 308.28 miles per hour during today’s lone session to break into the field. His effort earned a first-round match with 11th-qualifier John Force when eliminations begin at 11 a.m. PT.
“I had complete confidence in the Service Central team getting the job done to get us into the field,” recounted Gray, whose runs Thursday and Friday (8.957 and 6.551) had him coming into the day on the outside of the 16-car field. “This car has been just great for the last several races (including three-consecutive final-round appearances) and I knew Rob and Dickie (Wendland and Venables, co-crew chiefs) would make it happen.”
Out of the title hunt, Gray will still be in a position to help both his DSR teammates, Matt Hagan and Jack Beckman, who sit one and two in the standings.
“We want to win this race and along the way help out our guys,” explained Gray. “If we get by John in the first round, we can then help by defeating Mike Neff (who sits fourth in the standings) should he also make it to round two. Robert Hight (currently fifth) could be a match in the semifinals.
“We said if we didn’t make the Countdown (to the Championship), we’d be trouble for those cars which did – and we are. We hope to continue this tomorrow.”