Johnny Gray Hopes Better Car Means Success At This Weekend’s Ohio NHRA Event

Recent improvements to the Service Central Racing Team’s Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car provides driver Johnny Gray with encouragement heading into this weekend’s fifth annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals here at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.

According to the Don Schumacher Racing driver, some major chassis-system revisions two races ago transformed the Funny Car’s on-track characteristics.

Johnny Gray
Johnny Gray

Photo by: Glenn F. Katauskas

“I have no complaints with how this car drives,” said the 58-year-old Artesia, N.M., native and resident. “We’ve been chasing a lot of different issues with the Service Central Funny Car, but that’s what happens when you put together a new team (the Service Central Team was formed in January) and then go racing right away. Don (Schumacher), his organization and Service Central have given us the pieces, we’re just doing our best to get them all right – and things are better.

“Obviously, I’m hoping for continued improvement this weekend in Norwalk where our goal is to go rounds. It will be my first time driving a Funny Car here and I’m excited about the challenge of a new track.”

Last week Gray qualified in the top half of the field for the Bristol, Tenn. race before falling to Jeff Arend by an eyelash – a scant .023 seconds – in a tight first-round battle.

“We just got outrun,” Gray explained. “We got down the track during qualifying and then in the first round; Jeff just was quicker.”

The Service Central car qualified seventh in Bristol on the strength of a 4.101-second fourth-round pass at 309.63 miles per hour.

“We’re capable of being fast and competitive,” he said. “Now, we just have to be consistent and make consistent, strong runs. We’ll get there; I’m sure.”