JOHNNY GRAY WANTS TO END SEASON ON UPBEAT NOTE AT THIS WEEKEND’S NHRA FINALS
POMONA, Calif., November 7, 2011 – Johnny Gray wants to drive the Service Central Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car into the Auto Club Raceway’s winner circle here at the conclusion of this weekend’s 47th-annual Automobile Club of Southern Californian NHRA Finals to end a roller-coaster season in the most positive fashion.
The team, formed just prior to the beginning of the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season, struggled through the first half, but has rebounded to become one of the most dominant floppers, especially during the past seven races.
“I kept telling everyone this was a fast car and would challenge the leaders once we had jelled as a team,” explained Gray. “We just needed to learn our playbook, get some laps under us and sort out a variety of issues. We did that and the Service Central Funny Car, especially since Rob and Dickie have taken the reigns (Wendland and Venables, who became co-crew chiefs later in the season).”
Since the 58-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver recorded his first career Funny Car win at the August Brainerd (Minn.) event, he has amassed a 16-6 round record and in the first five (of six) races of the Countdown to the Championship playoffs, he has a 12-5 record, accumulated 443 points and been in the last three final rounds, a significantly better performance than any of the drivers competing for the title.
“Yeah, it’s a shame we didn’t make the Countdown,” said Gray. “But, we’re still having fun. I said if we didn’t make it into the playoffs, we’d cause problems for cars which gave us trouble early in the season when we were struggling – and, thanks to my guys, we’ve been doing just that.
“We go out there every week the same as we have all year – looking to win the race. We’re showing the entire category the Service Central car is one to be taken very seriously and one which will be challenging for the championship in 2012!”