Phoenix: Danny Gruninger final report

GRUNINGER'S SMART DECISION KEEPS TEAM FROM QUALIFYING Chandler, Az. -- In the game of poker and often in life, sometimes the best play is simply to fold your hand and play the game another day. 23-year old Danny Gruninger, the second year...

GRUNINGER'S SMART DECISION KEEPS TEAM FROM QUALIFYING

Chandler, Az. -- In the game of poker and often in life, sometimes the best play is simply to fold your hand and play the game another day.

23-year old Danny Gruninger, the second year driver of the USRECOGNITION.COM Pro Stock Dodge Stratus entered the final qualifying session on Saturday evening unqualified in the 16-car field at the NHRA Arizona Nationals contested in Chandler, Az. For the final session, Gruninger was relegated to the left lane, which during the weekend's previous two qualifying sessions had given most Pro Stock competitors fits, attempting to tame a noticeable bump about 1,100 feet down the 1320 foot track.

"In qualifying we are given two chances to race in each lane," noted the Denver, Colo. based driver Gruninger. "However, since our third session was cancelled due to rain we were placed in that left lane where we got loose in on Friday, and where Gordie Rivera crashed in front of us. We have learned a lot with solid run data on those two passes. It's the cards we are dealt, and we'll play our hand out."

And play he did.

Gruninger left the starting line recording a career-best 60 foot time, 0.976 seconds then continued to a 330-foot time of 2.774 (another career best). At 660 foot the USRECOGNITION.COM Pro Stock Dodge stopped the clocks in 4.278 seconds, however about a second later, Gruninger noticed the engine RPM beginning to climb, an indication the rear tires were spinning. As he approached the finish-line and most certainly a race-day start, the second year driver made a very veteran decision and pulled his parachute and shut off his engine about 75 feet prior to the finish-line. The decision slowed the Colorado Pro Stock car to a 6.683 second E.T. at only 200 miles per hour. Gruninger ended up in the 17th position, one spot from a Sunday race-day start.

"After looking back and thinking about it, Danny absolutely made the correct decision," said team owner Mark Gruninger. "Our incremental numbers were the best ever on this run and the car was on pace to recording a 6.64 second E.T. The computer showed some serious tire spin and drive shaft vibration at five seconds into the run. We saw the car get loose from the starting line. By pulling the chutes and shutting the engine off early Danny saved our car. Unfortunately the tricky left lane claimed the Mountain View Pro Stock car of Nick Mitsos just a few pairs after our pass. We are happy Vinnie Deceglie walked away from that accident."

-source: gruninger motorsports

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Gordie Rivera , Danny Gruninger