Brainerd, Minn. – Pro Stock driver Shane Gray and his Gray Motorsports crew have spent hours and hours over the course of the past couple of days pouring over data and fine-tuning their NTB/Service Central Racing Chevy Camaro in order to up their performance at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd Int'l Raceway, and their efforts have so far been rewarded – though modestly – with a chance to race for the money.
Gray, who will challenge Erica Enders in the first round of eliminations, hovered in the 6.63 to 6.65-second zone through four rounds of qualifying, clocking a top speed of nearly 208 mph. The scoreboards on his side of the racetrack, though, never truly displayed what the team felt they had within their grasp.
"There is a misfire in the engine," explained crew chief Justin Elkes. "It's been haunting us all year, and it shows up when it wants. We haven't found it yet, and yes it's frustrating, but we just have to keep after it. We didn't qualify as well as we wanted, but we have actually seen progress here this weekend when you really pick it apart. We're hoping that we can expand on that tomorrow."
While they've been battling the misfiring engine, Gray's driving has consistently improved. In the exceptionally competitive Pro Stock category where every thousandth of a second counts, cutting a good light and hitting shift points are critical tasks.
"That's the bright spot right now," said Gray. "I know there are brighter days ahead, and heck, I'm hoping tomorrow is one of those brighter days, but we're going out there tomorrow with our heads held high – and we want to see some win lights. It's time for this NTB/Service Central Camaro to turn some heads."
Shane Gray NTB/Service Central Chevy Camaro
Qualifying position: No. 16
First-round opponent: No. 1 qualifier Erica Enders
Session 1: 6.635-second at 207.50 mph
Session 2: 6.650, 206.80
Session 3: 6.645, 207.78
Session 4: 6.654, 207.82
Full Throttle Schedule:
Sunday: Eliminations at 11 a.m. (CT)
Source: Gray Motorsports