The upcoming NHRA event at zMAX Dragway is a bit of a home game for Shane Gray.
DENVER, N.C. (April 9, 2014) – Shane Gray is, perhaps, a little more eager than normal to race his bright red KYMCO Chevrolet Camaro this weekend as NHRA makes its fifth stop on the 2014 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour. The NHRA Four-Wide Nationals will be contested right in the backyard of the Mooresville, N.C., resident, who was born and raised in New Mexico.
Gray has raced in each of the Four-Wide events held at zMAX Dragway; the first was in 2010, his rookie season. Last year, however, the second-generation drag racer did something he had yet to do in Charlotte: advance to the final round.
As the No. 3 qualifier, Gray made his way through the first two rounds of the competition and reached his first final round of the season. Most notably, it was the first of three consecutive finals for the Gray Motorsports driver who would race in six final rounds by season's end and finally get his first win of the year at the Las Vegas race that fall.
Racing the Four-Wide format can be a curveball, though.
The once yearly event sends four drivers at a time down the track vying for qualifying positions in each of four sessions, and championship Sunday features a trio of four-car rounds. In rounds one and two, the first two cars to cross the finish line will advance. The final four-car standoff will result in one winner and one runner-up, and the last two cars to cross the finish line will technically post semifinals finishes. The starting line procedures are somewhat altered from the norm as well.
"You almost have to think of it as an exhibition type of deal," said Gray. "It's okay, it's fun. It's interesting, that's for sure – and we're all so used to racing two cars side-by-side that I think everybody is at just about the same level of confusion, but by the time you get to that final, the confusion is all cleared up."
Gray, currently 7th in the series standings, has seen his KYMCO Chevrolet picking up pace lately, including at a test session last week at zMAX Dragway.
"The KYMCO Camaro is showing to be a good, fast car, and I think we have a good shot of displaying that this weekend," said Gray. "We've had a good start, but maybe this race this weekend will put us where we need to be. That's what we all want, that's what we're going after. It'll happen when it's supposed to, and everything will come together – but I'd sure like it to be there at home in Charlotte."