ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 2, 2012) – Qualifying has concluded at the 43rd annual Toyota NHRA Nationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, and Pro Stock driver Shane Gray has earned the opportunity to race for the trophy on Sunday at the event where he reached his first final round.
Gray, the No. 14 qualifier, hopes to relive and improve upon his 2010 performance when he beat Warren Johnson, Bob Yonke, Johnny Gray – his own father – and then was halted by Mike Edwards in the money round.
“It would sure be neat to do that again but go all the way,” said Gray. “We know we aren’t quite in the same position as we were here in 2010, but we all know that anything can happen, and there isn’t anything I’d like more than to take this NTB/Service Central Pontiac to the winner’s circle.”
His Gray Motorsports team had a good number on the board at the end of the first day of qualifying, a 6.564 that kept them in the quick 12 leading into day two, and so they seized an opportunity, swapped motors and tested a different approach just for good measure in the early session on Saturday.
“We tried a few things today, and it turned out that the best thing for us to do was go back to the engine that we started with earlier this weekend,” said Gray, who was 6.60 at the finish line stripe in the third session and repeated with a 6.60 in the final qualifying round. “So we dropped her back in there for that last session, and we didn’t make any big gains, but we do know what we’re working with.”
It isn’t always easy to lead a team and keep your head in the game as a driver, but Gray has faith in his team and knows that his main priority will be to focus on going rounds as the pilot of the NTB/Service Central Pontiac.
“It seems like I’m able to clear my mind a little bit better and drive my best on raceday, and that’s a good thing because anything can happen on Sunday,” said Gray. “We’re going to go out there with the best of what we have, keep our heads held high, and come away with whatever we can. I’m a lucky guy for a lot of reasons, and there isn’t any reason that luck shouldn’t show up tomorrow.”