Old Bridge Township Raceway Park
Johnny Gray Breaks Into Field For NHRA Supernationals
Johnny Gray saved his best for last and it was good enough to get the Service Central Racing Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car into Sunday’s 42nd annual NHRA SuperNationals here at historic Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
The Don Schumacher Racing Driver used a 4.170-second, 299.46-mile-per-hour fourth-qualifying run to claim the 15th starting spot for Sunday’s final eliminations and a first-round match with Robert Hight. Eliminations begin at 11 a.m. ET Sunday.
“We’ve had a lot of drama so far this weekend,” said Gray. “But this is a good car, which we’ve shown before and will again. We’re getting better, closer and, as I’ve been saying, when we get it, this will be a fast car.
“Lee Beard (crew chief) and the Service Central team did what they had to do – they got the car to go from A to B and into the show.”
Gray, who entered the weekend holding the ninth spot in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car standings, came into today’s final session not in the starting field of 16.
“We made some major hardware changes to the chassis before this race and I really like the way it drives,” said the 58-year-old Artesia, N.M., native and resident. “We keep getting better, round by round, finding things on each run to improve – and I’m still having fun!”
Gray’s enthusiasm carried over to the success of son Shane who put the Service Central Racing Pro Stock Pontiac GXP into the number-two starting spot and was also quickest in two of the four qualifying sessions.
“I’m happy I’m running in Funny Car today and not in Pro Stock against him, the way he’s running,” said the proud papa, who ran a Pro Stock car last season. “It’s great how the (Gray Motorsports) team is coming together, especially with the win in the last race (Topeka) and his runs here in New Jersey. They’ve come a long way from the early part of the season.”