GRAY EYES IMPROVEMENTS IN HOUSTON LOOKING FOR CONSISTENT LAPS
BAYTOWN, TEXAS, April 26, 2011 – Johnny Gray will drive the Service Central Racing Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car into this weekend’s 24th annual NHRA Spring Nationals here at Royal Purple Raceway outside Houston expecting better results than his last race two weeks ago in Charlotte.
The 58-year-old Artesia, N.M. native believes, despite some bumps along the way, the new-for-2011 Service Central team within the Don Schumacher Racing stable continues to make positive strides towards being a consistently good race car.
“We found some things to fix during our testing after Charlotte which added to our inconsistency,” explained the veteran racer who has also competed in Pro Stock. “We’re still fighting the ‘new-car blues,’ ‘new-team blues.’
“We are a team which was formed in January. Don (Schumacher, team owner) and Service Central have given us great resources, great equipment, and Lee (Beard, crew chief) along with his guys have done a terrific job putting the car together, but we are still like a young football team without a reliable playbook and with a young quarterback who needs more seasoning.
“We’ve accomplished a lot with little off-season testing time, but this is still a work in progress.”
Gray, who enters the Houston race holding fifth place in the NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car championship standings, does not off any excuses.
“We’re getting to the time (this is the fifth race of the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season) where we should be running a bit better,” he said. “But, as we have shown in places like Las Vegas runner-up finish), on any given day, we’re as good as anyone out there.”
I like the feeling when they drop the body and you’re all alone and you just have to do your job and drive the car.
Last year Gray drove a Pro Stock Pontiac in this race, but does not miss competing in the door-slammer category (in which his son Shane occupies 10th place driving a Service Central car for Gray Motorsports).
“I like to drive Pro Stock,” Johnny Gray said. “But I love to drive a Funny Car.
“I like sitting behind the motor,” a reason he has no desire to try a Top Fuel dragster. “I like the feeling when they drop the body and you’re all alone and you just have to do your job and drive the car.”