Don Schumacher Racing press release
JOHNNY GRAY POWERS INTO SIXTH-STARTING SPOT FOR SUNDAY’S NHRA NATIONALS AT zMAX DRAGWAY
CONCORD, N.C., September 17, 2011 – Johnny Gray today drove the Service Central Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car into the sixth-starting position for Sunday’s fourth-annual NHRA Nationals here at zMAX Dragway.
The 58-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver used a final-round 4.054-second lap at 314.68 miles per hour to achieve the top-half of the field position. He will have lane choice for the opening-round match with 11th-qualifier John Force.
“We’re going to put fresh Valvoline NextGen oil in the Service Central machine and take on John with his ‘brand X’ lubricant,” said the Artesia, N.M. native. “We plan on ruining the (defending) champ’s championship dreams in that first round.
“I’ve been saying ever since we lost our chance to make the Countdown (playoff for the championship), that this Service Central hot rod would hurt some of those cars which made our lives so miserable earlier this season. This car has been running real well of late as Rob Wendland and Dickie Venables (co-crew chiefs) have really gotten this team’s act together.”
In addition to the 4.054 lap, Gray posted a 4.058-second (313.58 mph) and a 4.087-second (312.78 mph) run in earlier sessions.
“This is a quick and fast race car,” said the veteran driver. “I’ve said all along, once we got things going, watch out. Now we’ve got things going and we are going to be a force in the Countdown – and a force next year!”