SHANE GRAY, NTB/SERVICE CENTRAL PONTIAC GXP FINAL RACE REPORT
SHANE GRAY, NTB/SERVICE CENTRAL PONTIAC GXP
FINAL RACE REPORT – AAA TEXAS NHRA FALL NATIONALS
TEXAS MOTORPLEX, ENNIS, TEXAS
SEPT. 20-23, 2012
NTB Service Central driver Shane Gray misses the field in Dallas but sees the silver lining
Service Central Racing Pro Stock driver Shane Gray is leaving Texas Motorplex earlier than planned, but what was gained over the course of the abbreviated weekend at the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals cannot be measured in rounds or win lights.
Gray heads back home to Denver, N.C., with a brain full of ideas and hope for the future, intensified faith in his Gray Motorsports crew, and a renewed sense of comfort behind the wheel of his NTB/Service Central Pontiac GXP.
Just last week, the second-generation drag racer crashed spectacularly in the second round of eliminations at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals in Charlotte, totaling his Chevy Camaro that had been in competition for just half a season.
A remarkably uninjured Gray, along with his team – including crew chief Justin Elkes, car chief Craig Hankinson, crew members Jason Laimonis and Jep Trammell, as well as everyone at the Gray Motorsports engine shop, all rallied to prepare the Pontiac GXP that had been garaged since the debut of the Camaro in Bristol earlier this season.
“To be honest, we wanted to come out here and win this race,” said Gray. “But let me tell you, this Service Central Racing team pulled together and just worked their hearts out. We’re here because we’ve got a great team, and man, the future looks bright.”
Gray’s first pass of the weekend was his best: a 6.686 at 207.72 mph. The bump spot was a quick 6.61, leaving Gray just on the outside.
“We were at a disadvantage in terms of parts and pieces this weekend because some of what we had on the GXP originally that worked so well, we took off and had on the Camaro – and those pieces aren’t able to be used anymore. But we’re going to go to Rockingham, N.C., on Wednesday to test, and the guys are going to go straight from there to St. Louis,” said Gray, referring to the next event on the Full Throttle Series tour, the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals that are slated to take place beginning in just six days – Sept. 28-30, 2012.
“Really, we’re just grateful to be able to do this at all,” said Gray. “We’ll keep at it, and I know the reward will come.”
Sunday: Qualifying, 12 – 1 a.m. (ET), 1 p.m. re-air, delayed
Sunday: Eliminations, 8:30 -11:30 p.m. (ET), delayed
About Service Central
Service Central® is the automotive service offered exclusively at Tire Kingdom®, NTB-National Tire and Battery®, Merchant’s Tire and Auto® and Big O Tires®. Available at more than 1,300 locations, the certified ASE technicians use state-of-the art equipment to provide quality service.
About TBC Retail Group
Headquartered in Juno Beach, Fla., TBC Retail Group, Inc., a subsidiary of TBC Corporation, operates more than 900 tire and automotive service centers under the brands: Tire Kingdom®, NTB – National Tire and Battery®, Merchant’s Tire and Auto Centers®, Midas®, and SpeeDee Oil Change & Tune-Up®, along with nearly 1800 franchised Big O Tires®, Midas and SpeeDee Oil Change & Tune-Up® stores. TBC Retail Group employs more than 500 associates at its headquarters and approximately 10,000 associates nationally. To locate a store, call 800-NEW-TIRE. TBC Corporation, headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., is the largest marketer of automotive replacement tires through a multi-channel retail and wholesale strategy.
About Gray Motorsports
Gray Motorsports is based in Denver, N.C., near motorsports-hotspot Charlotte. The fully equipped race shop was established in the fall of 2009 to develop a top of the line in-house engine program capable of winning NHRA Pro Stock world championships. Still in its youth, Gray Motorsports has already accumulated two Pro Stock national event wins – the NHRA Finals in Pomona in 2010 and the Topeka SummerNationals in 2011 – with driver Shane Gray at the wheel of his Service Central-backed Chevy Camaro. Dad Johnny Gray piloted the Don Schumacher Racing Service Central Funny Car to victory in Brainerd in 2011 and Englishtown and Sonoma in 2012, bringing the Gray Motorsports victory tally to five and counting. With younger brother and Comp Eliminator driver Jonathan rounding out the drag racing trio, the Gray Motorsports team is armed for and aiming right at success on NHRA’s 23-race Full Throttle Series tour.
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