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Oct 29, 2012 - 05:47 PM
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Shane Gray Puts A Good Run In The Bank On Raceday At Big O Tires Nationals
Posted by: newsla on Oct 29, 2012 - 05:45 PM
NHRA
2012 NHRA: Shane Gray Puts A Good Run In The Bank On Raceday At Big O Tires Nationals In Las Vegas


Pro Stock driver Shane Gray wheeled his Big O Tires Pontiac GXP right down the racetrack in the first round of eliminations at his sponsor's title event, the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – and although he didn't get the win light in his opening-round meeting with the No. 1 qualifier, Gray will leave Las Vegas with more information gathered and a continuously brightening view on the future.

 

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After bouncing back from a crash at zMax Dragway in Charlotte in September, Gray has been piloting the Pontiac GXP that he was in earlier this season before debuting a new Camaro in Bristol. The return to the GXP and a shift in their engine program has given the Denver, N.C.-based team plenty to work on, and after being locked out of the Countdown to the Championship for the first time in his still-young career, Gray has been focused on ensuring that next season will be a completely different story.

That means that although the Gray Motorsports team is striving to qualify well and go rounds on raceday, they are also in test mode.

Gray qualified in the No. 16 position at The Strip and landed a first-round meeting with Jason Line. In preparation for their morning match, the team was well aware that without lane choice, they would likely be traveling down the less-desirable side of the racetrack.

"We were somewhat backed into a corner," said crew chief Justin Elkes. "We knew we would have to back the car down just to get it down the track, so we made the changes and were able to get down the track, but obviously that wasn't going to be enough for what Jason had."

Line clocked a 6.636 at 208.42 to Gray's 6.698, 206.76 for the win, but the notable factor from Gray's perspective was that his was one of just three cars out of eight to make it down the lane in the first round.

"That really wasn't a bad run, and we were happy to get down there in the Big O Tires Pontiac," said Gray. "We're just not fast enough yet. We may have figured a few things out this weekend, and every little bit helps. For the immediate future, we're going to Pomona and we'll unload the car just like we loaded her up here. We've got big changes in store for next season, and that keeps us excited."

Shane Gray, NTB/Service Central Racing Pontiac GXP
Final qualifying position: No. 16
First round results: Jason Line (6.636-second at 208.42 mph) def. Shane Gray (6.695, 206.76)

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Nov. 8-11, Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals, Pomona, Calif.

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