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Nov 11, 2012 - 05:56 PM
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2012 NHRA: Four Good Passes For Shane Gray In Big O Tires GXP
Posted by: newsla on Nov 11, 2012 - 05:50 PM
NHRA
2012 NHRA: Four Good Passes For Shane Gray In Big O Tires GXP Set The Stage For Positive Possibilities On Raceday In Pomona


Service Central driver Shane Gray rounded out qualifying for the Auto Club NHRA Finals with a pair of straight passes down the quarter-mile dragstrip at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in his Big O Tires Pontiac GXP, and the second-generation driver from Denver, N.C., will start from the No. 12 spot on the final raceday of the 2012 season with Erica Enders in the opposite lane.

 

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Gray began the weekend by clocking a pair of clean and straight runs – a 6.61 on Thursday followed by a 6.58 on Friday – to put the Big O Tires Pontiac GXP on the board. Gray entered the final day of qualifying, Saturday, in the top half of the field.

In the early Saturday session, Gray improved on his previous qualifying-best with a 6.573 at just over 210 mph, but with the best conditions of the weekend on hand, much of the field also improved – and Gray was bumped down to the No. 11 position. Although Gray did not improve in the last round of qualifying, he was out of danger with a 6.590 and landed 12th out of 21 cars looking for a raceday start.

"Yesterday we did better than the day before, and today we did better than yesterday," said Gray. "We continue to improve, and we like that. If I do my job tomorrow and, as a team, we all do our job, we have a chance. That's the most we can ask for before it's time to go home and start putting all of our energy towards next year. We've got a chance tomorrow, and we'll see what we can do with this Big O Tires Pontiac."

Crew chief Justin Elkes was in pursuit of a 6.55 or 6.56 in the last session, but was not brought down by the 6.59 that appeared on the scoreboard.

"We thought we could have been quicker, but we made some changes to the car. Some changes were good, and some were not," said Elkes. "In all reality though, with some of the changes that we made, there were things responding in a certain way that makes us think we could be faster tomorrow than we were in qualifying.

"We made four good runs, and we would have liked to have stayed in the top 8, but 12th isn't bad [for how quick the field is]. Tomorrow morning we run Erica, and we were within two-hundredths of her today. We can win that."

Shane Gray, Big O Tires/Service Central Racing Pontiac GXP
Final qualifying position: No. 12
First round opponent: No. 5 qualifier Erica Enders

Qualifying Results
Thursday
Session one: 6.614-second at 208.81 mph
Friday
Session two: 6.588, 209.98
Saturday
Session three: 6.573, 210.05
Session four: 6.590, 209.92

NHRA FULL THROTTLE EVENT: Auto Club NHRA Finals, Pomona, Calif.
Sunday: Championship eliminations, 11 a.m.

ESPN2 SCHEDULE:
Sunday: 6 p.m. EST qualifying; 7 p.m. EST, eliminations


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