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Apr 21, 2013 - 07:49 AM
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2013 NHRA: Shane Gray Sets Career Bests and Qualifies No. 3 at zMAX
Posted by: newsla on Apr 21, 2013 - 07:48 AM
2013 NHRA: Shane Gray Sets Career Bests and Qualifies No. 3 at zMAX

Qualifying for the Dollar General NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway has concluded, and Pro Stock campaigner Shane Gray is situated in the No. 3 position following his strongest qualifying performance of the season that will result in his best start since the national event in Englishtown in 2011, when he qualified second.


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Gray, a second-generation drag racer who resides in nearby Denver, N.C., had the quickest car on Friday in a cut-short day of racing that allowed only 10 Pro Stockers a chance at the racetrack before heavy rains set in. Gray was awarded provisional No. 1 qualifier status for the first time this season and came into the second day of the event confident that he would earn a start from the top half of the field for the second consecutive race. Gray qualified in the No. 7 spot in Las Vegas two weeks ago.

The entire Gray Motorsports team was very pleased with the initial 6.601 at 210.67 mph run clocked on Friday, but their expectations were exceeded when Gray's sleek Chevy Camaro vaulted to the finish line in the opening session on Saturday and a jaw-dropping 6.498 at 213.03 mph appeared on the scoreboard. The remarkable e.t. and speed eclipsed Gray's previous career best numbers (6.501, 212.46) by a substantial margin.

"We've tested so much, and to finally see the hard work of this Gray Motorsports team showing up at the racetrack is a great feeling," said Gray. "On Friday, we kind of got a lucky break with only 10 cars able to make it down the track. But today was a different story, every car here had the same chance, and we were able to improve and stay up there near the top."

The unique 4-wide event pits four drivers against one another in each round of eliminations, with the two quickest in each quad advancing. Three rounds of eliminations are scheduled, with Gray starting in a set that also includes Warren Johnson, Erica Enders-Stevens, and Greg Stanfield.

"I'm not too worried about the format," said Gray. "It was good to get three practice sessions in before the first round, and I feel ready for it. It's different, but it's all good.

"It's been a long time since we've been able to go home on Saturday night feeling like we had a chance to come back on Sunday and win the race. It's a great feeling, and no matter what happens here, we feel really good about the rest of this season. I'm excited to get to the racetrack tomorrow."

Event Schedule:
Sunday, April 21: Final eliminations at 12:00 noon

Television Coverage (all coverage on ESPN2):
Eliminations: Sunday, April 21 – 7:00 - 10:00 p.m.
(All times Eastern)

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