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Sep 03, 2013 - 08:19 AM
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2013 NHRA: Shane Gray Leaves Indy as No. 5 Seed in Countdown to the Championship
Posted by: newsla on Sep 03, 2013 - 08:17 AM
2013 NHRA: Shane Gray Leaves Indy as No. 5 Seed in Countdown to the Championship

Gray Motorsports Pro Stock driver Shane Gray departs Lucas Oil Raceway and the 59th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in a far better position than he was at this time last season. The second-generation driver – Gray's father is Funny Car pilot Johnny Gray – qualified for NHRA's Countdown to the Championship two races ago, while last season he missed the field in Indianapolis and was locked out of a run for the season title.


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This time around, Gray is in the thick of things, and he is behind the wheel of a racecar that has been to four final rounds so far this year. Regularly described as "a win waiting to happen," the Gray Motorsports team has uncovered every glitch possible to create a smooth path towards the championship once the Countdown begins, and they're looking to finalize their package within the next few days.

Gray qualified in the No. 6 position at the historic event and easily topped a red-lighting Vincent Nobile in the first round of eliminations with a 6.663 at 207.85 mph, but in the second round, the Denver, N.C.-based driver fell into immediate tire shake and had to let off the throttle while Jeg Coughlin surged ahead for the win.

"In our early run today, the car was way off base," said crew chief Justin Elkes. "A problem that we had been battling was worse then ever, and the engine misfired all the way down. We came back and looked at things – we've had our eye on it all weekend – and we believe it may be carburetor-related. So we changed the carburetors before the second round figuring that we couldn't just go up there and let it misfire because that wasn't going to get us anywhere, and with the change, it acted like it picked up 100 horsepower. We think we found the problem, and we're eager to get back out there and put it to the test."

Gray and his Gray Motorsports crew will head right home to their shop near Charlotte, N.C., and set up for a test session at zMax Dragway, the sight of the first race in the Countdown to the Championship that is scheduled to take place in less than two weeks.

"There will be quite a few Pro Stock cars there at this test session, and it will probably be productive for a few of us," said Gray, the No. 5 seed in the championship chase. "But hopefully, this team will benefit just a little bit more than the others. We've been chasing an intermittent problem, and we've been blaming other things – but this may very well be the root cause. We can't wait to get out there and get it ironed out before the Charlotte race. We have a good shot of winning a race here pretty quick, and that possibility will become a reality if we can get all our ducks in a row."

Qualifying position: No. 6
First round: SHANE GRAY (6.663-second at 207.85 mph) def. Vincent Nobile (6.677, 206.57)
Second round: Jeg Coughlin (6.657, 206.80) def. GRAY (15.224, 67.74)
Session 1: 6.665 sec., 207.78 mph
Session 2: 6.703, 206.76
Session 3: 6.644, 207.85
Session 4: 6.673, 207.53

(After 18 of 24 events)
1. Mike Edwards, 1667
2. Allen Johnson, 1446
3. Jeg Coughlin, 1352
4. Vincent Nobile, 1145
5. SHANE GRAY, 1088
6. Jason Line, 1066
7. Greg Anderson, 1053
8. V. Gaines, 978
9. Erica Enders-Stevens, 779
10. Rodger Brogdon, 755

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