INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 4) — Pro Stock front-runner Shane Gray secured the No. 3 starting spot in this year’s 62nd annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals with a stout Saturday night run of 6.577 seconds at 209.52 mph in his Valvoline/Nova Services Chevrolet Camaro.
Gray, the 2014 Indy champ, says earning a second trophy at the sport’s biggest and longest-running national event would be beyond anything he could imagine.
“It’s hard to win any race in the NHRA, but they always say if you only win one, make it Indy,” Gray said. “Well, we’ve been fortunate enough to win a few of these races across the country, but certainly the one we got here is extra special.
“I’m not much of one to scour the history books, but it’s pretty hard to overlook the list of NHRA greats that have won at this place. To have my little entry in the record books is very, very cool, and if we could manage to do it again we would be on an even shorter list of people that have won Indy more than once, so that’s our goal.”
By qualifying third overall, Gray extends his streak of top-half qualifying efforts to 12 races. Furthermore, he has been in one of the top-four spots on six of those occasions.
“Consistent qualifying results point to having a consistent race car, and consistent race cars win races,” Gray said. “Sooner or later things fall into place, just like it did for us here two years ago, and you knock down four opponents on race day and get that Wally trophy.
“What’s cool is the trophy they give out at Indy is a little different than the others. It’s shiny gold and that really makes it stand out on the mantel. Maybe we can get the bookend this weekend. The guys, led by our crew chief Dave Connolly, really deserve to get a win, and I’d surely love to deliver one to them, especially this one.”
Gray is slated to open race day against two-time and reigning world champion Erica Enders, who qualified 14th with a 6.648 at 208.14 mph. Enders is winless on the season but is coming off her best outing of the year — a semifinal finish — in Brainerd, Minn.
“All the racers in this class are tough and certainly Erica’s team knows how to win,” Gray said. “I’d expect she’ll be up for the race and she’s usually very good on the Tree, so we’ll need to be up for the challenge. We’re running better right now, but race day is always different.
“From what I understand it’s going to be hotter tomorrow, so I’m glad we made good passes in the heat because that’s what we’ll be dealing with. We’re ready.”
Eliminations begin at noon, Monday. FOX Sports 1 will air the early part of Monday’s eliminations live from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Live TV coverage will then shift to the main FOX Network with action from 1 to 4 p.m. (All times listed in ET).
Credit: Geiger Media Global