Funny Car driver Johnny Gray determined that in 2013, what he deemed would be his final full-time season of Funny Car competition, he would pilot the eye-catching Pitch Energy Dodge, adorned with a special paint scheme in honor of his father, John R. Gray, who passed away at the age of 71 on October 28, 2001. Johnny and his sister, Terry Chandler, jointly funded the 2013 racing efforts through Pitch Energy Corp.
"It's a real pretty car, and my sister and I thought this would be a fitting tribute to dad," said Johnny. "Marbob was the parent company to Pitch Energy, which was another of his companies, and actually it was named after the card game. My dad loved the game of Pitch. Every afternoon after work, he and a handful of his cronies would get together wherever they were and sit down and play for two or three hours."
Johnny's father was a businessman in the Southwest; he was co-founder and President of Marbob Energy Corp., a thriving company in the oil and gas industry.
"My dad, John R., never really wanted anything to do with racing, no matter what it was I was racing – go-karts, late models, dirt cars, sprint cars, alcohol cars – whatever it was, my dad had no use for it. Until the fuel cars," Johnny continued. "For some unknown reason, he really liked the fuel cars. When I licensed in Paul Smith's school fuel Funny Car in Dallas, Texas, my dad was there.
"I think as we were all getting older; he was seeing the value of spending more time with his kids, and I was realizing the value of my dad's knowledge. We became a lot closer, and he started going to every race that he could. And wouldn't you know it? He'd bring a bunch of cronies with him and between rounds they would play a game of Pitch."
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