DENVER, North Carolina (April 20) - Youngest NHRA National Event Winner Tanner Gray, who only 13 days prior to his 18th birthday collected his first NHRA Pro Stock Wally at the Las Vegas National Event, is focused on returning to the winners circle this weekend in Baytown, Texas.
“Since Las Vegas, my focus has intensified on winning another national event. Our Gray Motorsports Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro team is feeling very confident heading into Houston,” Tanner continues, “and I am even hungrier for the opportunity to go out there and put this car back in the winner’s circle.”
Tanner Gray’s win in Las Vegas made him the youngest NHRA professional driver to win a national event at 17 years old surpassing Jeb Allen who held the record for more than 40 years with his victory at the 1972 Englishtown event that came just over a month after he turned 18 years old.
After consecutive final round appearances for the Gray Motorsports team, Gainesville National Event Winner and K&N Horsepower Challenge Runner-Up Shane Gray will park his ride this weekend to focus on supporting the efforts of Tanner Gray and teammate Drew Skillman.
“One of the benefits of running two cars is the data that our team is able to generate.” Tanner says. “With my dad (Shane) not running this weekend, we will solely focus on the task at hand, which is getting our Gray Motorsports Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro into the winners circle yet again for the second race weekend in a row. Last week we had the opportunity to test at our home track at Zmax Dragway in preparation for the next 3 race swing (Houston, Charlotte, and Atlanta). We were able to consistently make attractive runs.”
Crew chief Dave Connolly also weighed in on only racing one car. “This week we are cutting back to one car which has its pros and cons. On one hand we can really focus on Tanner’s car and on Drew’s new car. But on the other hand, we will miss the extra data Shane’s car has been bringing to the table.”
Historically, Royal Purple Raceway has presented unpredictable track conditions. “Houston can be a challenging place.” Connolly says. “Definitely a lot more humidity than we’ve seen all year but luckily we are up for the challenge and looking to keep our final round momentum going. One thing we got in our corner is Tanner got his first taste of blood in Vegas and he is ready as ever to get back out there. So Houston here we come!”
Pro Stock qualifying sessions are scheduled for 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., Friday, and 1:30 and 4 p.m., Saturday, with eliminations starting at noon, Sunday. Television coverage on FOX Sports 1 begins with a live qualifying show at 7:30 p.m., Friday, followed by elimination action at 4:30 p.m., Sunday. (All times listed in CDT).