COMMERCE,GA (May 8)- For the third time in his young career, which includes a victory at the Las Vegas event making him the youngest NHRA winner in history, Tanner Gray came up just short of the money round with another semi final appearance at the 37th Annual Lucas Oil Southern Nationals.
The first round matchup during elimination’s featured a Father/Son battle in which Son, Tanner, came out on top. This was the first Tanner and Shane Gray have squared off on Raceday.
“I really enjoyed the rivalry between my dad, and I first round,” Tanner Gray said. “We were having a lot of fun with it morning around the pit and able to create our own little battle, which I have to say..... I'm glad I came out on top!”
Shane Gray also enjoyed the competition. “It was awesome. It was probably one of the most fun rounds of racing I’ve ever had. We had a problem with the clutch in the car. Something came apart; it just didn’t even leave the starting line. Maybe we’ll get to run each other again sometime and we can get this car from A to B and give him a race.”
After defeating Father Shane Gray first round, Tanner Gray went on to defeat Gray Motorsports teammate Drew Skillman in the quarterfinals.
“Facing Drew (Skillman) in the quarters was not ideal,” Tanner said. “We always prefer racing on opposite sides of the ladder for the best outcome of racing in the final. Lucky for me, I was the one who lit the bulb at the finish line.”
In the semis, Tanner was able to outrun the two time champion, Erica Enders-Stevens, but gave up 0.018 on the starting line to lose in a hole-shot.
"It's hard to hang your head after being between 0.013 and 0.022 on the tree in three rounds, but I pride myself as a driver on winning the early battle on the starting line. The car made a great run, I was just not able to run her down."
The Gray Motorsports team will enjoy a week off for Mother’s Day before resuming action with the 29th Annual Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by Minties at Heartland Park Topeka.