Denver, NC (October 3, 2017)- As the finale of the 2017 NHRA drag racing season approaches, so too is the pressure to perform. For Rookie Tanner Gray, he doesn't know what to expect. With five wins already under his belt, he just wants to win another national event.
"Coming into the countdown, I didn't feel any additional pressure. I mean winning Charlotte, which was the first race of the countdown, was big for our organization and I just approached it like any other race this season," Tanner Gray said.
"Now we are three races into the countdown and I can honestly say the pressure is on. We sit in the trailer after ever run and calculate our points, and different scenarios that could happen. We find ourselves rooting for guys we normally wouldn't to try and keep ourselves in the championship chase."
Race day at the Sixth Annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals this past weekend at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, IL was the epitome of countdown pressure for the 18 year old.
He came into the day with the right mentality and the determination to win, but his race day hopes were short lived.
The Gray Motorsports team qualified sixth and would see Colorado native Deric Kramer as his opponent in the first round.
Race day would end right off of the starting line as Tanner would prematurely leave by two thousandths of a second giving the win to Deric Kramer.
“Today wasn’t our day to win," Gray said. "I am the hardest on myself when it comes to my performance off of the starting line. I just missed it today.”
The first round loss moves Gray to fourth in the championship chase, 94 points from the current leader Greg Anderson.
The Gray Motorsports Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro team will take a weekend off and continue the championship pursuit at the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas for the 22nd of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series October 13-15.