This weekend, Shane Gray, driver of the Gray Motorsports Valvoline/Nova Services Chevrolet Camaro, will be competing in the K&N Horsepower Challenge for the fourth time in his Pro Stock career that began in 2010. Last season, Gray entered the Pro Stock bonus race as the No. 1 seed – this time around, he starts from the No. 6 spot and will race Jason Line in the first round.
Gray enters the double-race weekend in a bit of an unusual position: during the first round of qualifying for the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, long-time crew chief Justin Elkes was absent from the starting line and another familiar face – that of two-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Jim Yates – was standing behind Gray’s Chevy.
“Justin and I are still really good friends, and we’ve decided to part ways with no hard feelings because that was what was best. We’ve got Jim with us this weekend, and we’re going to see what we can do,” said Gray simply.
Like many of the factory hot rod pilots in the first round of qualifying at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the power of his 500-cid engine was too much for the racetrack. Gray had the clutch in early and coasted to a 10-second pass. Another session is scheduled for later today before the first round of the K&N Horsepower Challenge on Saturday.
“That’s why they give us these qualifying runs,” said Gray. “We’ve got another practice run today, and then we’ll be ready for Jason Line tomorrow. I’m excited about the K&N Horsepower Challenge. I’m confident that we have a good deal going here, and I’m just ready.”