Shane Gray, driver of the Gray Motorsports/Valvoline/Nova Services Chevrolet Camaro, made his best run of the year so far with a 6.602-second pass and top speed of 209.20 mph. The week before, in testing at zMAX Dragway, Gray recorded a swift 6.55 that indicated they were surely on to something.
“I will say I’m very proud of the team and the work they’ve put in this last month. They’ve been hard at it, and we are starting to have a lot of confidence in the race car,” said Gray.
The Elite Motorsports/Mopar Dodge Dart team, along with driver Erica Enders – the reigning Pro Stock world champion – continue to chip away at their mastery of the new Pro Stock rules and their own new program with a switch from Chevrolet to Dodge in the off-season. Following a trip to the semifinals in Charlotte, Enders is now tied for 7th in the Pro Stock points with Elite Motorsports teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr.
“We learned a lot this weekend,” Enders said. “We completely used this race as a test session for us. I’m glad we were able to learn some stuff, and we certainly made a move in the right direction.”
Bo Butner, in the Jim Butner Auto Sales Chevrolet Camaro, reached his second consecutive final round in his KB Racing-powered Chevrolet Camaro. It was the third final overall for Butner since joining the team last season.
“This four-wide is a tough deal. There’s a whole lot of thinking involved,” said Butner. “In the final, we did a good job. Jason (Line) just got by us. We are plenty fast and I was happy with how I drove in the final, so that’s a good boost going to Houston.”
Ray Skillman Chevrolet Camaro driver Drew Skillman was one of the quicker cars in qualifying, and for the first time this season, he put Elite Motorsports in the No. 2 starting position. Skillman also had top speed on Friday after the single qualifying session on a strong 209.72 mph pass.
“We had a good weekend and are getting better every weekend we go out,” said Skillman. “The KB group have a little edge on us, but we’re gaining slowly but surely. We’re not sitting still; we’re progressing every weekend. I see a win in our future soon.”
Skillman and Chris McGaha are the only two drivers outside of KB Racing to have made a final round this season. McGaha has been to two – here in Charlotte and also earlier this year in Phoenix. Both times Line was the victor.
KB Racing made history in Charlotte when Line won the Four-Wide race. It marked the first time in history that an NHRA multi-car Pro Stock team won the first five races of the season. (Credit to NHRA Statistician Lewis Bloom for this fact).
Australian drag racer Shane Tucker made his return to NHRA Pro Stock but was faced with many challenges leading up to the event. Primarily, a major issue on the dyno just two days before his season debut and then another that held them back from participation on the first day of the event. However, the determined Auzmet Architectural team rallied and made a solid A to B run on Saturday. A spoiled battery halted their final qualifying attempt, but in the first round of eliminations, they again went right down the racetrack, A to B. Tucker plans to run a limited schedule for the remainder of the season.
After leaving before the tree was activated and throwing the three other opponents in his quad into confusion that resulted in the most tardy reaction times of year (and possibly ever in a single round), American Ethanol Dodge Dart driver Deric Kramer posted the Tweet of the race.
“Whoops!!!!” #ProStock #NHRA #FoxSports
Immediately followed by:
“Are there RBI’s in drag racing???”
Follow Kramer on Twitter: @DericKramer