Johnny Gray // Pitch Energy DSR Funny Car

Johnny Gray // Pitch Energy DSR Funny Car }}

JOHNNY GRAY

DODGE CHARGER R/T

 

ALL ABOUT JOHNNY

•Hometown: Artesia, N.M.

•Date of birth: March 20, 1953

•On the Internet: twitter.com/@JohnnyGrayFC, facebook.com/JohnnyGrayFC, GrayMotorsports.com, ShoeRacing.com

PERSONAL

•Wife: Terry

•Sons: Shane, Jonathan; Grandchildren: Bryce, Tanner and Taylor (Shane); MilliAnn, Jeighton and Locklyn (Jonathan)

•Height/weight: 5-foot-11, 208 pounds

•Hobbies: Bass fishing, golf, riding Harley-Davidsons

•Favorites: Mexican food, oldies music, western movies

RACING

•Category: Funny Car

•Car: Dodge Charger R/T

•Team owner: Don Schumacher Racing 

•Crew chief: Rob Wendland

•NHRA Professional event titles: 3

•NHRA Professional final rounds: 15

•Career No. 1 qualifying positions: 3

•Career best elapsed time: 4.010 seconds, (Reading 2011)

•Career-best speed: 319.45 mph, (Reading 2012)

•NHRA Sportsman national event titles: 3

•NHRA Sportsman divisional championships: 2

NOTABLE

•Competed in NHRA Pro Stock 1993-94, 2008-10

•In 1993, became first to exceed 200 mph in a gasoline-fueled dragster in Competition Eliminator (201 mph in 6.68 seconds at Houston)

•Has competed in seven different NHRA eliminator categories during his career including Funny Car, Pro Stock, Top Alcohol Dragster, Top Alcohol Funny Car and Competition Eliminator

•Son Shane drives the family’s Gray Motorsports NHRA Pro Stock Camaro; son Jonathan competes in NHRA Competition Eliminator

Gray not content coming off best NHRA pro season
as he intends to improve performance of DSR Dodge

Johnny Gray has driven nearly every type of vehicle on a dragstrip but is very content – actually ecstatic – when he gets in the cockpit of his Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car at an NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event.

Johnny, a very successful entrepreneur from Artesia, N.M., enjoyed his most successful NHRA professional season in 2012 when he won two national event titles in four championship rounds driving for Don Schumacher Racing. He added two No. 1 qualifying efforts en route to finishing a career-best sixth in the championship standings. He posted his career-best speed of 319.45 mph in the semifinals near Reading, Pa., in 2012.

In 2011, he raced to his first pro event title when he won at Brainerd, Minn., and finished the year ranked 11th in his first season driving for Don Schumacher Racing.

Johnny barely can remember when he wasn’t drag racing. The sport served as a respite from his hard-working days in New Mexico oil fields growing up while working alongside his father, who Johnny insists is the greatest man he ever has known.

The father of two and grandfather of six always is joined at races by his wife, Terry, who he has known since childhood.

ALEX’S LEMONADE STAND

His love of children is further apparent when one of his grandchildren attend a race with him and his compassion is evident through his support of “Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer” and numerous philanthropic efforts to assist needy families throughout New Mexico. 

Alex’s was founded by the late Alexandra “Alex” Scott, who died of cancer at age 8, which was four years after she began selling lemonade to raise money to fight the disease.

In 2012, Johnny visited Alex Scott Day Hospital at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia the day before the NHRA event began near Reading. He more than visited with several kids at the hospital, he quickly became their buddy and soon they were chatting like playmates.

The foundation has funded over 250 research projects annually in the race to find a cure. Visit AlexsLemonade.org for information.

GRAY MOTORSPORTS

Johnny, who will turn 60 in 2013, remains a full-time businessman while driving his Funny Car professionally and operating Gray Motorsports in Denver, N.C., where he fields a Pro Stock Camaro for son Shane and a Comp Elimination racer for son Jonathan out of their state-of-the-art facility that offers 24,000 square feet of viable workspace. The expansive and fully equipped race shop was established in September 2009.

FROM PRO STOCK TO NITRO

Johnny earned his Funny Car competition license in 1999, and raced part-time over the next season. He moved up to full time in 2000 when he qualified No. 8 in his first event while driving and tuning his racecar.

In 2004, he competed in six events for DSR driving the Wonder Wagon Funny Car and qualified eighth at the U.S. Nationals but lost in the first round of eliminations.

His first full season in a Funny Car was 2001 when he placed 13th in the NHRA championship points race and improved to 10th the following year and 13th in 2003 racing a part-time schedule.

For the next four years business interests limited his time at tracks, but he returned to the pro circuit in in 2008 driving for his own Pro Stock team that marked a return to the category since 1993.

Shane began campaigning a second Gray Motorsports Pro Stock entry in 2010, and the father-son duo combined to make four championship rounds and 10 semifinal rounds. Shane won the event title at the 2010 season-finale at Pomona, Calif.

SPORTSMAN YEARS

It isn’t easy to find an NHRA category in which Johnny hasn’t competed. In addition 320-mph Funny Cars and 200-mph Pro Stock cars, he has driven in Top Alcohol Dragster, Top Alcohol Funny Car and Competition Eliminator and others. 

He competed in the top two NHRA Sportsman categories from 1996 to 1998, and in 1997 and 1998 won the NHRA Division 7 Top Alcohol Funny Car championships.

Then in 1999, he bought his first nitro-fueled Funny Car.

JOHNNY GRAY 
•DATE OF BIRTH: March 20, 1953
•HOMETOWN: Artesia, N.M.
•SPONSOR/CAR: Service Central Racing Charger
•CREW CHIEF: Rob Wendland
•CAREER WINS: 4
FC: 1 TAD: 1 TAFC: 2
•CAREER FINAL ROUNDS: 14
FC: 8 PS: 3 TAD: 1 TAFC: 2
•CAREER BEST E.T.: 4.010
•CAREER BEST SPEED: 318.62
PERSONAL
•Spouse: Terry
•Sons: Shane (5/9/72), John (6/15/81)
•Height/weight: 5’11”, 208 lbs
•Hobbies: Bass fishing, golf, and riding Harley-Davidsons
•Has earned three national event wins in Lucas Oil Series competition, including one in Top Alcohol Dragster and two in Top Alcohol Funny Car
•Claimed Division 7 TAFC title in 1998 and Division 5 title in 1997
•Son Shane Gray competes in Pro Stock
Johnny Gray, who joined Don Schumacher Racing in 2011 to drive the Service Central Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car in the NHRA Full Throttle series, loves to race cars and always has.
The 57-year-old began drag racing in 1969 and ran several different classes through a number of years, but had also competed in road racing and circle track events. “I just love it,” he says without any reservations.
He made the first 200-mile-per-hour pass in a gasoline-fueled car in a 1993 run with a Comp Eliminator dragster at Houston. Gray was also the first driver to run a Comp Eliminator in the 6.70s and 6.80s for the quarter mile.
The same year of his record run found Gray entering the NHRA professional ranks in the Pro Stock category. He ran 10 races in 1993 and 1994.
The alcohol classes became Gray’s next competitive arena. In 1996 he finished sixth in the points driving a Top Alcohol Dragster, followed by winning the 1997 Division 5 Top Alcohol Funny Car championship and the 1998 Division 7 Top Alcohol Funny Car championship.
Gray returned in 1999 for his first NHRA Funny Car race, followed with seven flopper events in 2000 then ran the full Funny Car schedule in 2001 and 2002. Off-track responsibilities meant a partial schedule from 2002 -2004, one event in 2006 and no races in 2005 and 2007.
In 2008 Gray formed the Pro Stock Gray Motorsports team both as a means to get back on the track and to blaze a trail for his son Shane. Johnny finished 15th in 2008, improved to 9th the following season and 10th in 2010. (Shane joined his father on the Pro Stock circuit, both driving for Service Central, and finished a solid fourth in the championship points race. Shane won his first national event, the season finale in Pomona and went to two additional final rounds.)
Gray returned to the Funny Car class in 2011 under the Don Schumacher Racing banner with backing from Service Central. It proved to be quite the season for the veteran drag racer. Gray reached five final rounds and earned his first career Funny Car win in Brainerd. The team narrowly missed the Countdown to the Championship before becoming one of the hottest cars on the circuit, playing the spoiler role for the rema

Johnny Gray In the News

Pitch Energy DSR Funny Car Crew

  • Rob Wendland Rob Wendland Crew Chief
  • Rip Reynolds Rip Reynolds Assistant Crew Chief
  • Ryan Elliott Ryan Elliott Mechanic
  • James Wingo James Wingo Mechanic
  • Ed Tyler Ed Tyler Mechanic
  • Brad Redman Brad Redman Mechanic
  • Jason Hemphill Jason Hemphill Mechanic
  • Levi Brubaker Levi Brubaker Mechanic
  • Alex Barrett Alex Barrett Mechanic

Around the Web

Current NHRA Rank

8th Place   (2223 Points)

Sign up to receive Shoe's News

Thank You!

Thank you for signing up to receive Shoe’s News.