Johnny Gray, who qualified the Service Central Racing “Lemonator” Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car seventh, will take on his closest competitor for a spot in the Countdown to 1 playoffs during the first round of final eliminations in Sunday’s 32nd-annual MOPAR Mile-High NHRA Nationals here at Bandimere Speedway.
The 58-year-old Don Schumacher Racing driver takes on 10th-qualifier Tim Wilkerson who comes into the race one point behind for the final-position in the playoffs.
“I’m excited to go out and take a shot at Tim,” said the Artesia, N.M. native. “I feel very confident it will go well tomorrow and we’ll be able to extend our lead on him and hold onto the 10th spot in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car standings.
“And if things don’t go our way here, I’m very confident we’ll be in the Countdown because of how well the car is now performing and the backup we have from the entire DSR organization.”
Gray used a 4.245-second lap at 300.20 miles per hour in Friday’s second qualifying session to earn his starting position for the race which begins at 11 a.m. MT. This moved him up one spot on the qualifying grid following a 4.376, 260.11 first run.
“We had two good runs on Friday, so we went out and tried some other things today,” he explained about the two runs today which did not help his standing. “That’s the beauty of having a car you can make changes to and understand how it reacts, which has not been the case for the entire season. We were able to do a little testing today confident of our position in the field for Sunday’s eliminations.
“We have a good baseline for Sunday.”
Overall Gray is more positive about the Service Central Funny Car than he has been for several weeks.
“I couldn’t be any happier than I am today,” he said. “We’re in great shape for tomorrow and the rest of the season.”
Thank you for signing up to receive Shoe’s News.