Several drivers described the racing surface at zMax Dragway Sunday in Charlotte as challenging.
Yet, Pro Stock driver Shane Gray wasn’t blaming anybody but himself for his spectacular crash during his second-round race with Warren Johnson.
“No. 1 I crashed and No. 2 it was totally my fault,” Gray said Monday afternoon in a phone interview with CompetitionPlus.com. “It was self-induced.”
Observers speculated Gray’s Camaro got out of the groove causing the wreck, but Gray wouldn’t pinpoint any reason that led to his accident.
“I just crashed,” said Gray, who had never wrecked a race car before Sunday. “It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are I’m in control of that vehicle and obviously I let the vehicle get out of control and as a result of it I just crashed. It was nobody’s fault but my own.”
Gray has vivid memories of the wild ride he walked away from.
“I remember exactly what happened,” Gray said. “We took off and left the starting line and right after I put it in high gear it kind of wiggled a little bit, which those cars do that sometimes. It has done it to me over 100 times probably. It didn’t seem too bad. The next thing in my mind I thought OK well it wiggled a little bit and kind of tried to pull me toward the center line, but not too bad. Right after those thoughts went through my head the next thing I was doing was looking at the cement wall. I hit the wall. Then I was looking out the front windshield back at the starting line. Then the next view I had was straight up in the air looking down at the ground. I was thinking to myself holy s*** Shane you just crashed your car. I bumped my head a little bit, but that’s about it.”
With the NHRA Fall Nationals in Dallas Thursday through Sunday, Gray isn’t going to dwell on his crash. Gray failed to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship and is 11th in the point standings. This is Gray’s third season driving in Pro Stock. He finished ninth in the season points last year, following a stellar rookie campaign that saw him place fourth in the standings.
“We will get the old (car) back out and try to learn from the mistakes I made and not make those mistakes again,” said Gray about the Pontiac GXP he raced in the first nine events before switching to a Camaro before the Bristol race in mid June. “What would I do if I had to make that run again? I would have put her in fourth gear and pushed the clutch in and just let her coast to the finish line. I was still in it and it wiggled a little bit. I looked out of my peripheral vision over in the other lane and I didn’t see Warren (Johnson) anywhere. We were going to win the round and I’m proud for Warren he had a good day (Sunday).”
Physically, Gray wasn’t feeling any pain from his crash.
“No I’m good, I went to the gym (Monday morning),” Gray said. “Just my feelings and pride are hurt and my dad’s checkbook.”
Gray’s Pro Stock team is sponsored by Service Central and is owned by his father, Johnny Gray. Johnny raced NHRA Pro Stock most recently from 2008-2010 before piloting the Service Central Funny Car last season and this season for Don Schumacher Racing. Johnny is sixth in the Funny Car point standings.
Shane said getting the Pontiac GXP ready for Dallas is no problem.
“All we have to do is put a motor in it,” Shane said. “It will be ready (Tuesday).”
As for the wrecked Camaro, Shane said he will let the car builder Jerry Haas look at it.
“We let him look at it and see how junk it is,” said Shane, who had the wrecked Camaro taken to the Gray Motorsports shop in Denver, N.C. “We do not know what we will do with it just yet.”
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