Chevy Racing–NHRA–Gainesville Post Race

SUNDAY, MARCH 18, 2018

An interview with Pro Stock winner TANNER GRAY, GRAY MOTORSPORTS, VALVOLINE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 11 qualifier; earned sixth Pro Stock victory in 27th pro race; picked up 50th round victory; father and grandfather also have won the Gatornationals):

“I was actually thinking about how the traffic would be about 1 ‘o clock to go home. We’ve been struggling pretty bad with this car. (Crew chief) Dave (Connolly) has been beating his head against the wall trying to figure it out. It seems like it’s finally coming around. My grandpa came in yesterday and said you have four rounds to get this car right or we’re going to park it and bring out the back-up car. I really like this car and was hoping it would get going and it did. The crew gave me a solid race car all day long and gave me the opportunity to be consistent and go out there and get round wins.”

“I didn’t figure anything out; it was my crew. They did an awesome job with the car. We let it get away from us in the semifinals against Vincent (Nobile) and got a little lucky. We just regroup for the final and had a good run. I’m just thankful to be up here.”

“It’s something that’s really cool. My little brother was racing Late Models yesterday, so my dad stayed and watched his first race. It’s definitely pretty cool to win at the same places they have.”

BRITTANY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, MONSTER ENERGY CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 13 qualifier; fell in first round): “The car went straight down the track. We struggled in qualifying, but we figured it out for race day. We really did need to figure it out for yesterday to have a better pass than that. Still, it was outstanding. But against (Tony) Schumacher, we weren’t able to turn the win light on. We are leaving good It was an awesome run. To come out on race day and be able to put up a number like that, we’re happy. Two weeks off and then we go to Las Vegas.”

COURTNEY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, ADVANCE AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 2 qualifier; fell in quarterfinals; defeated father John Force in first round): “It was a little nerve-racking pairing up with my dad. I am always wanting to be behind his car and hoping for a safe run for him. When I am in the other lane I can’t see what is going on with him. I am just out there to focus and do my job racing straight down the center of my lane. It dropped a hole down track and shut off on me, but we were still able to get around him for the win. We pulled the car up for second round and unfortunately smoked the tires at the hit of the throttle. I tried to gather it back up and get back on the throttle (Ron) but Capps had already taken the win. We had a safe weekend and that is the most important thing. We can learn throughout qualifying and all the teams are going to be working hard together figure out what is going on with our race cars before we get to Las Vegas. I am proud of how this Advance Auto Parts team performed this weekend and the fact that we are going rounds. We are going to focus on the positives.”

ROBERT HIGHT, JOHN FORCE RACING, AUTO CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 3 qualifier; fell in quarterfinals): “I felt it nose over just a taste and my initial thought was it is starting to slip a little. The track is hot and it is a little greasy out there. I couldn’t see (Matt Hagan) over there and it wasn’t like it was hazing the tires or anything else. As it turns out it wasn’t spinning at all. It kicked two rods out when it blacked the bearings in the crank then it hit the valves and blew up. The thing gave me no indication at all before that. What really scared me was once I got it under control and I look over and see his body is off his car. I am thinking ‘Oh man, he got gathered up in me.’ Then I stood up and looked and his injector was sideways so I realized he had an explosion as well. We are just lucky we didn’t get into each other. I didn’t know who won. I was hoping we got the win light and we could come back and get another car together and try and win this race. We have a lot of work to do before Vegas. We have a lot of things to figure out but we have the best people over here. We’ll get to the bottom of it.”

JOHN FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, PEAK COOLANT & MOTOR OIL CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 15 qualifier; fell in first round): “Robert’s (car) just dropped holes. We have to evaluate it and go test. We’ll figure it out. (Plan to test car in first round worked) It’s a matter of you don’t want to hurt the car but you don’t want to hurt somebody else. We tried to run it for every lap at three races and test sessions and all we did was blow it up.”

BO BUTNER, JIM BUTNER AUTO, JIM BUTNER AUTO GROUP CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 5 qualifier; fell in final): “Good weekend. It’s not easy and we learned a lot today. Maybe we went the wrong way in the final, but it is a good car and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year. We have a good start. Our 2018 Camaro is awesome.”

VINCENT NOBILE, ELITE MOTORSPORTS, MOUNTAINVIEW TIRE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 7 qualifier; fell in semifinals): “We just need some more experience in later rounds. The track is completely different and that last run we learned a bunch, and I can almost promise that the next time we get there we won’t make that same mistakes.”

DREW SKILLMAN, RAY SKILLMAN MOTORSPORTS, RAY SKILLMAN AUTO GROUP CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 8 qualifier; fell in semifinals): “I’m pretty sure this is the best we’ve ever done at Gainesville. This place always kicks our butt. We had a great week. Our Chevrolet Camaro performed pretty darn good. Our team worked really hard to get (to the semifinals); we missed the tune-up on that last run. We’re going to continue to go rounds.”

GREG ANDERSON, KB RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 1 qualifier; fell in quarterfinals): “I’m absolutely shocked. I did not expect that. We aren’t sure what happened yet, but it shook the tires violently. I had all the confidence in the world in my car. It’s been as smooth as glass every run. I was more shocked than anybody, but somehow we missed bad. We’re definitely going to do some on-track testing before Las Vegas. We haven’t had a chance to do any since Pomona, so we’re going to do that. Obviously, we’ll work on engine development too, but we have to do some on-track testing. It’s time. There are things we need to work on and iron out, so that is what we’re going to do.”

CHRIS MCGAHA, HARLOW SAMMONS RACING, HARLOW SAMMONS OF ODESSA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 3 qualifier; fell in quarterfinals): “It was a good weekend overall. We learned what we came to test. We wanted to see if we had enough depth with another engine, which we did. We had the top speed of the event, which is saying something. It’s on to Vegas. I won the Four-Wide East (Charlotte). I need to win the Four-Wide West.”

JASON LINE, KB RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 4 qualifier; fell in first round): “Obviously, things did not go as planned for the blue Summit Racing Chevy Camaro this weekend. My car was unhappy for most of qualifying and, unfortunately, that continued in the first round today. It’s disappointing and frustrating, but we’ll be okay. You’ll have weekends like this sometimes, and you just have to put them behind you and move ahead. We’ve got some work to do, but we’ve never been afraid of a little hard work.”

JEG COUGHLIN JR., ELITE MOTORSPORTS, JEGS.COM ELITE PERFORMANCE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 12 qualifier; fell in first round): “Not quite enough to get it done this time and certainly Bo (Butner) didn’t leave us much room. We seemed to be behind the eight-ball all weekend. The first three runs in qualifying were not complete runs and even though Q4 was a big improvement we were still chasing it a little today. When you run teams the caliber of Bo Butner’s group you have to be especially sharp and have everything in order. There’s lots to be optimistic about and we are certainly anxious to take the next step in Las Vegas.”

DERIC KRAMER, KRAMER RACING, AMERICAN ETHANOL CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 6 qualifier; fell in first round): “We had a good weekend. We made some pretty good runs. I have a little bit better driving to do. I have a little bit more to do down the track, too, but we’ll learn and get ready for Vegas.”

ALEX LAUGHLIN, GAS MONKEY RACING, HOT WHEELS CAR CARE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 2 qualifier; fell in first round when faulted): “We’re kind of struggling on the starting line. It seems I’m either .00 on every run but sometimes it’s red and sometimes it’s green. What we have to do now is push the clutch pedal down and make sure the green light is on every time. It definitely bums me out to lose like that because (my crew) works so hard to get the car ready to do what it does and for me to give it away.”

JOHN GAYDOSH JR., GAYDOSH PERFORMANCE, PYPES PERFORMANCE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 14 qualifier; fell in first round): “It was a great weekend. I can’t thank Les and Chris (McGaha) enough letting me have some power for the weekend. It made me find out what I needed to do with the car, how much faster the car can be. We were respectable for the whole weekend for having just three shots at it. That Chevrolet Camaro is flying. I can’t wait for the next race.”