Chevy Racing–NHRA–Brainerd Qualifying


Shane Gray Claims No. 1 Pro Stock Qualifier To Lead Team Chevy Effort

BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 22, 2015) – Team Chevy Pro Stock drivers took the top three qualifying positions and 10 of the top-11 during qualifying for the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing’s Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway. Shane Gray earned his first No. 1 qualifier award of the season in his Gray Motorsports Chevrolet Pro Stock Camaro SS as his second-round pass Friday held up during rain-shortened Saturday time trials.

Gray’s best time was a 6.607/209.20 mph run to edge defending NHRA Pro Stock champion Erica Enders by 0.002 seconds. Enders’ top effort also came Friday with a 6.609/208.26 mph pass in her Racing in Red Chevy Camaro SS from Elite Motorsports.

Rain washed out Saturday’s fourth round of qualifications. Mello Yellow Drag Racing Series eliminations begin at 11 a.m. CT with a number of Team Chevy drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock aiming to improve their standings ahead of the Countdown to the NHRA Championship.

“This is still a fairly new car for us – we have maybe 50 runs or so on it – but I’m real happy with it,” said Gray, in reference to his Jerry Haas-built Chevy Camaro SS. “It’s important for me to get as many qualifying points as I can because here lately I haven’t been getting a whole lot of points on Sunday. They’re all important, and it was nice to get six bonus It will be up to me to do a good job on Sunday and see if we can capitalize on a good, fast racecar.”

Chris McGaha, winner of the last two Pro Stock events at Sonoma and Seattle, was the No. 3 qualifier in his Harlow Sammons Chevrolet Camaro SS.

In the Nitro categories, John Force set a career best elapsed time and was the No. 2 Funny Car qualifier in his Peak Antifreeze Chevrolet Funny Car Camaro SS. The 11-time Lucas Oil Nationals winner recorded a 3.930/324.83 mph pass Saturday to put Force 0.029 seconds off the No. 1 qualifying time.

All three John Force Racing Chevy Funny Car Camaro SS entries broke the four-second barrier. Courtney Force was fourth in her Traxxas Radio Control Cars Camaro SS with a 3.959/320.66 mph run – also a career-best ET set Friday. Teammate Robert Hight wasn’t far behind at 3.974/319.07 mph in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevy Camaro SS.

Both efforts earned critical championship points with Hight tied for ninth and Courtney Force 11th in Funny Car points.

Brittany Force was the No. 11 Top Fuel qualifier in her Monster Energy/John Force Racing/Chevrolet Top Fuel Dragster. Her best run was a 3.787/326.00 mph effort set in Friday’s first session.

Eliminations for the Lucas Oil Nationals are scheduled to start at 11 a.m. ET Sunday. Live audio coverage can be found at All of Sunday’s action from Brainerd International Raceway can be seen tape delayed on ESPN 2 starting at 9 p.m. ET on Sunday.

SHANE GRAY, GRAY MOTORSPORTS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS, NO. 1 QUALIFIER: “Round one will be awful hard for me to screw up unless I cross the centerline! I just have to make sure I don’t cross the centerline or anything stupid like that. I think it’s going to be a fun day tomorrow. The conditions are going to be a lot different than they have been all weekend, so it will be different. I’m looking forward to it.
“We put a new set of carburetors on to see what they would do, and so yes, we were testing a little bit. But we’ll go back to our raceday setup for tomorrow and try to keep lane choice all day. That will be the goal.”

JASON LINE, KB RACING CHEVROLET CAMARO SS, NO. 5 QUALIFIER: “I have a good car for raceday with my Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro, and we can win. There is no question about it. We have some work to do with (Summit Racing teammate Greg Anderson’s) car – we’re a little off on that one – but I feel confident that we can make improvements. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, that’s for sure.”

GREG ANDERSON, KB RACING CHEVROLET CAMARO SS, NO. 8 QUALIFIER: “Another lesson learned for us today. We were shocked and surprised, to be honest, that we didn’t improve today – but definitely, it was a lesson learned. We have information that will allow us to make our move for the first run on Sunday, and I would have loved to of had another run in qualifying, but it just didn’t work out that way.
“The bottom line is that tomorrow is going to be completely different, so you’re going to have to make a lot of changes. You still want to make good runs in qualifying, and we’re definitely not satisfied. But we’ll take what we got and do our best.
“It’s been a very busy weekend for us here at our home track, with a lot of friends and family coming to visit. It’s been fun, and nobody is bored here, that’s for sure. It’s been great reuniting with so many folks, and tomorrow will be a blast. Hopefully, we will have some celebrating to do.”

JONATHAN GRAY, GRAY MOTORSPORTS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS, NO. 9 QUALIFIER: “We showed up here with a different motor package than we ran in Sonoma and Seattle. It obviously didn’t run like we were hoping it would, so we put the old stand-by stuff in, and it just didn’t respond the way we thought it should. So now we’re back to bottom-half qualifying again, and that doesn’t make us real happy.
“We were kind of swinging a little bit, trying to get the car to do something, get it to speed up a little bit. I don’t think we can go all the way back to the way it was, but the challenge will be how different the weather will be tomorrow. On Sunday, it’s supposed to be 60 degrees and cloudy, so it will be a little bit of a crapshoot for everybody. It’s going to be interesting. It’ll be fast. Real fast.”

LARRY MORGAN, GRAY MOTORSPORTS, FIREAIDE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS, NO. 11 QUALIFIER: “We have the technology, the desire, and the sponsor support to win every race we enter. This one is no exception. We’re here to win and I believe if we’d had that fourth shot in qualifying, we would have made a big move up and been at the top of the (time) sheet.
“As it is you can practically throw a blanket over the top 12 cars anyways. This class has gotten so good. It seems we say that every year, but you look at the times from this race and you’re just shaking your head. The good thing is when the cars are this close, it usually comes down to the drivers, and I like our chances there.”

JOHN FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, PEAK ANTIFREEZE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS, NO. 2 QUALIFIER: “(Auto Club crew chief) Mike Neff and young (Force’s crew chief) Jon Schaffer and the whole brain trust… we just keep trying. We are a mile behind those guys over there at Schumacher Racing but I am excited because I have this Peak Chevrolet Camaro, and we are getting better. We are running with these guys – not just me but Robert and Courtney. We have a lot of Peak customers here plus we have support from Traxxas and Auto Club. I am hopped up on Monster right now. The only thing different is that Lucas Slick Mist and I think I put that stuff on my hot rod and made it fast.”

COURTNEY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, TRAXXAS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS, NO. 4 QUALIFIER: “We only got half of a day of qualifying in out here in Brainerd today. We pushed our car hard in Q3; the conditions were great, but we stumbled a bit on that run when it shook and I had to shut it off. We were really going to go after it in Q4, but the weather didn’t cooperate.
“We made a good run yesterday with our career-best ET and that got us qualified in the top half of the field. We’re going into race day in a good place. I think we found the spot on our race car where we know how far we can push it so we’re ready for race day tomorrow.
“We’re excited to be out here in Brainerd with the fans. We’re hoping for a good race day tomorrow for our Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS team. We definitely need some good results. We have a great team and car so we’re definitely going to work hard for it.”

ROBERT HIGHT, JOHN FORCE RACING, AUTO CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS, NO. 6 QUALIFIER: “We were on a strong run today and it just overpowered the track. We can back it down tomorrow and be fine. The great thing about what we are learning is these Chevrolets are tunable. Mike Neff has a great handle on this race car and we made two three second runs in a row yesterday and I have never done that. We will just need to go rounds tomorrow.”

BRITTANY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING-MONSTER ENERGY TOP FUEL DRAGSTER, NO. 11 QUALIFIER: “Everyone is in the same boat. We would have liked to have had that last qualifying run. We did get one good run and on the second run we were pushing it pretty hard. Hopefully conditions will stay cool so we can use the info we got from the first run and be set up for tomorrow. I am lucky to have two great crew chiefs in Todd Smith and Ronnie Thompson. I’ll have Dave Connolly in the first round and we will have to give it our best.”