JOLIET, IL (July 9, 2017) – Race Day at the 20th Annual Fallen Patriots NHRA Route 66 Nationals felt a little heavier for Pro Stock Rookie Driver Tanner Gray, for he was racing with an angel on his shoulders. With a lot on his heart he would begin race day from the 6th position.
Pre-Race Ceremonies consisted of an extra special memorial for Tanner Gray’s late Aunt, Terry Chandler. Chandler was the sister of Gray Motorsports team owner Johnny Gray (Tanner Gray’s grandfather) and Aunt to Shane Gray (Tanner’s Father). Terry Chandler was a very visible and influential part of the Don Schumacher Racing program. The Gray Motorsports team accompanied Chandler’s privately funded Make A Wish and Infinite Hero Funny Car teams at the starting line for a moment of silence in remembrance of Aunt Terry.
Tanner Gray’s first round matchup consisted of the Route 66 Nationals number 11 qualifier, Alex Laughlin. The teenage phenom would grab the stripe with an ET of 6.606 seconds at 209.49 mph over Laughlin’s 6.666 seconds at 208.62 mph.
“My guys have given me a great race car,” Tanner Gray said. “Our guys back at the Gray Motorsports engine shop work really hard to find more power and we have shown that our car is competitive to say the least.”
This win would setup an all Gray Power quarterfinal matchup between Drew Skillman and Tanner Gray. Only .003 seconds separated the two at the starting line, favoring Tanner Gray, but Skillman would ultimately take the stripe first, out running Gray.
“Racing your teammate any round besides the final on Sunday is never ideal,” Tanner Gray said. “My Gray Motorsports Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro team will test in Denver before the national event and prepare for the Mile High Nats.”
The team will travel to Bandimere Speedway located in Morrison, Colorado where they will test Tuesday and Wednesday July 11-12, in preparation for the Mopar Mile High NHRA Nationals the following weekend July 21-23.