MORRISON, CO (July 22, 2017) – Qualifying at the 38th Annual Mopar Mile High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colorado was exciting, edge of the seat, rush through your body entertainment. Fans weathered Friday evening storms, and heat up to the triple digits Saturday afternoon. For NHRA Pro Stock Rookie Tanner Gray and his Gray Motorsports Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro, the excitement came from pressure to perform on the track.
Friday night qualifying battled drizzle and gusty winds at the mile high marker. The Gray Motorsports team lead by the 18 year old Rookie was lucky to get 1 run down the dragstrip. Unfortunately, Gray experienced a shift light malfunction and would let out the clutch mid track to coast to the finish line. This would be the one and only pass of the evening.
“We tested here (Bandimere Speedway) last week and ran pretty good,” The Youngest NHRA driver to win a national event said. “My Q1 run was not a great representation of how successful our test was, but if we were to gauge how successful we would be during a national event on testing, we would expect to come out here and dominate them all!”
Saturday afternoon qualifying was warm and sticky. The track was nearly 100 degrees, and experienced what would be considered large cloud coverage. The Gray Motorsports team would successfully make it down the track for Q3 with an ET of 6.977 seconds at 198.26 mph leaving the team in the number 8th qualifying position heading into Sunday’s eliminations.
“Racing at this high of an altitude makes the naturally aspirated cars run slower due to the lack of oxygen in the air,” Tanner Gray said. “I am confident in Dave (Connolly) that he has what it takes to figure it out and take us to the top!”
Q4 was yet another attempt to improve qualifying spots. At the starting line young Tanner Gray staged really shallow, flickered the bulb, therefore starting the timer before the car left the starting line. The result of this was a red light start and an ET of 8.238 seconds at 196.08 mph leaving the Gray Motorsports team in the 10th position.
“Doesn’t matter where you start, only where you finish,” Tanner Gray said.
First round of eliminations begin at noon, Sunday. NHRA live eliminations will air on FOX Sunday July 23, from 1-4 p.m. Times are local and subject to change.
2017 3rd 13 2 1 5 4 1 1 0 24-11
Best Time, Speed: 6.501 seconds, (2017 NHRA New England Nationals); 213.37 mph (Gatornationals 2017)
Last event (July 7-9, Chicago): Qualified No. 6, Quarterfinals (Drew Skillman)
10. Allen Johnson 480 -668