St. Louis, IL (September 30, 2017) - Qualifying at the Sixth Annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, IL featured sell out crowds and ideal conditions for fast naturally aspirated race cars. For Pro Stock rookie Tanner Gray, consistency and power would be the main focus of his qualifying efforts.
The Gray Motorsports Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro team would use both of Friday’s qualifying efforts to gain knowledge on track conditions and gather car data. Between sessions, the team made an engine change, hoping to improve their qualifying positions and eventually ending the day qualified in the seventh spot.
“Keeping a winning mentality I would say is the most difficult thing to do after an inconsistent run,” Tanner Gray said. “My team does a really great job at remaining even and under control. They don’t let the pressure get to them. I understand what the countdown pressure is all about now. Coming into this deal, I didn’t think there would be too much pressure. Everyone has elevated their game. Instead of pressure, I consider it motivation. It motivates me to perform better.”
Saturday’s qualifying efforts would improve. Tanner Gray would run his fastest pass of the weekend during the third session at 6.525 seconds and 211.23 mph. This ultimately secured his raceday starting position of sixth, setting up a first round matchup with Deric Kramer.
“We struggled to find power during Q1 and Q2,” Gray said. “Between rounds we even changed motors. Thankfully the conditions were good today and allowed us the opportunity to find the power that we need in preparation for race day.”
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 1. The broadcast of the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series can be found Sunday, Oct. 1, FS1 will televise three hours of live finals coverage starting at 2:00 p.m. (ET).