Tanner Gray Claims 1st Pro Mod Win in Three Years
In what would be the first completed round of the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod series in 2020, Jonathan Gray crawled behind the wheel of a second entry for the injured Rickie Smith at the Dodge NHRA Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway to grab the win and take the season's points lead. At last weekend’s Lucas Oil Summernationals, Gray lost in the first round of eliminations after posting a 5.865 ET to Kris Thorne’s 5.837-second pass. Gray’s last appearance a top the podium in the doorslammer class came three years ago at the Indianapolis track, when he claimed his only other victory in the Pro Mod division.
Jonathan Gray’s day started with a close win over Jeffrey Barker having posted a 249.35 mph run to Barker’s 249.26 mph pass. In Round Two, Gray relied on a holeshot victory (.026 RT) to defeat a faster opponent and Number One qualifier Khalid Albalooshi (.089 RT) to advance to the semi-finals against Mike Janis. The semi-final round was no contest as Gray nailed the Christmas Tree with a .009-second reaction time sending Janis to the trailer. Bo Butner had made his NHRA E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod debut last month at the Lucas Oil Summernationals also driving a car for the injured Rickie Smith but was eliminated in the first round by Jason Scruggs.
What a difference a week can make when comes to racing in the NHRA doorslammer division. Butner had relatively easy wins over Brandon Pesz, Clint Satterfield, and Kris Thorne to advance to the final round against Gray. The Pro Mod final event, which was presented by Jerry Bickel Race Cars, did not disappoint. Gray had a .021 RT and went 5.5850-seconds at 249.49 mph in his nitrous-powered Camaro to knock off Butner, who was a tick slower with a .068 RT for a 5.899 ET at 248.48 mph in the final race.
Racing action is set to resume for the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod division presented by J&A Service on Sept. 3-6 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis for the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals. Pro Mod racing fans can catch two final rounds as Jason Scruggs and Chad Greene will determine a winner of last month’s rain-delayed finals from the Lucas Oil Summernationals. A unique opportunity for one of the two doorslammer veterans to claim two wins at the same track over the same weekend of racing.