By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Tanner Gray is not like your average 18-year-old. Gray is a Pro Stock driver in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
Gray defeated KB Racing and Jim Butner Auto Chevy Camaro driver Bo Butner in the final round. Gray went 6.572 at 210.05 mph for the win.
Butner went 6.577 at 210.93 mph. Gray picked up his third Wally of the season in four final round appearances.
“I’m proud of my guys,” he said. “This is the best I’ve seen them run the car. We’ve got to go back and keep working, though. If I can go into the Countdown [Countdown to the Championship] in the top three, then you have a legitimate chance of winning the Championship. That’s what my focus is now.”
This is Gray’s first win since losing his aunt Terry Chandler on July 4. Chandler was a super sponsor, as she backed both the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Infinite Hero Foundation Funny Cars driven by Tommy Johnson Jr. and Jack Beckman.
Gray defeated Butner, the points leader, twice in their prior meetings. The teenager was also 1-0 against Butner in prior final rounds.
Butner had a small advance off of the starting line. But the two cars were tied at the 60-feet mark.
Gray barely got the win. He won by 0.0042 seconds, or approx. 16 inches.
“It was a very good race, and I can’t complain,” Butner said. “The car keeps getting better, and I feel more confident every time I go up. I’ve been racing a long-time and have raced a lot of different cars — you just have to tell yourself that this isn’t rocket science. You have to go up there and do your job. It’s been working.
“Going into the final, I thought I was going to win. Especially when we had lane choice. I thought if we could be .020 [on the tree], we could win the race. But they’re doing a very good job over there. If Tanner keeps his head clear, he’s going to be tough to beat.”
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