Work and playTuesday, December 17, 2013
Posted by: Shane Gray, Gray Motorsports Camaro

I sure hope everyone is enjoying the holidays. We've been busy here at the Gray Motorsports shop in Denver, N.C., getting ready for 2014 and what we're thinking is going to be our best year yet as an NHRA Pro Stock team. Dave Connolly, Tommy Utt, and all the guys are here working with us every day, and this place has a buzz to it that we haven't felt in quite awhile. It's a pretty neat deal, and there is a lot of excitement over here. We sure can't wait for the season to start, but in the meantime we're just focused on doing what needs to be done to prepare for it.

The one thing I don't ever want to lose sight of, though, no matter how much we've got going on, is family. Amber had an idea to do something a little bit different this year for a mini family vacation, so we took our three boys down to Disney World and spent a few days. I'm going to tell you, it was great – but oh boy, you thought a weekend at the drag strip tired you out? We were exhausted at the end of the first day, and we still had more to go. It was a great time, though, really great. This is just one of those deals where your kids are growing up, and it's happening so fast. You just don't know how many more times you'll get them all to yourself like that.

We had been to Disney one time before as a family, and I think my mom and dad were there with us that time. This time it was just Amber and me, Bryce, Tanner and Taylor. We got there and were looking at a map and wouldn't you know it, we saw that there was a Chevrolet Showroom right inside the park. I tell you what, that was high on my list of places to visit while we were there. We're pretty big Chevy fans in this family, and I don't think that's too hard to figure out! It was pretty cool, there was a Camaro in there and a Corvette, and then they had quite a few of the eco-friendly cars on display. We didn't expect to be able to look at cars that day. It was a nice surprise, and Chevrolet did a great job of putting that together. You all should check it out when you're down there.

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We had actually been in Florida for a while because we went down there to Bradenton to test our own Chevrolet Camaros, and Dave and I got the chance to get settled in a little bit and to see how well everyone was working together. It was a good feeling for me getting back in the car because we'd made some changes – not to the car, really, but more having to do with driving technique, and I was excited to try it out. As always, we are a work in progress. You can't ever be satisfied with what you've got, and I think those changes really did help.

We made probably 12 or so runs, and this is already showing signs of being a great team. Our two crew chiefs are working so well together – Justin Elkes will be coming back of course, and Tommy Utt has joined us, as you all know. They'll be co-crew chiefs together on both cars, and Tommy is fitting right in. This whole deal has jelled together perfect.

We're going back down to Bradenton to run a little bit in the middle of January, and when we go out West before the Winternationals, we'll be picking up a new Jerry Haas Camaro that we'll test in Vegas. There is a lot of excitement heading into the new year. So much to look forward to. I've been working closely with Victor Cagnazzi and our Team Manager Kevin Finney here at the shop, and we've been organizing, planning, and making sure everything runs smoothly as this all comes together.

Next week is Christmas already, and it's a lot of fun for us to just enjoy the holidays with family. My mom and dad will be here, so will Amber's family. Shoot, the whole gang will be here. I really like to just sit back and watch everybody have a good time together. As for what's on my wish list? I'm good. I have my family, everybody is healthy, and Gray Motorsports is alive and well with a great future. I couldn't ask for a whole lot more.

You all enjoy your holidays, spend some time with your families, and then meet me back here before too long. Talk at you later.