The guys are already set up in Vegas, and I'm just about to head out there with the family for the SummitRacing.com Nationals. It's a fun race, and one that I haven't done really, really well at in the past, but I'd sure like to change that. We had a pretty decent test session in North Carolina last week, and we were just about as quick as guys who have been doing this a lot longer than this team, so we were pretty happy.
You gotta feel happy about getting the racecar down the track quicker than you ever have before. We were making runs in the 6.40s on the first day so that had us pretty encouraged, but the second day of testing we had a timeslip that said 6.457 on it. On the record, my career best is a 6.51, so that was pretty quick!
You want to celebrate a little bit, you work so hard for every thousandth of a second out here, but we always try to be realistic. A lot of it was the weather – it was just really good. But we have made a lot of changes to our Gray Motorsports Camaro, and I think we're learning how to run the engines a little bit better now. A bunch of little things are starting to add up to something a little bit bigger.
We need to bring it to the racetrack now. We can do well in testing, but none of it matters unless you show up with it when it's time to race for trophies. I'm hoping that we get to Vegas and we're able to run well. There isn't any reason why we shouldn't. We know we have the power, so we don't have any excuse. The missing piece has been consistency and experience, but I think we're gaining on both of those things now. This is our fourth year, and we need to get back to what we were able to accomplish in our first year out here.
The whole family will be in Vegas, and we'll be celebrating a birthday for one of my boys over the weekend. Look for pictures on our Facebook page (Facebook.com/ShaneGrayPS). We just got set up on this deal called Instagram, too. We're figuring it out, but it's a neat little deal where you can find pictures of our Gray Motorsports Pro Stock team and dad's Pitch Energy Funny Car guys, too. Plus, we're hoping to have some dirt track stuff on there, too. Search graymotorsports and then give us a follow.
Tanner in his sprint car last weekend
Sprint car racing in NC on Saturday night
We've had a lot of fun lately. Me and two of my boys, Bryce and Tanner, went out and raced our sprint cars last Saturday night at Lincoln County Speedway. It's just about 30 minutes from home so it's pretty convenient, and we had a great time. We ran 4th, 5th and 6th, and we had a blast. My dad flew in, Amber's folks were there, and it was a real good time. Tanner, our youngest, brought his little buddy Jack Line with him, so they had some fun too watching it all. It's pretty different than drag racing, and it's a great way for us to spend time together as a family when we aren't out here Pro Stock racing.
A big part of the Gray Motorsports shop is dedicated to Pro Stock, but we've got all our dirt cars in there, too. My brother Jonathan has his dirt late model car, and we've got Gray Motorsports engines in another late model car driven by Tim Allen. He won for the first time since 2009 down in Fayetteville just a few weeks ago, and things are going really good with that. Tim is doing a good job and representing us well, and he's a great guy. This whole dirt thing is just a lot of fun, and we have a long history in it, so it's neat to get back to it a little bit.
It's time to go Pro Stock racing again, and I'm really looking forward to this weekend. It's good to have a couple weekends off to spend with the family, but I'm ready to get back in the Gray Motorsports Camaro. Las Vegas is a fun place to race, and I'm excited to get out there again.
It's kind of hard to believe that it's already time to go racing again, but I tell you what. I'm ready. By the time Pomona came around last November, I was really ready for the year to be done. Racing had gotten to the point where it just completely lost being fun, and it seemed like nothing was going right no matter how hard we tried or what we did. We tested so much, tested all the time, and we worked so many hours in the shop. This Pro Stock deal is tough – anybody out here will tell you that. Even though it was hard to get through all of that, we can look back on the year as a learning experience. That's the thing. We're always, always learning.
I'm not going to lie. After we lost the first round in Pomona at the end of the season, I took off my jacket at the top end, threw it in the car, and said, see ya later. I could not wait to put that year behind us so that we could go home and get started on something different – whether it would be good or bad, it just needed to be something different than what we were doing.
We came home and pretty well junked everything we had and started over. It's been very busy, and we have been at the shop every weekday. We knew we had to keep moving forward to see where we would end up, to see if we were moving in the right direction or not.
In December, we tested some things on the GXP and were pretty happy with the results, then just before Christmas we got the new Camaro from Jerry Haas and let me tell you, that's a pretty car. Getting a new car ready comes with a huge to-do list, though, and my crew chief Justin and the guys really came together to just start checking things off. We've all worked very hard, and I am real proud of the guys I get to work with.
Christmas seems like ages ago, but it was good for the family. My mom and dad came out and we celebrated at their place with everyone – my family, Amber's parents, my brother Jonathan's family. Then mom and dad went back to New Mexico and off to celebrate New Years in Las Vegas, and we had a few people over from the race shop. I barely made it 'til midnight and dozed off a couple of times, but I made 'er.
Come January, we took the Camaro out to test for the first time, then towards the end of the month we took the car back out again and we were real, real pleased with what we saw that second test session. I've been working on my driving because I really feel like I did a horrible job last year, and I'm not going to let that happen again. As a team, we're going to keep digging on things and we're going to take what we learned and just put last year behind us, and we're going to keep it in the past. This is a new page for the Gray Motorsports team, we're rebuilding confidence in ourselves and our program, and we're optimistic about what the future holds.
We recently got the car wrapped with our Gray Motorsports scheme that we're starting the year with, and I think it looks real good. It isn't very flashy, but that's good for us. We want our performance to be what you notice, and that's what we've been working so hard to achieve.
Aside from what we're doing at the shop and in testing, it's been nice being able to spend time working around the house on the weekends, too. We didn't do anything real exciting over the winter because we had a lot to do to get ready for racing this year. But it's always nice to be able to spend time with the family. The boys are doing wonderful. They've been doing some planning for the future of their own – Tanner got a little 600cc mini sprint and that's going to be fun, and Bryce is getting all healed up after his motocross wreck and now he's looking at the stadium trucks like they run in the Lucas Oil Off Road Series. Taylor isn't sure what he wants to do yet, maybe Jr. dragsters or helping Tanner out with the sprint car, but once he gets of age, we'll see what he's going to do. It looks like motorsports are always going to be part of their lives. Huh, go figure.
We moved last year, and my wife Amber has been doing a great job getting our house set up. It was a big time project, but she worked real hard on it and got us through the holidays, and now we're getting back to normal. You can see that the family has been busy and we've been really busy over at the Gray Motorsports shop, and it's coming up on time to go racing. I hope that I have a bunch of good things to share with you all this year, and I hope you'll keep reading and following along on Facebook (GrayMotorsportsShaneGray) and Twitter (@ShaneGrayPS). Thanks for sticking with me. See you in Pomona!
As I write this, it's Tuesday night on the week of the U.S. Nationals, and we've just wrapped up another day of testing. Right now, we're in Martin, Michigan, and we're going to keep on testing here tomorrow and then head on over to Indianapolis. I can't believe it's already Indy. This year has been either one of the longest or one of the shortest of my life. I can't decide if time is standing still or racing past, but I tell you what, we sure haven't been resting.
Right after Brainerd, we headed on over to Rockingham and we had two good, solid days of testing. We had some misfire issues in Brainerd, and we knew we needed to make some changes. So we tried out a few things with our Service Central Camaro and we were pretty pleased with what we saw. We try to be cautiously optimistic, because you know how this game goes. You think you've found something or figured it out – but then you get a curve ball. But we feel like we are on the right track. We just have to keep on working at it, keep on digging.
Right now we're 8th in the points. We sure want to make the Countdown, but a lot of that depends on how we do in Indy – and also how Larry Morgan, V. Gaines, and Jeg Coughlin do. We want to be in there and finish in the top 10 again, but our attitude is that we are going to take it one run at a time and do our best. I always try to do my very best, and this race won't be any different.
Going back to Indy reminds me of going there as a kid and watching my dad race. Back in 2008, I made my first NHRA run there in a B/A Comp car, and let me tell you, I was scared to death. At that time, I knew I wanted to race Pro Stock, and I was sure hoping I'd get to, but I wasn't sure how it was going to work out. You just never know, but look at this deal now, we've got this NTB/Big O Tires Pro Stock Camaro, we've won a couple of races – which is more than a lot of guys have had the chance to do – and we actually have a shot at making the top 10 for the third year in a row.
It's real important to me that I don't let my ego get big, but I know I need to appreciate all the good that has come of this so far. You can look at this deal one of two ways: you can either see the negative in it and keep thinking about how hard it is and how much you want to win and what's standing in your way, or you can see the positive in it and think about how good it feels to win after you've worked so hard for it. We're looking at the positive, and we're going to keep looking at it that way, especially going into this race and then the last few races of the year. It's an honor to race in Indy, and I feel privileged to get the chance to do that. I'm not nervous about it like I felt that first time I raced there – but I am real excited. See you out there.
With my sister Nedra and Shane in Denver. Nedra is taking the fitness challenge with us! (Below) Little Lexi was part of the positive change for us this year, too!
This year has been such a season of change for us as a family and as a team. With the Gray Motorsports Pro Stock team, Shane and the guys have worked really hard to build on what they know and weather the storms that can and do come along in this class. We were all really excited when Shane took delivery of the new Service Central Chevy Camaro, and when they brought it out in Bristol, they just kept their hearts and heads in the game to get through that tricky period of time where you have to figure out what a new car wants.
I doubt it's ever easy, but I'm so proud of the way that they brought that car out and tested the heck out of it, and now they are seeing it get better and better. Anything worth doing is worth doing well, and that has been a really important part of how they've managed this. These guys give 110% all the time.
It's my turn now to make a change, and I'm hoping to lead my whole family – and the team, too – down a positive and healthy path. Just before the Denver race, I started the Body by Vi challenge. It's a 90-day challenge that encourages fitness, a healthier lifestyle, and it's just a great way to feel better every day!
We come from a pretty small town in New Mexico, and all of my friends back home have been doing this for a while. They kept trying to get me in on it, but for one reason or another, I just wasn't ready. Now I wish I would have done this sooner, because already I'm feeling awesome.
It's also an amazing weight loss program, and one of my girlfriends back home started this in December and has already lost 60 pounds. She looks so good, but the best part is that she feels good, too. That's what I wanted for my family and myself: to feel good.
Fitness is really important to Shane; he is so dedicated to his workouts and always wants to take care of his body, so this is something that I'm excited to share with him. It fits with his program, and at the racetrack and with all the traveling, the guys are just going and going all the time. They won't miss a meal with this, because the shakes can be used as a meal replacement, and they won't be dragging. They'll get energy and nutrition right there in this shake. I've never been able to do shakes, but these actually taste really good, and I like them. I'm not kidding, they really taste like cake batter! But you can also add flavor packets to them, and the flavor packets have their own benefits: orange is for everyday defense, chocolate is for cardio. They're great and yummy! There are tons of recipes you can make with the shake mix, too.
This is really helping us step in the right direction of eating healthier and just being healthier in general. Since we started the challenge, we've been making a conscious effort to make better decisions when it comes time to plan for meals. You just feel better, and feeling better encourages you to lead a healthier lifestyle.
One of my favorite things so far is the Smart Energy that you add to your water bottle. It's designed to help with focus and managing stress, and I know how much pressure these guys are under out here. If it can help with what they do, I think that's a great thing.
We haven't always been the best about enforcing healthy eating, but I'm excited about this change. It's easier than I thought it would be, and real goal is to start a better, healthier pattern of eating for our family. The Body by Vi challenge fits perfectly with that, and I really believe that we are going to see results in all different areas of our lives. I'm most excited for the kids – to learn a healthy lifestyle and to be conscious of it at a young age will hopefully set them up for success in the future, especially with the sports that they want to be involved in. I hope this helps them have better lives down the road.
One of the really enticing things about it initially was that it's a business you can grow, and because I have tried the product myself and I'm so excited about it, I know that it's something that I want to commit myself to. We lead such a busy lifestyle, but this just fits right in, and it is something positive that I can share with people. Something I can be proud of.
There are all kinds of incentives that the Body by Vi people offer, and it's been fun already to see my friends reach and exceed their goals with the program – both in terms of health and on the business side of things (three of my friends have won BMWs, one couple is getting close to winning their second, and they are all making a great living as distributors).
Anyway, I'm really excited about my new business and this healthy change in our lives. I'm so excited about it that I couldn't wait to get back home after Denver and get everybody started on it! I'm building my business, but the product really sells itself. If you want more information, go to my website: http://agraync.myvi.net
, and if you have any questions about it, you can send me a message from that page.
There has been so much positive change in our lives this year. This little corner of the Gray family is very blessed, and I think we are all excited to see what's next – both at the racetrack and back at home.