After a standout rookie season a year ago in the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon, J.R. Gray hasn’t been able to find that magic touch thus far in 2022.
He’s recorded just one round win through three events in his Mike Janis Superchargers-powered Gray Contracting Camaro, but Gray is fully confident a turnaround is coming. After a month off between races, he would love for it to come at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park in Norwalk as part of this weekend’s Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.
Gray made his first appearance at the facility a year ago and is looking to make a strong impression this weekend as the 2022 season heats up in the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon.
“I’m really looking forward to the weekend,” Gray said. “We’ve tested the car a few times now and I feel good coming into the race. I feel like I’m driving well and if I can continue that and the car runs like it did in testing, I feel like we’ll be a hard team to beat. We did some good things in testing, the car respond and if that continues, I think we’ll be good to go. It’s close to home for Mike and the team and there will be a lot of friends there for them, so we’re all really looking forward to this.”
The race, which is the third of 10 events during the 2022 season in the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon, is powered by Mike Janis Superchargers, which is a top engine choice for several standout drivers.
That includes Gray, as well as Mike Thielen, Doug Winters, Dwayne Wolfe and Jerico Balduf. Each relies on Mike Janis Superchargers as their power adder of choice to compete in the loaded NHRA Pro Mod class, praising the performance capabilities of the supercharger engines.
“We're pleased to sponsor NHRA Pro Mod at Norwalk and be able to host Mike Janis Superchargers customers at the event,” Mike Janis Superchargers CEO Mike Janis Jr. said. “We’ve built high-performance racing engines for drag racing, tractor pulling, and marine for over 65 years and we are passionate about Pro Mod.”
Gray made a strong first impression as a rookie in the class last season, picking up a late-season season win – his first in the NHRA Pro Mod class – in Bristol and advancing to back-to-back finals to close out the year.
That success hasn’t been replicated yet, but Gray feels like it can happen this weekend, even while facing off against a talented group that includes points leader Kris Thorne, defending Norwalk event winner and reigning world champ Jose Gonzalez, two-time world champ Stevie “Fast” Jackson, multi-time champ Rickie Smith and Lyle Barnett, who claimed two wins as a rookie in 2021.
One of those came in the final round against Gray to close out the year, but Gray feels so confident about the car he’s willing to put up an extra incentive against Barnett during the final qualifying session. Success there may lead to a strong performance in eliminations, which would be a perfect ending to the weekend in Norwalk.
“I want to win, no matter what, but we want to get some momentum,” Gray said. “We need to win the race or at least go very deep to set us up for the end of the year. The whole team wants to put something good on the board right now. It gives you that much more confidence, but Mike and these guys, they just stay after it. For them to sponsor the event and for me to drive for them, it’s truly amazing. I would love to finish it off with a win. Everybody has been coming together, so I feel like we’ve got a good shot at it.”
The FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon features the world’s fastest doorslammer cars, offering something unique for every drag racing fan. Featuring several different power adders and 250-mph action, the class continues to be a hit with fans.
As always, fans get an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet in Norwalk. This unique opportunity gives fans a unique chance to see teams in action and service their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers and more. Fans can also visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.
FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon qualifying will feature two rounds at 3:45 and 6:45 p.m. ET on Friday, June 24 and the final round of qualifying on Saturday, June 25 at 11:30 a.m. The first round of eliminations for Pro Mod is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Saturday and will continue on Sunday, June 26.
To purchase tickets to the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, fans can visit www.summitmotorsportspark.com or call 419-668-5555. Children 12 and under are free in general admission with the purchase of an adult ticket.