Don Schumacher Racing Funny Car driver Johnny Gray says 2013 will be the last time he competes for the championship, and he’ll do so in a Gray family-backed Pitch Energy Dodge. Gray, who turns 60 in March, says he may still race from time to time, just not full-time.
“I’m certainly not saying that I won’t race anymore, but I won’t chase the points after this year, and I won’t participate in the grueling schedule of a full season,” said Gray on NHRA.com (for a rendering of the car, click here). Gray has three Funny Car victories, along with Lucas Oil Series national event wins and two Lucas Oil Series divisional championships.
Following the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, Gray will turn his focus to his family’s motorsports interests, including the Gray Motorsports Chevy Camaro driven by son Shane in the Pro Stock division and his youngest son Jonathan’s Late Model dirt track team. Other members of the family are interested in stadium truck racing and sprint cars.
“It’s time to pay attention to the kids and the grandkids and quit driving full-time after this year,” said Gray. “The fact is I’ve always promised my wife that I’d quit at 60 – and I’m good with it. Trust me, I’m good with it. It’s been real, and it’s been fun. But it’s time for me to be done.”
The Pitch Energy Dodge is a tribute to Gray’s father, John R. Gray, who passed away in 2011. “It’s a real pretty car, and my sister and I thought this would be a fitting tribute to dad,” said Gray. “Marbob was the parent company to Pitch Energy, which was another of his companies, and actually it was named after the card game. My dad loved the game of Pitch. Every afternoon after work, he and a handful of his cronies would get together wherever they were and sit down and play for two or three hours.”
Gray’s father was co-founder and president of Marbob Energy Corp., a thriving company in the oil and gas industry. “It would be great to achieve a championship before this is all through, and what an honor to accomplish that in a car that’s a tribute to my dad, John R.,” said Gray. “But you know what? We’re going to have fun either way.”
Get ready for the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season at www.nhra.com.
Quotes in this piece provided by the NHRA.
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