J.R. Gray DQ’ed In Bristol Pro Mod Final; Kris Thorne Awarded Win

j.r. gray, pro mod, nhra

Veteran doorslammer racer J. R. Gray was stripped of his second career Congruity NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by LearnEV+ victory, and his first of the 2024 season on Sunday after a post-race technical inspection at the Super Grip NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at the Bristol Dragway revealed a rules infraction involving a mandated safety device.

Photo courtesy NHRa/National Dragster

Gray, driving his Gray Contracting supercharged Camaro for team owner Mike Janis, qualified number two in one of the most competitive fields in the class’ history with a 5.799 at 249.07 mph, and marched through eliminations to square up with former series champion Kris Thorne and his Bahrain 1 Racing ProCharger-boosted Camaro in the final round. Gray got away first in the money round, .048 to .062, and was never headed, cruising to a 5.812 at 247.61, as Thorne drifted out of the groove and slowed to a 5.93 at just 203 mph. For Gray, who won his first career NHRA Pro Mod race at the Bristol Dragway in 2021, the moment was certainly a highlight and a turning point in the season as the championship chase nears its mid-point.

Hours later, however, the NHRA announced its decision to disqualify Gray and awarded the victory to Thorne. The inspection identified a system air pressure shutoff switch that had been disabled.

j.r. gray, pro mod, nhra

Said J.R. Gray after his win: “We looked at the qualifying sheet and sometimes it’s an uphill battle, but we keep on digging. We had quite a few things come into play over the last few races, but we’ve been digging hard to come up with ways to get us a little bit more horsepower. I take it one round at a time. Every race is a different race and we up line and shoot them down, but in the back of your mind you’re thinking about it a little bit.”

“While J.R. Gray 100 percent dominated today and won the Wally here at Bristol, we were disqualified in the final round and fined $5,000,” said Janis in a statement via social media after the decision was announced. “We replaced the air regulator system in our car this morning as we were having some issues. We didn’t want to chance it so we took it out of the other car. In doing so there was a switch that was bypassed — an air safety switch. All the safety features still worked properly on the car, every last one of them. There were no performance enhancing things we did wrong, it was all due to a safety switch which was bypassed. We are completely shattered and at a loss for words….

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