Veteran no-time racer J.R. Gray had the most enviable of debuts in Radial versus The World at Donald Long’s Sweet 16 in October, driving his “Headshot” Camaro that the welds from chassis builder David Reese were still smoking at the time on, all the way the winner’s circle in the class’ most prestigious race. On Sunday evening, Gray was attempting to bookmark an impressive couple of months in small-tire racing’s premier eliminator when things quickly went awry for the popular Georgia native.
Gray qualified a less-than-desired sixth in the eight-car field at the Snowbird Outlaw Nationals with an off-pace 3.75 in his 959-inch Pat Musi-powered Camaro. Gray proceeded to take own strong runner in Jason Lee and Melanie Salemi in Sunday’s opening two rounds, setting up a final round rumble with Kevin Rivenbark’s supercharger car.
In the big finale, Gray’s and Rivenbark’s door handles were welded together through the first 200-feet when Headshot took a very un-radial-car-like sharp left turn toward the centerline; Gray took evasive action to avoid both Rivenbark and the oncoming guardrail, saying the wheel back to the right and allowing momentum, gravity, and traction to do what they do, sending him onto his roof about as gracefully as you could possibly expect out of a 200 mph racecar. Headshot slide to a stop in the shutdown area on its lid, lightly tapping the guardrail on its path and minimizing the damage.
Said the ever-amped-up Gray: “I was kicking his ass until I landed on the roof! I’m ok and headshot will be fixed by January!”
Video credit: Straight Line Media/Kyle Christ