NHRA Fans To See Double
Gray Motorsports will field two identical COPO Camaros in the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Stock Eliminator category.
Veteran drag racer Jeff Strickland will join renowned Gray Motorsports driver Dave Connolly on the NHRA national event tour.
Strickland, 38, of Red Bay, Ala., will drive a naturally aspirated 350 CID COPO Camaro that was constructed in house by the Gray Motorsports team from a rare COPO roller. Strickland brings diverse experience behind the wheel and a winning scorecard to the table. The second-generation racer has earned a threatening reputation in high dollar bracket races and is a respected competitor on the NHRA tour with nine wins in three categories – Super Comp, Stock Eliminator and Super Stock – in a remarkable 24 final rounds.
“I really can’t put into words what it means to me to have been chosen to drive one of the GMPartsNow.com COPO Camaros,” said the three-time NHRA Lucas Oil Series division champion. “It’s a really nice car, and I appreciate that they have a lot of faith in me to allow me to drive it. I want to thank Matt Berger, Berger Chevrolet, and Gray Motorsports for the opportunity to drive for them this year. It is an honor.
“It’s great to start it all off in Gainesville because that’s a racetrack that means a lot to me. I’ve been to the final round there twice before and was runner-up both times. The first time I ever went to the final in stock at a national event was there at the Gatornationals in 1998, and I only lost by .001-second. I got to the final again in Gainesville in 2008 and came up short, but maybe third time will be the charm with the GMPartsNow.com COPO Camaro.”
Connolly, 31, originally from Elyria, Ohio, will return for another season behind the wheel of a 427 CID GMPartsNow.com COPO Camaro. Connolly has impressively wheeled his COPO Camaro to a Factory Stock Showdown final-round finish at the prestigious Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals the last two years in a row and was the first to win an event title in the new generation COPO Camaro when he nabbed the trophy at an NHRA divisional race held in Atlanta in 2013.
“I’m certainly looking forward to racing the GMPartsNow.com COPO Camaro once again this year, and it’s huge that Berger Chevrolet and GMPartsNow.com saw enough value in our partnership last year to step up and run a second car in 2014. We really appreciate their support,” said Connolly, a multi-category racer with 23 Pro Stock victories and four wins earned across three sportsman classes: Super Comp, Super Gas and Top Dragster.
“It’s also really special because we get to do this with a good friend of mine, Jeff Strickland, who is very capable of winning. He has run Stock Eliminator a lot in the past, but I don’t know if he has ever had a car as competitive as this one. I’m excited for him, and it’ll be interesting to see what he can do with it. I think it’s going to be a great year for all of us.”
Berger Chevrolet will also continue its role as an associate sponsor on both Gray Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Pro Stockers. The Berger name will prominently appear on the front fenders of the Camaros driven by Connolly and Shane Gray.