Service Central sponsoring strong 4-driver lineup

TBC Retail Group, which operates the popular tire and automotive service centers, Tire Kingdom, NTB – National Tire and Battery, Merchant's Tire and Auto Centers and Big O Tires, today announced that it has its primary-sponsored, four-driver Service Central Racing team roster in place and ready to contend for victories in 2011.

The Service Central Racing lineup for the upcoming motorsports season includes Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing star Graham Rahal in the IZOD IndyCar Series and three drivers in the NHRA Full Throttle Series (NHRA)– Johnny Gray (Funny Car, Don Schumacher Racing), Shane Gray (Pro Stock Car, Gray Motorsports) and Dom Lagana (Top Fuel Dragster, Paul Richards Racing).

“Putting together our season has been a great adventure," said Bob Crostarosa, senior vice president of marketing and advertising, TBC Retail Group. “We are thrilled with the abilities of the teams and the drivers, and are very pleased with the look of race cars. The red, white and blue color scheme not only looks sharp on and off the track, but it is synonymous with integrity, trust worthiness, and quality. This is the foundation of Service Central and our service centers Tire Kingdom, NTB-National Tire and Battery, Merchant’s Tire and Big O Tires. This is one message, fans and customers alike should know."

Rahal, Johnny Gray and Shane Gray will compete full-time under the Service Central umbrella in their respective racing league while Lagana will be a part-time participant in selected NHRA national events.

The 22-event NHRA season opens February 24, 2011 with the Winternationals in Pomona, Calif. while the 17-race open-wheel IndyCar circuit commences March 27 in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Below are thumbnail sketches of the 2011 Service Central Racing team drivers:

Graham Rahal/Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing: The son of 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner and three-time CART Champion Bobby Rahal, Graham became the youngest winner in the IZOD IndyCar Series era when he drove to victory in his series debut in the 2008 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg at the age of 19 years and 93 days old. Rahal contested 12 of the 17 events with four teams in 2010, completing 98 percent of the total laps. His prior experience includes stints in Champ Car, Formula Atlantic, Star Mazda, A1 Grand Prix, Formula BMW, GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car and the American Le Mans Series from 2004-2007.

Johnny Gray/Dom Schumacher Racing: The drag-racing veteran competed in the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Series (NHRA) where he drove a Pro Stock Car flying the NTB-National Tire and Battery colors. Following the 2010 campaign, he joined the Don Schumacher Racing team to drive the team's Service Central Funny Car. He competed in Funny Cars from 1999-2004 and again in 2006. He competed in Pro Stock in 1993-1994 and from 2008-2010.

Shane Gray/Gray Motorsports: In 2010, Shane teamed with his father (Johnny Gray) and completed an impressive rookie season in the competitive Pro Stock category by finishing fourth in points. He drove his Service Central Pontiac Pro Stock car to the season-ending NHRA national event win in Pomona, Calif. He also had two runner-up and six semifinal finishes. Previous racing experience includes NHRA Sportsman division, open-wheel modifieds, brackets and motocross. He was also a champion roper in the United States Team Roping Association.

Dom Lagana/Paul Richards Racing: Rookie Dom Lagana had the run of his rookie career at the 2010 Las Vegas NHRA Nationals while competing in just his fifth NHRA Top Fuel start where he took out NHRA season champ Larry Dixon in the second round and advanced to the final round before losing to seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher.

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