Celebrating 90 Years of GM’s Milford Proving Ground

GM Parts MilfordWhen the General Motors Milford Proving Ground opened in October, 1924 – 90 years ago this month – engineers lacked advanced tools and technology for safety testing. Some might say the only crash test dummies back then were human.

Engineers today keep their distance during crash tests. No more riding the running boards until seconds before impact. Instead, inside the vehicles being tested are heavily instrumented anthropomorphic test devices – dummies – who capture the data for which engineers once risked their lives.

“The technology used today to research vehicles is far superior to the past, but the intention stays the same, put vehicles to the test in the name of safety,” said Jack Jensen, the GM engineering group manager for the dummy lab and a GM Technical Fellow. “We have more sophisticated dummies, computers to monitor crashes, and new facilities to observe different types of potential hazards.

GM has provided customers with many industry-firsts using the Milford Proving Ground to test these developments:

• Patent-pending child restraint seat cushion extension feature: A segment safety first, the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon jump seat headrest can be removed from the back of the seat and inserted into the seat base to give a child seat more area to sit on.

• Belt assurance system: This industry-first, which keeps drivers from shifting from “park” if not buckled up, will be launching later this year on a limited group of fleet vehicles.

• Front center air bag: GM was the first manufacturer to introduce the feature in 2013 on all full size crossovers. It will also be on the all-new 2015 full size utilities.

• Rollover test facility: GM was the first North American auto manufacturer to build a rollover test facility. It opened in 2006.

• Test dummies: In the early 1980s, GM’s safety team developed several dummies, including the Hybrid III, which became the universal standard for frontal crash testing and remains so today across the globe.

2014 GMPartsNow COPO Camaro

New GMPartsNow COPO Camaro

Gray Motorsports Managing Director Victor Cagnazzi debuted his 2014 GMPartsNow COPO Camaro at Maple Grove Raceway this past weekend by competing in Stock Eliminator and the unique Factory Stock Showdown.

Cagnazzi had a successful outing and actually got the best of teammate Dave Connolly in the second round with a near perfect reaction time (.002) en route to the final round in FS/B class eliminations – the semifinals of the Factory Stock Showdown.

Cagnazzi was finally eliminated when he recorded a -.022-second red-light against Dave Barton. His successful debut was a tremendous accomplishment for Cagnazzi, particularly considering the fact that the driver had not raced in many years and the GMPartsNow COPO Camaro is one of the few manually shifted COPO entries in competition.

Cagnazzi will race his black COPO again in just a few weeks at the Factory Stock Showdown during the NHRA Las Vegas Nationals. “It needs a little more work but this GMPartsNow.com COPO Camaro will be a really, really fast car once we’re done,” concluded Victor.

GMPartsNow Boys Win Here, There, Everywhere!

Our teammate Shane Gray was the No. 1 qualifier, just like last week, and Jonathan Gray made it to the finals in Pro Stock for the second week in a row as well. “It’s just great to be a part of this,” concluded Connolly.

Meanwhile, a day earlier and 800 miles to the south, Jeff Strickland won Stock Eliminator in the GMPartsNow.com B/SA 2014 COPO Camaro at the NHRA Lucas Oil Divisional Event in Bristol, Tennessee. In the final he defeated the A/SA 2013 Cobra Jet of Georgia’s Jeff Hairrington.

Strickland was hoping for the rare NHRA double as he also advanced to the final in Top Dragster against Robert Houston. It turned out to be a great final round as both drivers had .009 reaction times with Houston running .018 off his dial for the win and Strickland .020 over for the loss.

GMPartsNow Team Driver Jonathan Gray Reaches First NHRA P/S Final Round

Jonathan Gray will never forget the 14th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. The picturesque racetrack nestled between tree-lined mountains will stand forever as the location of his first trip to the final round of an NHRA national event. The fact that it occurred on both his birthday and on Father’s Day, with his dad and his entire family in attendance, will be extra special memories.

After winning his first round match-up with Chris McGaha, the elimination ladder for the second round was enough to strike a nerve for the usually calm and cool Jonathan. He was paired against his older brother, Shane Gray.

With their team owner and father, veteran drag racer Johnny Gray, standing between the cars piloted by his two sons, the brothers squared off against each other for a win light for the first time. Jonathan, the younger brother, held an advantage at the starting line and traded it in for a victory at the finish line as matching 6.703s appeared on both sides of the scoreboard.

Jonathan had to quickly put the brother vs. brother match behind him and focus all his attention on what was immediately ahead: his first chance to race in the semifinals at an NHRA national event. Former world champion Jason Line awaited him at the starting line and Gray was more than ready when he left the gate. Seizing an advantage with an .033 to .041 reaction time, Jonathan again won a round on a holeshot, 6.730, 206.23 to 6.726, 206.39.

His challenger in the final round was former Berger Chevrolet team driver Erica Enders-Stevens. Both drivers were identical in terms of reaction times, but in the whirlwind of excitement surrounding the first final round of his PRO career, Jonathan had trouble as he left the starting line and could not recover as Erica pulled away for the win.

Through the collective efforts of Jonathan and his Gray/GMPartsNow team the Auto Club Road to the Future Award candidate moved up two positions to the No. 12 slot in the NHRA’s Mello Yello Series Pro Stock standings. He is just five rounds outside of the top 10 – a notable feat as he made his debut at the third race of the season and then did not compete in Las Vegas. In fact, all three of the Gray/GMPartsNow team drivers are now in the top 12 in points.


(Unofficial, following Bristol, the 10th of 24 events)

Pro Stock Driver Points:

1. Erica Enders-Stevens, 908
2. Jeg Coughlin, 753
3. Allen Johnson, 704
4. Jason Line, 698
5. SHANE GRAY, 651
6. Vincent Nobile, 617
8. V. Gaines, 487
9. Chris McGaha, 459
10. Rodger Brogdon, 390
11. Larry Morgan, 334
13. Greg Anderson, 301
14. Jimmy Alund, 282
15. Steve Kent, 177