Former NHRA champ Tanner Gray to make NASCAR national series debut at Martinsville

by Justin Nguyen

In 2018, 19-year-old Tanner Gray impressed the drag racing world as he scored the NHRA Pro Stock title to become the association’s youngest champion. A year later, he has transitioned and quickly climbed up the stock car racing ladder.

On Wednesday, DGR-Crosley announced he would race in the NASCAR national series for the first time when he drives the team’s #15 Toyota Tundra in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck SeriesNASCAR Hall of Fame 200 at Martinsville Speedway on 26 October. He will also run the final two races at ISM Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“I’m excited to make the step up to the Truck Series,” Gray said in a team release. “I think it’s going to be challenging, but I’m ready to take the next step with my DGR-Crosley guys. We’ve been preparing for this all season, and I think the best way to learn is to go out and do it. Between testing and spending time in the Toyota simulator, I think I have a good feel for Martinsville and will be able to adapt quickly.

Gray ran full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East for DGR-Crosley in 2019, scoring a win at South Boston Speedway. With nine top-ten finishes and a pole to go with his victory, he finished the season third in points. He also has three starts in the counterpart Pro Series West, finishing second in all three with a pole at Tucson Speedway.

Furthermore, the New Mexico native has seven races in the ARCA Menards Series with DGR, where he holds four top tens and a best run of fifth at Michigan International Speedway.

“I’m really looking forward to Tanner’s Truck debut after the building season that he’s had,” crew chief Seth Smith added. Gray’s K&N crew will accompany him for his Truck schedule. “He’s learned a lot from where he started at the beginning of the season to where he’s at now. We tested at Martinsville and I feel like we had a really successful test session. I’m looking forward to racing there, as well as Phoenix and Homestead to finish out the year.”

In addition to the full-time #17 for playoff driver Tyler Ankrum and #54 for various drivers, DGR-Crosley’s Truck stable has also fielded the #15 for Dylan Lupton and Anthony Alfredo. Lupton holds the truck’s best run of the year to date with a fifth at Kentucky Speedway in July; coincidentally, Ankrum won that race. Alfredo tweeted he will run the ISM and Homestead races in the #15, so it is not known which truck Gray will be in for those events.

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