After two seasons fielding Toyota Tundras, DGR-Crosley will make the switch to Ford F-150s for the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series season. On Wednesday, the team announced it had formed a partnership with Ford Performance starting in 2020.
“We’re very excited to have DGR-Crosley come to Ford as part of our long-term efforts to develop drivers for NASCAR,” Ford Performance director Mark Rushbrook stated. “We have just scratched the surface of what is possible in developing the next generation of Ford drivers with people like Chase Briscoe, and we believe a coordinated effort with a team like DGR-Crosley will help move that process forward successfully. David Gilliland was a trusted and valued Ford driver in NASCAR for many years, and we look forward to renewing that relationship with him in this new effort.”
Debuting in the Truck Series in 2018, DGR-Crosley fielded the #17 and #54 Tundras full-time for an assortment of drivers. Tyler Ankrum ran much of the schedule in the #17, while Natalie Decker comprised much of the #54’s starts, with team co-owner Gilliland, Anthony Alfredo, Ryan Reed, Kyle Stricker, and Raphaël Lessard also racing with the team. DGR also fielded the #5, #7, and #15 on part-time bases for the likes of Tanner Gray, Dylan Lupton, and Alfredo.
Although he had to run start-and-park efforts with NEMCO Motorsports in the summer, Ankrum went on to qualify for the Truck Series playoffs after winning at Kentucky Speedway. He finished his first Truck season eighth in points and won Rookie of the Year honours, and will move to GMS Racing in 2020.
Gilliland, who co-owns the team with fellow driver Bo LeMastus, has long raced with Fords in NASCAR. In late 2006, he joined Yates Racing‘s #38 Ford in the Cup Series, for whom he raced in 2007 and 2008. From 2010 to 2015, he was a member of Front Row Motorsports, where he recorded four top-ten finishes and helped team-mate David Ragan to the team’s maiden victory in the 2013 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway in a 1–2 finish.
“I’m super excited about the partnership with Ford and how things are lining up for 2020,” Gilliland commented. “I spent a lot of time racing Fords throughout my career, and it’s really special to now be able to bring them into our race shop. A lot of time and consideration was spent on this decision, and internally we know that this is the move that we needed to make in order to advance our program to the top level. We have a great group of hard-working, talented people at DGR-Crosley, and with Ford coming on board, our future is really bright. We’re excited for all the things ahead.”
The switch comes a week after Halmar Friesen Racing announced its own manufacturer change. Last Tuesday, the team – who fields the #52 for Stewart Friesen – declared its intention to join the Toyota camp. In moving to Ford, DGR-Crosley joins ThorSport Racing in the Blue Oval camp; incidentally, ThorSport was also a former Toyota team before making the move in 2018.
DGR-Crosley’s 2020 drivers have not been announced. The day before the announcement, Adam Stern of the Sports Business Journal tweeted Hailie Deegan, who finished third in the 2019 K&N Pro Series West standings and raced for the team in the K&N East race at Bristol Motor Speedway, is a potential candidate to drive for them.