Report: Gray moving from NHRA to NASCAR
By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
According to AutoWeek.com, NHRA Pro Stock points leader Tanner Gray will make the switch to NASCAR next season. Gray, since the CatSpot NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Kent, Washington, has been rumored to leave the sport.
Gray will reportedly join DGR-Crosley Racing. His new team is owned by long-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver David Gilliland and Crosley Radio CEO Bo LeMastus.
Gilliland made only one Cup Series start this year, which came at the Daytona 500.
Gray, the 19-year-old, has been racing in the Pro Stock category for the past two seasons, replacing his father, Shane Gray. During that time, he has won 11 races in his career, including the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois on Sunday.
The teenager has no prior NASCAR experience. However, like his brother Taylor, he has run Late Models.
DGR-Crosley Racing confirmed the news to the website. Yet, no racing schedule has been announced at this time.
Gray could drive a Late Model, K&N Pro Series, or a Camping World Truck Series entry for the DGR-Crosley Racing team. The team just won the K&N Pro Series East Championship with Tyler Ankrum this past weekend.
The 17-year-old Ankrum, who resides in San Bernardino, California, won four races this season in the K&N Pro Series East. He also had 12 Top 10 finishes of the 13, finishing 13th at in the Apple Barrel 125 on Saturday, September 22nd, 2018.
While Ankrum finished 13th, Gilliland had two drivers in the Top 5. NAPA Auto Parts sponsored Derek Kraus finished second behind Brandon McReynolds. Terrible Herbst’s Riley Herbst finished fourth.
According to AutoWeek.com, Gilliland’s team bought the stop previously owned by NASCAR Truck Series team, Red Horse Racing in Mooresville, North Carolina. The Gray Motorsports headquarters are located in Denver, North Carolina. According to Google Maps, the Gray Motorsports headquarters are just 30 minutes from Mooresville, North Carolina.
Gray was a third-generation driver, who raced in Pro Stock. Besides his father, his grandfather Johnny Gray, who also raced in Funny Car, raced in Pro Stock.
“Teenage Tanner,” as NHRA announcer Alan Reinhart calls the points leader is one of several drivers, who are leaving the category. During the Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, Pa., John Gaydosh Jr. retired from the sport after being eliminated on Sunday.
Gray Motorsports teammate Drew Skillman is also expected to leave the sport after the season. Skillman has acknowledged that he would race again, but only on a part-time occasion.
The NHRA has been messing with the category the past several years. In 2015, they made the cars go to an electronic fuel injection.
Then, last year, they announced that they would cut the field to just eight cars for certain racers. After backlash from that proposal, the governing body decided to change it back to a 16-car field for all races.
At the prestigious Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Indiana, the NHRA flirted with the Mountain Motor Pro Stock cars. They had an exhibition at the track.
There’s reports that these cars could be added to the series next year, because of a failing car count.
Auto Week says that Gray’s “desire to give stock cars another shot was said to be a deciding factor in the decision.” Gray has won six races this season.