Tanner Gray to make 100th Truck career start at Martinsville

Tanner Gray is set to achieve a milestone start when he competes in his fifth full-time season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. By competing in this weekend’s event at Martinsville Speedway, the driver of the No. 15 TRICON Garage Toyota Tundra TRD Pro will reach 100 career starts in the Truck Series. 

A native of Artesia, New Mexico, and the 2018 NHRA Pro Stock champion, Gray made his inaugural start in the Truck Series at Martinsville Speedway in October 2019. By then, he had completed his first full-time campaign in the ARCA Menards Series East for DGR-Crosley, where he had notched a victory in South Boston Speedway, finished third in the final standings, and had made seven career starts in the ARCA Menards Series.

Driving the No. 15 Toyota Tundra for DGR-Crosley, Gray started 15th and finished 20th in his Truck debut despite being involved in a final lap incident. He returned in November to compete in the final two Truck Series events of the season for DGR-Crosley at Martinsville Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway where he piloted the team’s No. 7 entry to finishes of 17th and 16th, respectively.

The following season, Gray graduated to a full-time racing role in the No. 15 Ford F-150 for DGR-Crosley in the Truck Series, where he contended for the rookie title. Commencing the season with a 23rd-place finish at Daytona International Speedway despite being collected in a late multi-truck wreck, Gray would rally the following weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and collect his first top-10 career finish in eighth place. He would then finish in the top 12 in four of his next five starts.

After retiring at Texas Motor Speedway due to a transmission issue and finishing 18th in the first of a Kansas Speedway doubleheader feature during his next two starts, Gray notched two consecutive top-five results: a fourth-place finish in the second Kansas doubleheader event and a third-place run at Michigan International Speedway.

Despite managing four top-20 results in the final five regular-season events, Gray did not qualify for the 2020 Truck Series Playoffs. He would commence the Playoffs by posting back-to-back third-place finishes at Bristol Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. After managing only a single top-10 result during the final five events on the schedule, Gray capped off his first full-time Truck season in 14th place in the final standings and in fifth place in the rookie standings. By then, he had notched a total of four top-five results, eight top-10 results and an average-finishing result of 16.1. 

In 2021, when DGR-Crosley changed names to David Gilliland Racing, Gray began the season with a 35th-place result at Daytona due to a drivetrain issue. He would finish no higher than 10th during his next nine starts before posting his first top-10 result of the season in ninth place at Texas Motor Speedway in June. Finishing no higher than 14th during the final four regular-season events, Gray did not make the 2021 Truck Series Playoffs. Despite managing a third-place result at Martinsville in October, Gray concluded his sophomore Truck season in 18th place in the final standings with an average-finishing result of 22.3. 

Gray commenced the 2022 Truck season on a high note with a fourth-place finish at Daytona. He finished fifth during the following event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and eighth at Atlanta Motor Speedway before finishing no higher than 15th in the next six consecutive events. Managing only two additional top-10 results during his next seven events, Gray fell short of making the Truck Series Playoffs. Throughout the Playoffs, he finished no higher than 16th twice before capping off the season in third place during the season-finale event at Phoenix Raceway and in 15th place in the final standings. By then, he had improved his average-finishing result to 18.0 compared to the 2021 season. 

This past season, when David Gilliland Racing was rebranded to TRICON Garage and returned to fielding Toyotas, Gray started the season by notching a career-best runner-up result at Daytona amid a rain-shortened event. He then posted four top-10 results during his next eight starts, including a third-place result at Darlington Raceway in May. After finishing 18th at North Wilkesboro Speedway, Gray notched his first Truck career pole position at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May, where he would end up 27th.

Managing only one top-11 finish during the final four regular-season events, Gray fell short of making the Playoffs for a fourth consecutive season. With a ninth-place result in the season-finale event at Phoenix, Gray ended up in 14th place in the final standings. By then, he tied the number of top-10 results from his previous season to six, claimed an extra top-five result from his previous season to three, led a career-high 26 laps and posted an average-finishing result of 16.7. 

Through 99 previous Truck starts, Gray has achieved one pole, 10 top-five results, 23 top-10 results, 51 laps led and an average finishing result of 18.1. He recently recorded his first top-10 result of the season at Circuit of the Americas in late March by finishing in 10th place and is currently ranked in 10th place in the regular-season standings as he continues his pursuit for both his first series victory and Playoff berth. 

Tanner Gray is scheduled to make his 100th Craftsman Truck Series career start at Martinsville Speedway for the Long John Silver’s 200. The event is scheduled for Friday, April 5, and will air at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1. 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com


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