NHRA champion Tanner Gray to make NASCAR Trucks debut at Martinsville
The 20-year-old competed in ARCA and K&N this season
The reigning NHRA Pro Stock division will make his Gander Outdoors NASCAR Truck Series debut at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 26.
Tanner Gray transitioned to stock cars during the offseason and recently completed a full-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series season for DGR-Crosley. The 20-year-old will make his national touring debut with the same organization, driving the No. 15 with support from Gray Motorsports and Valvoline.
Gray will also make starts at ISM Raceway in Phoenix and Homestead-Miami Speedway to close out the 2019 season, presumably in advance of a full-time effort in 2020.
In his rookie K&N season, Gray closed out the year with a second place finish at Dover International Speedway, moving him up to third in the K&N East championship standings. With combined results between his 15 K&N Pro Series East and West starts, Gray collected one win, nine top-fives and 12 top-10s.
“I’m excited to make the step up to the Truck Series,” said Gray. “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. We will have three practice sessions to get acclimated and get the truck where it needs to be. We just need to keep our nose clean in the race and have a solid day on pit road.”
Gray’s K&N Pro Series team will make the transition to the Truck Series with him for the remainder of the season. Seth Smith will cover crew chief duties as veteran Cup Series spotter Eddie D’Hondt guides the young driver from the spotter stand.
“I’m really looking forward to Tanner’s Truck debut after the building season that he’s had,” said crew chief Seth Smith. “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.”