By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Speedweeks 2020 was no doubt a time period in Tanner Gray’s life he would like to forget. After finishing eighth in Friday’s Strat 250 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, it certainly made the progress extremely easy as he had a smile on his face when he got out of his No. 15 Ford Performance F-150.
While he didn’t really become a factor until the final stage, Gray’s DGR-Crosley team kept working on his truck all night long to get him in a good spot for a superb result.
What turned out to be the final restart on Lap 96, Gray hustled his way into the top-five where he was battling with the likes of Sheldon Creed, NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series champions Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton, and of course the toughest guy to beat by the name of Kyle Busch.
Although Gray’s maiden top-five would have to wait another race, he did managed to bring his Ford home in one peace for the first time this season and in just his fifth start, the former NHRA Pro Stock champion was able to deliver an excellent result which was his first of many top-10s to come.
“I’m pretty happy with tonight. Obviously, it was good to get up front and race there, and be behind Kyle,” Gray on his Las Vegas performance. “Just kind of learn some odds and ends there, but also kind of disappointed. I felt like I had it over adjust there on that last stop and ended up too free.”
Despite not having the ideal truck setup that would’ve put him in position for an ever better result, Gray was proud of his race team after spending Speedweeks behind the wall in every race he entered at both Daytona and New Smyrna.
“All-in-all it was a good night,” Gray said. “I’m really happy with everyone at DGR-Crosley for putting together an awesome truck. I felt like we had a pretty fast Ford F-150.
“It’s good to have a race like this and get some confidence and learn and build off it. Go back to the shop and regroup, trying to get ready for Atlanta. All-in-all it’s hard not to be happy with that.”
Gray will make his Atlanta debut March 14 for the running of the Georgia 200. Kyle Busch, who won Friday’s race at Las Vegas, is the defending race winner.