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Everything You Need to Know About Tanner Gray

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Tanner Gray did not take the normal route that drivers would typically take to NASCAR, but he is still a highly accomplished race car driver for his age. Who is Tanner Gray, and how did he get to where he is today?

Tanner Gray did not take the normal route that drivers would typically take to NASCAR, but he is still a highly accomplished race car driver for his age. Who is Tanner Gray, and how did he get to where he is today?

Early Life/NHRA Drag Racing

Tanner Gray was born on April 15, 1999 in Artesia, New Mexico. Gray was born into a family of drag racers. His grandfather, Johnny Gray, was a veteran NHRA drag racer in both the Pro Stock and Funny Car division. Tanner’s father Shane also is a veteran drag racer.

Naturally, Tanner would go into drag racing. However, stock car racing was not out of the picture for him completely.

Tanner would run two CARS Tour races with one in 2016 and one in 2019. He would finish 13th in both races, one at Hickory and one at Rougemont.

In NHRA, Tanner was nothing short of spectacular. In 2017, he began running in the NHRA Pro Stock Class, and he became the class’ youngest winner at 17 years, 11 months, and 18 days. He also won the Auto Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award, NHRA’s Rookie of the Year award, as well.

The next year, he became the youngest NHRA Champion by winning the Pro Stock championship. While NHRA was nothing short of great for Gray, another motorsport came calling for the 2019 season.

Switch to NASCAR

In 2019, Gray caught the eye of David Gilliland, former NASCAR driver and current team owner. Gray signed on to run select ARCA Menards Series and Truck Series races along with the ARCA Menards East Series full-time.

In the ARCA East Series, Gray qualified in the top-8 for every race, and his first win came in race three. Gray would start on the pole and dominate at South Boston, leading 77 of the first 78 laps, but he lost the lead to Sam Mayer. On an overtime restart, Gray got the best of Mayer for his first ARCA East win.

Gray would finish third in the standings that season with six top-5s and nine top-10s. He would also win a pole in the ARCA Menards Series season finale at Kansas Speedway. From there, Gray would run the final three races in the Craftsman Truck Series with a best finish of 16th.

The Truck Series has been Gray’s home for the last few seasons, and the ride has not always been easy. However, he has had some good moments in the series.

His first career top-10 finish came at Las Vegas in 2020, his first full-time season, with an eighth place finish. His best finish that season was third, which he did three times. He would finish 14th in the standings that season with eight top-10 finishes and four top-5s.

His next two seasons were struggles, but 2023 has been his best season yet. His best career finish came in the season opener at Daytona with a second place finish. He had five top-10s in the first nine races.

He would falter late in the season to miss the Playoffs, but he has shown some potential. Could he finally have his breakout season soon?

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Joshua Lipowski

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