Tanner Gray made history in NHRA’s Pro Stock category when he became the youngest driver to win a race in 2017, earning the series Auto Club Road to the Future rookie title in that same season. A year later, his eight victories in the tough door slammer class gave him the Pro Stock championship, again the youngest to achieve an NHRA professional title.
It wasn’t enough for the third generation driver, whose grandfather Johnny Gray was prolific in both Pro Stock and Funny Car, and whose father Shane raced against his son in Pro Stock. Tanner Gray decided to leave straight-line racing and go to NASCAR in 2019, surprising many who thought he would be the next big thing in Pro Stock and continue his family’s drag racing legacy.
Since entering NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East and West in 2019, Tanner Gray has worked to learn the craft of turning left – and occasionally right, on both tarmac and dirt. He joined with, and remains part of former driver David Gilliland’s team. Gray picked up his first K&N victory at South Boston Speedway in May of 2019. He continued to drive in that series, now known as the ARCA Menards Series East, as well as the national ARCA Menards Series, also competing in late models, modified, midgets and stock cars.
Currently racing with 2023-minted TRICON Garage in NASCAR’s Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS), Tanner Gray is taking a longtime friend along for the ride this weekend, as he races on the Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP) short oval in the No. 15 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, with sponsorship from DSM Precision Manufacturing. Gray will be coming to IRP after lodging a 16th-place result on the Richmond Raceway oval on Saturday, July 29th; he’s currently 12th in Truck Series standings.
DSM Precision Manufacturing is located a stone’s throw from IRP and is known for its work within the NHRA nitro classes, where it has served as a parts manufacturer and R&D engineering center. Initially designing and manufacturing parts for Don Schumacher Racing, DSM has produced parts for multiple motorsports industries from its 150,000-square-foot building in Brownsburg.
Johnny Gray is a partner in TRICON and drove a Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing before retiring after the 2013 season. The Schumacher family has followed Tanner Gray’s transition from a young upstart Pro Stock racer to a veteran Truck Series driver and considered this a natural cooperative venture for the company, particularly since DSM operates so close to the site of this weekend’s truck series race.
“It’s neat to have Don Schumacher and DSM on my truck for IRP,” Gray confirmed. “Obviously we have close ties from my NHRA career and my grandfather driving a Funny Car for them years ago. Joining forces at Indy, a place where we both have had success on the drag strip next door, is super fitting and I hope I can put together a good run for them at their home race.”
This is Gray’s fourth full-time season in the Craftsman Truck Series, all with Gilliland’s operation. He’s earned a single pole position, three top-five results and five top-10s this year in his No. 15 Tundra, with seven race remaining in the 2023 season. TRICON Garage is Toyota Racing Development’s flagship NCTS organization, under ownership by veteran driver/owner David Gilliland and Johnny Gray.