Taylor Gray Bounces Back with Top-Five Finish at Atlanta

By Seth Eggert, Associate Editor

One week after he flipped in the season opening NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, Taylor Gray rebounded with a top-five finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Gray didn’t enter the top-10 until the second Stage of the Fr8 208. With the field largely running single-file, it was difficult for the TRICON Garage driver to climb up the running order. Three consecutive debris cautions late in the race allowed Gray to maneuver on restarts.

A flat tire for race leader Grant Enfinger shook the running order up in the 31-lap green flag run to the checkered flag. When the dust settled, Gray’s No. 17 JBL Toyota Tundra TRD Pro was just inside the top-five. As the Toyota Racing driver’s teammate, Corey Heim, battled Ford Performance’s Ty Majeski for second on the final lap, Gray lined up with Heim. The 18-year-old took the checkered flag in fourth.

“The racing was kind of tough today,” Gray said. “A lot of single file – couldn’t really build huge runs. The 7 (Kyle Busch) truck – props to them. They were the class of the field. They were just driving away from us. We had a pretty good JBL Tundra TRD Pro. TRICON Garage put a really good effort in. Pretty good points day today. Jeff Hensley (crew chief) on the box calling really good shots. Almost came from the back to the front challenge.”

Race day didn’t start as planned for Gray. The Denver, N.C. native qualified 31st, the worst of the Toyota Tundras in the field. The younger of the Gray brother’s comeback started as he avoided several accidents climbing up through the field. He ended the second Stage in ninth, gaining two additional points.

Those extra points chip away at the hole left behind from Daytona Int’l Speedway. Taylor Gray was running inside the top-five until contact sparked a wreck that sent him flying, and landing on his brother, Tanner Gray’s Toyota. Luckily both were uninjured in the incident.

“It’s extremely important (to bounce back),” Taylor Gray said. “I feel like we should have two top-fives by now, and we were close to a win in Daytona. It’s really good to come out her and bounce back from such a good weekend to a bad weekend to starting off the season strong here.”

The fourth-place finish is Gray’s first top-five of the 2024 season and the fourth of his Truck Series career. It also marked his ninth career top-10 finish.

The top-five finish moved Gray up from 15th in the points standings up to eighth. He is 32-points behind leader Tyler Ankrum and six points above the playoff cutline, currently held by Daniel Dye.

Next for Gray is the Victoria’s Voice Foundation 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday, March 1 at 9:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. The race will also be broadcast on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *