‘Hail Mary’ Call Nets Tanner Gray Texas Top-10 Finish

By Seth Eggert, Associate Editor

TRICON Garage’s Tanner Gray clawed his way out of an early hole and caught a caution at the right time to score a top-10 finish at Texas Motor Speedway.

One lap into practice for the SpeedyCash.com 250 and Gray’s No. 15 Operation 300 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro broke loose in Turns 1 and 2. The 24-year-old pounded the wall in the opening minutes of the 20-minute practice session, forcing his team to scramble to get the back-up truck prepared for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race several hours later.

“Really proud of everyone from TRICON – it’s nice to come out of here with a good finish, but I’m still frustrated at myself for putting us in a hole in practice,” Gray admitted. “I feel like if I hadn’t done that, we might be in better shape yet, but definitely needed a good finish. Nice to manufacture one when you have a start like that, but proud of everyone from TRICON, can’t thank everyone at Toyota, Operation 300 and Dead On Tools enough for the support.”

Tanner gray scored a top-10 finish in a back-up truck in the nascar craftsman truck series at texas motor speedway.
Tanner Gray. (Photo by NKP/Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Gray started the 250-mile race last. Handling issues put him behind, forcing the Toyota Racing driver to take the free pass twice. The second time that the Artesia, NM native earned the free pass was a mid-pit cycle accident for Layne Riggs. Crew chief Jerame Donley had made a ‘Hail Mary’ call, hoping for a caution and the team caught one.

After two more quick cautions, Gray broke into the top-10. In the final 10-lap run to the finish, the elder of the Gray brothers battled with his teammate, and younger brother, Taylor Gray. The duo fought for seventh with Taylor besting his brother Tanner for the position when the checkered flag waved.

“Honestly, before the race started, I felt really good about our chances,” Tanner Gray recalled. “I knew that we would have a fast Tundra. We’ve raced this truck before and ran well with it. I would have honestly felt confident. Wrecking in practice is a terrible way to start the day – just caused these guys a lot of extra work, but once we got into the race, we were awful. I don’t know – we have something wrong in the front.

“We struggled with the handling. It was extremely bad – pretty much the entire race. Jerame did a good job throwing a Hail Mary there and catching the caution at the right time. We got ourselves some track position and then we just came in and tightened up a ton and took a swing at it and was able to manufacture a finish.”

The eighth-place finish was Gray’s best finish of the season and his second top-10 of 2024. It was the 24th top-10 of his career.

The top-10 finish moved Gray up from 11th to ninth in the points standings. He is 117-points behind leader Christian Eckes and three points ahead of the playoff cutline, currently held by Grant Enfinger.

Next for Gray is the Heart of America 200 at Kansas Speedway. In eight starts at the 1.5-mile track, he has one top-five finish, a fourth in the second of three races there in 2020.

The Heart of America 200 at Kansas Speedway is scheduled for Saturday, May 4 at 8:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. The race will also be broadcast on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

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