Taylor Gray, No. 17 Ford Performance Fusion
Taylor Gray will be making his first career start in any series at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on Thursday night in the No. 17 Ford Performance Fusion. Known as the “Last Great Coliseum,” even walking down the steep concrete banking can be intimidating for drivers who have raced there many times. For a rookie it can be especially daunting, but 15-year-old Gray is up for the challenge.
In 12 ARCA Menards Series starts this season (including East and West starts), he has achieved seven top-five and 10 top-10 finishes. In the two races where he was not in the top 10, he finished 11th. Gray earned another top-five finish last Saturday at Toledo (Ohio) Speedway after finishing fifth in his fourth start there this year.
This race is twice as important for Gray since it not only counts for ARCA Menards Series points, but ARCA East as well. The East race at Bristol was originally scheduled in April, but due to the revised Covid-19 schedule, it is now part of the originally scheduled ARCA race. Gray is 11th in ARCA points, despite only competing in eight of 15 races. He jumped three spots to eighth in the East standings after his top five at Toledo. He has started three of the four races in that series.
The ARCA Menards Series Bush’s Beans 200 from Bristol Motor Speedway will be run on Thursday, Sept. 17 at 9:30 p.m. ET. The race will be broadcast live on FS1. The 200-lap race will have two race breaks on, or near laps 75 and 150.
Gray on Bristol: “Bristol is kind of like Dover’s little brother. It’s just a really short Dover. It looks like a pretty cool place and I’m pretty excited to race there for the first time on Thursday. My driver coach, Brandon McReynolds, told me one thing to remember at Bristol is do not rush the gas off of turn four. These concrete tracks are also really hard on restarts. I was a perfect example of that in Dover. I completely screwed up in Dover and lit up the tires on the last restart there, which messed up my race. You really have to your game on the restarts.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!