Taylor Gray, No. 17 Ford Performance Fusion
Taylor Gray will be making his first start at the Springfield (Ill.) Mile on Sunday in the ARCA Menards Series, but not his first start on dirt. The 15-year-old rookie cut his teeth racing dirt go-karts in North Carolina at the age of eight, and now he will return to his racing roots, but in the No. 17 Ford Performance Fusion.
Gray has been studying film of last year’s ARCA Menards Series race at the track to learn as much as he can before hitting the track for practice on Sunday morning, followed by qualifying and the 100-lap race. Racing ARCA stock cars on a big dirt track like Springfield requires more finesse and car control than one would think. The track surface can change like a pavement track based on the weather affecting the car’s grip and handling.
In 15 ARCA Menards Series starts this season (including East and West starts), he has achieved eight top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. In the two races where he was not in the top 10, he finished 11th. He is 10th in points despite only running 11 of the 18 races this season since he is not eligible to compete at the larger tracks due to age restrictions.
The Illinois Truck & Equipment Allen Crowe 100 from the Springfield Mile will be run on Sunday, Oct. 4 at 3 p.m. ET. The race will be broadcast live on MAVTV and TrackPass on NBC Gold. The 100-lap race will have two race breaks on, or near laps 30 and 75.
Gray on Springfield: “I started racing dirt go-karts out at Millbridge (N.C.) Speedway which was a pretty cool place and kind of where I got my start in racing. Running an ARCA car at a one-mile dirt track will be way different, but this is one race where I can lean on my teammate (Hailie Deegan) since she’s pretty good on dirt. I’m not worried about points or running for a championship or anything, so I can go into this race with an open mindset and just see what happens. It should be fun.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!