Taylor Gray wins first ARCA race after tragedy en route to Phoenix

The team hauler was involved in a crash en route to Phoenix; Just days ahead of the ARCA race, the team didn’t know if they would race the event

David Gilliland Racing lost a member of their family en route to Phoenix Raceway for the ARCA Racing Series event. On Wednesday, their hauler was involved in a tragic crash in Texas.

Hear from Taylor Gray below.

Hauler driver Steven Stotts passed in the crash. Additionally, John Zaverl and Michael Mizzelle, two team members were injured in the crash.

Early in the week, the team posted a statement. At the time, they were unsure if they’d compete in this weekend’s event.

However, Hailie Deegan’s team helped out with a transporter. And when Gray’s car was unloaded, it was an all-black, unsponsored machine. All three names of the crew involved in the crash sat on the door of the No. 17 machine.

Gray started on the outside pole position. He then battled hard at the front, as the day turned to night.

Gray took the lead multiple times. He ran 2nd with 20 laps to go. However, Daniel Dye spun the tires on a restart and Gray capitalized to return to the race lead.

The race went into overtime with a late race caution. Gray was able to hold off the field and secure the victory.

Gray has 24 career starts in the ARCA Menards Series, previously claiming 16 top 5s. Friday night was his first career win in the series, he led a career high of 76 laps to get there.

Related: Hauler crash en route to Phoenix

Taylor Gray comments after the win

Taylor Gray - Victory Lane - Phoenix Raceway
Taylor Gray – Victory Lane – Phoenix Raceway

“It felt like they didn’t want me to win tonight,” said Tanner Gray.

He added from victory lane, “All those guys are really tough to beat. We just had a really good race car tonight.”

“It wasn’t really my final call to race, it was more higher ups than me,” Gray told Bob Pockrass in the media center after the win.

“In my personal opinion, I felt that Steve was a racer at heart. I think he was excited to be with us and I think he would have wanted us to be here.”

“I’m still upset about the whole situation. It’s hard for me to fully enjoy the win.”

“Steven, John and Michael, this win’s for them, not for anybody else. They went through a horrific thing that not a lot of people go through at all.”


Taylor Gray | DGR Racing | Phoenix Raceway | ARCA Menards Series | NASCAR