Tanner Gray battled through damage from multiple incidents to lead Toyota with a career-best second-place finish in the rain-shortened NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway on Friday evening.
Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series
Daytona International Speedway
Race 1 of 23 – 100 Laps, 250 Miles
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, Zane Smith*
2nd, TANNER GRAY
3rd, Christian Eckes*
4th, Colby Howard*
5th, Grant Enfinger*
7th, TYLER ANKRUM
8th, COREY HEIM
14th, SAMMY SMITH
15th, JASON WHITE
16th, TIMMY HILL
25th, CHRIS HACKER
28th, STEWART FRIESEN
34th, CLAY GREENFIELD
36th, DEAN THOMPSON
TANNER GRAY, No. 15 Dead On Tools Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, TRICON Garage
Finishing Position: 2nd
How do you feel with the second-place finish with the rain-shortened race?
“Obviously with the way our night was going, second was a good night for us. Not as smooth of a race as we would like. Got caught up in every wreck there was, but it’s a good finish and that’s all we can ask for. Everyone at TRICON Garage did a great job bringing fast trucks this weekend and happy to have Dead On Tools on board and get them a good finish. We’re going to go back to the shop and regroup to make our speedway stuff a little bit better. I feel like we’re good, but we can be a little bit better. Just have to figure it out and get ready for Las Vegas.”
What kind of momentum does it give you to kickoff the season with a second-place finish?
“For sure, anytime you can leave Daytona and be good it helps a lot. It gets the ball rolling and gets momentum on our side so that’s good. We were lucky enough to be in the same boat last year and to start the year off again like this is awesome.”
TYLER ANKRUM, No. 16 LiUNA! Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, Hattori Racing Enterprises
Finishing Position: 7th
How do you feel about your performance tonight and winning the first stage?
“We had a really fast truck. I was super happy with my LiUNA! Tundra TRD Pro. It was just so awesome. I think I made two passes for the lead with no help and no pushes, just a really, really fast truck. Doug Randolph (crew chief) on the box made some awesome calls to get us up front after starting in the back. You get to that fifth to 12thrange so he made some really good calls to get us to the front and lead. We stayed in the top-five for the whole night. I hate to have it finish like this because I really thought if we were going to go back green we could have it won. We could make moves on the top or on the bottom, it was insane. I don’t like that we’re going home seventh, but this is part of it. I would rather be seventh than caught up in a wreck early on or have a blown engine. It’s unfortunate, I hate it. I really wanted to win this race after seeing how fast we were.”
COREY HEIM, No. 11 Safelite Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, TRICON Garage
Finishing Position: 8th
How do you feel about the rain-shortened event and your performance through the rest of the race?
“It’s super disappointing, I thought we brought a really strong Safelite Toyota TRD Pro with TRICON. Ran such a conservative race and we were conservative on strategy for the very end there. Didn’t worry about stage points and now here we are with 21 laps left and nothing to show for it. Just really proud of my TRICON guys. Just unfortunate.”
DEAN THOMPSON, No. 5 Thompson Pipe Group Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, TRICON Garage
Finishing Position: 36th
What happened out there?
“I don’t know. They slowed up in front of me. I hit (Matt) DiBenedetto in left rear. It is what it is. I tried to slow up in time and what happened, happened. I don’t know if it was my fault, or Clay Greenfield, or who. I will look back at and see.”
Is the amount of frustration due to how early it was?
“I get an opportunity at Toyota, coming where I came from, and now I’m here. I have the opportunity to go and win this now and look where I am, so it is frustrating.”
How was it working with the TRICON team this weekend?
“It was fantastic. They’ve been top tier. Toyota has established itself as a top manufacturer in the Truck Series, frankly all three series, so to work with them has been awesome. TRICON guys have been good. They’ve been on top of it. My truck was perfect. All of our trucks were perfect. I could have gone out there and won the race, but look where we are at.”
Does the fact that you felt like you could have won the race give you some peace in this situation?
“It hurts even more because now I have an opportunity to go out there and show all of you guys who I actually am. I don’t think I had that opportunity last year, and now this year I do. Now I can go out there and show who I am, and stuff like this happens. It is racing. I will look back at and see what I did wrong and be better next time.”
Toyota Racing PR