Veteran sportsman and professional drag racer Johnny Gray has invested in a NASCAR program in partnership with stock car driver David Gilliland, it was announced this week. Gray, a successful businessman in the petroleum industry, and Gilliland, a former Cup Series competitor, formed David Gilliland Racing from what was previously known as DGR-Crosley. Gray’s grandsons, Tanner and Taylor Gray, are drivers for the program, along with young female star Hailie Deegan. DGR will compete in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, ARCA Menards Series, and the CARS Late Model Stock Tour with factory support from Ford Performance.
The elder Gray has been racing in various forms of motorport for nearly half a century; he began drag racing in the early 1990s, climbing the ladder from the NHRA’s Competition Eliminator division to Pro Stock and later, the Funny Car category with Don Schumacher Racing. Gray retired in 2013 to support the Pro Stock efforts of his son, Shane, and grandson, Tanner. Tanner went on to win the NHRA Pro Stock title in 2018 before moving on to stock car racing.
Gray’s late sister, Terry Chandler and her husband, Doug, remained involved in NHRA nitro racing after his departure by financially backing the DSR teams of Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson, Jr. before the program culminated at the close of the 2020 season.
“I have been a part of DGR for the past two years with my grandsons, Tanner and Taylor Gray, and I’m impressed with the growth and progress the team has made in such a short amount of time,” said Johnny Gray. “Being able to invest in a growing organization is a great opportunity and I’m looking forward to being a part of helping the drivers reach their full potential.”
“Johnny Gray is an astute businessman and a racer at heart,” said Gilliland. “Having him invest in our team will help us continue to enhance our program and level of competition. We have developed a great relationship with Johnny and his family in past two years and I believe his involvement will really benefit our team and drivers. The name may have changed, but our goal remains the same, which is to win.”
Tanner won a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race in his rookie year in 2019 before moving to the NASCAR Truck Series full-time in 2020.