SOUTH BOSTON, Va. — Tanner Gray wasn’t leaving South Boston without a trophy.
He made sure of it in race No. 1 of the WhosYourDriver.org Twin 100s, as he nudged Bristol winner Sam Mayer out of the way in overtime to win his first career K&N Pro Series race.
In race No. 2 on the date of his first career series start, Nick Sanchez led the field to green by virtue of his quick lap in race No. 1. He led the first 18 laps after Gray was black flagged for jumping the initial start. Then, unfortunately, the rain came.
And it stayed, forcing the postponement of the remainder of the second WhosYourDriver.org Twin 100 to Sunday.
For Gray, though, getting that inital checkered flag in NASCAR was the thing. The 2018 NHRA Pro Stock Champion has already shown to be a quick study to stock cars and oval tracks.
“It feels really good to get that first win,” Gray said, exhausted after the first twin 100. “I tried to screw it up throughout the race the whole time. I just kept getting loose, chasing it up the race track and made some adjustments there under caution before the green/white/checkered.”
The overtime finish didn’t disappoint, as Gray and eventual second-place finisher Sam Mayer were beating and banging around the entire track.
“We took off and I was hoping I could get a little better jump, hold him tight down there to the bottom,” the DGR-Crosley driver said. “But I missed it a little bit. Tried to follow behind him and got into him, and in (Turn) 3 just moved him, got underneath him, side-by-side going on the frontstretch. After that I’m not too sure what happened to him.”
Gray had come up just .030 seconds short on March 30 at California’s Irwindale Speedway, losing out on a drag race off Turn 4 to Trevor Huddleston. This time, it was Gray who was .32 seconds faster than the runner-up.
Following Gray and Mayer across the finish line was another rookie, Max McLaughlin, in third. Spencer Davis and Ruben Garcia Jr. where fourth and fifth, respectively.
Colin Garrett, Travis Milburn, Chase Cabre, Derek Kraus and Hailie Deegan rounded out the top 10.
The field for the second twin 100 was set by fastest lap time per driver in the first 100. That allowed Sanchez, who was 14th in his series’ debut, to assume the point alongside — albeit temporarily — Gray.
Twin No. 1 will be broadcast Wednesday, May 8 at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Twin No. 2 will be streamed live on FansChoice.TV on Sunday and air on NBCSN on Thursday, May 9 at 6 p.m.
-NASCAR Press Release
-Photo credit: Matthew Thacker/Nigel Kinrade Photography