Saturday, April 1, 2023

Taylor Gray Endures Overtime Restart, Captures Emotional Victory at Phoenix in Memory of Steven Stotts

PC: David Gilliland Racing | Twitter

At this point, there isn’t an author that could put together a story more meant-to-be.

Taylor Gray, driving the No. 17 Ford Fusion for David Gilliland Racing, captured the victory in Friday’s General Tire 150 at Phoenix Raceway, holding off Daniel Dye, Sammy Smith, and Rajah Caruth on an overtime restart.

Friday’s triumph, the first for Gray in ARCA’s National Division, was an emotional one, coming just three days after the passing of the team’s hauler driver, Steven Stotts, after the team’s transporter was involved in a fatal accident en route to Phoenix Raceway.

After Tuesday’s tragic events, the organization returned to the shop to retrieve another vehicle, loading it onto a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series hauler and commuting to Phoenix, Arizona, where they’d race – and win — in honor of Stotts, while carrying a special decal on the B-post.

David Gilliland Racing carries a decal on the B-post of Taylor Gray’s No. 17 Ford Fusion in Friday’s General Tire 150 at Phoenix Raceway, in honor of Steven Stotts, who passed away three days prior in a fatal accident en route to the track. PC: David Gilliland Racing

“Yeah, it felt like they didn’t want me to win tonight,” Gray told Mike Massaro in a post-race interview on MAVTV. “All those guys are really tough to beat, and we had a really good racecar tonight.”

“The reason we’re here today is because of Steven [Stotts], Michael [Mizzelle], and John [Zaveri],” Gray continued. “I don’t know why we’d be here if we didn’t think they’d want us to be here, and this is all for them.

“This is just for Steven. I feel like he looked over me today and helped me get this win. Man, I’m holding on trying not to cry right now. It’s for those three guys. I love those guys like they’re my brothers. I love them to death.”

Taylor Gray carries the names of the three David Gilliland Racing crew members involved in Tuesday’s accident on the namerail of his No. 17 Ford Fusion. PC: David Gilliland Racing.

Gray started the race from second place, behind race-dominator Sammy Smith, the driver with which the No. 17 would be entrenched in a battle throughout the duration of the event. Smith would lead a race-high 78 laps, while Gray would lead 43 laps.

The other driver to pace the field in Friday’s 150-lap event, was Daniel Dye, who led a total of 32 laps late in the event, only to lose the lead – and the victory — when he chose the outside lane on a late-race restart.

Losing the lead on the second-to-last restart, Dye would finish in the runner-up position, further cementing his grasp on the ARCA Menards Series points lead amongst drivers competing for the title.

Sammy Smith recorded a third-place finish, with Rajah Caruth and ARCA Menards Series West title contender Jake Drew rounded out the top-five. Jesse Love, Nick Sanchez, Josh Berry, Derek Kraus, and Connor Mosack rounded out the top-10.

Running full-time in the ARCA Menards Series this season, Toni Breidinger finished 15th, Amber Balcean finished 30th, and Brad Smith finished 34th. Those three drivers leave Phoenix fourth, ninth, and 38th in point standings, respectively.

2022 ARCA Menards Series / ARCA West General Tire 150 at Phoenix Raceway:

PosCarDriverSponsorMakeLapsDiffBest LapStatus
117Taylor GrayFord PerformanceFord154---27.664Running
243Daniel DyeGMS RacingChevrolet154-0.34427.824Running
318Sammy SmithTMCToyota154-0.98727.626Running
461Rajah CaruthMax Siegel Inc.Chevrolet154-1.09828.235Running
56Jake DrewSunrise RacingFord154-1.47428.326Running
620Jesse LoveCrescent ToolsToyota154-1.55827.923Running
72Nick SanchezUniversal Technical InstituteChevrolet154-1.69127.878Running
817WJosh BerryMMIChevrolet154-1.97428.209Running
919Derek KrausNAPA AutoCareChevrolet154-2.12128.413Running
1023Connor MosackNic TaylorChevrolet154-2.68228.148Running
1199Cole MooreBBB IndustriesChevrolet154-2.76928.646Running
1213Todd SouzaCentral Coast CabinetsFord154-2.88028.522Running
1354Joey IestRichwood Meats / Basila FarmsFord154-3.34428.645Running
1416Austin HerzogNAPA Auto PartsChevrolet154-3.54328.818Running
1525Toni BreidingerHairclubToyota154-3.85128.490Running
169Tanner ReifVegas Fastener ManufacturingFord154-4.70328.683Running
1733Paul Pedroncelli JrSelect Mobile BottlersToyota153-1L28.715Running
187Takuma KogaRise UpToyota151-3L29.154Running
1986Tim SpurgeonDavids Racing Products / NascimentoToyota150-4L29.111Running
2015Parker ChaseVertical BridgeToyota147-7L28.433Running
2103Alex ClubbFlowers with Jazz & Jane MartinFord145-9L31.647Running
2285Ryan RouletteBellator Recruiting AcademyToyota144-10L30.627Running
2388Bridget BurgessHMH ConstructionChevrolet142-12L29.997Running
2412D.L. WilsonLeggott Trailers of WacoChevrolet133-21L29.266Running
254Sebastian AriasRubbermaid Commercial Prod / Brady IFSToyota126-28L29.839Running
2627Bobby Hillis JrFirst Impression PressChevrolet124-30L31.201Running
2742Christian RoseVisit VWToyota109-45L28.595Out
2811Bryce HaugebergMagnum ContractingToyota89-65L30.205Out
2910Zachary TinkleWayne Peterson Racing / Fast TrackToyota81-73L29.420Out
3030Amber BalcaenIconFord56-98L29.386Out
3121Chris LowdenStoney's Roadhouse / Blue Valor WhiskeyFord54-100L31.027Out
3270Kyle KellerThird3ye / Eros Environmental / Battle BornChevrolet45-109L29.132Out
3301Tim MonroeFast Track High Performance DrivingChevrolet42-112L30.657Out
3448Brad SmithPSSTChevrolet35-119L32.508Out
3539Andrew TuttleGearhead CoffeeChevrolet26-128L31.025Out
3635Greg Van AlstCB FabricatingFord11-143L28.805Out
3707Brian KaltreiderMystic MotorsportsFord2-152L37.224Out
3831Paul PedroncelliRancho Victoria WeddingsChevrolet1-153L37.161Out
3966Eric RheadJones RacingChevrolet0-154L0Out

2022 ARCA Menards Series Point Standings:

2022 ARCA Menards Series Driver Standings

Joseph Srigley
Joseph Srigley
University of Windsor | Business Administration - Supply Chain & Data Analytics Editor at

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