DOVER, Del. — In Friday’s General Tire 125 in the ARCA Menards Series East, Taylor Gray made history. Not only did he lead 115 of 125 laps en route to victory — he did so with a new Ford body type.
For the first time in ARCA competition, Ford used a Mustang body style instead of a Fusion. Since the NASCAR Cup Series is now in the Next Gen era, old Cup chassis have been bought by some ARCA teams. Ford is the first to make the switch to new chassis and other manufacturers are expected to follow suit. Per MRN, Gray’s chassis was formerly owned by Stewart-Haas Racing.
“It overall just drives better,” Gray said. “Ford did a really good job. It’s basically an old Cup car with the body. Obviously, differences to fit the ARCA rulebook, but Ford did a really good job of making those changes.”
Gray qualified on the pole in a 75-minute combined practice and qualifying session Friday afternoon. He led the first 30 laps of the race, but on a restart, he lost the lead to Jesse Love.
10 laps later, Gray passed Love back and led for the rest of the race.
“Overall, we could just carry more speed throughout the corner,” Gray said. “Being consistent on the bottom and Chad Johnston making on the box [with] the track changing was really good. I feel like we made better changes than anyone else. We had a better racecar than anyone else all day.”
Gray’s victory is his second overall at the ARCA level and his first in East. He’s now two points behind Sammy Smith, who finished fifth, with four races remaining.
“In racing, momentum is a big part of it,” Gray said. “Going to a different race track off of a high has been really good… It helps a lot. We just have to keep working hard [and] keep our heads down.”
The ARCA Menards Series East returns Saturday, May 7 at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.