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Tanner Gray is hoping to score his first career asphalt victory in Saturday night’s Pro Late Model race at Southern National Motorsports Park.

Gray, 17, originally from Artesia, New Mexico, has made a handful of starts in Pro Late Models and Super Late Models driving for LFR Chassis.  Those starts include races at the World Series of Asphalt at New Smyrna Speedway, Pro All Stars Series (PASS) races at Dillon Motor Speedway and Hickory Motor Speedway and a Championship Auto Racing Series (CARS) Super Late Model race at Orange County Speedway.

His main goal, however, is winning the “Scott Farm Sweet Potato 7 Series”, which is the Pro Late Model championship series at Southern National Motorsports Park.  Gray finished second to Matt Craig in the first Pro Late Model race held at the 4/10-mile track in Lucama, North Carolina last month.

“We really had a strong car last time and threw it away with driver error,” Gray said.  “If everything goes right this weekend, I think I should be the guy to beat.”

Gray is the son of National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Pro Stock driver Shane Gray.  Tanner Gray got his start racing dirt bikes in New Mexico before getting away from two wheels and racing on four.  He raced dirt sprint cars out west before relocating to Mooresville, North Carolina and making the transition to asphalt.

“I’ve grown up around racing,” Gray commented.  “My dad raced Modifieds on dirt and then switched over to drag racing.  I just grew up around the racetracks.  I used to race dirt bikes but my brother got hurt racing bikes so we quit bikes and got into Sprint Cars.”

On dirt, Gray has scored victories in races at Millbridge Speedway, a dirt kart circuit near Salisbury which operates on Wednesday nights.  Hoping to make something of his racing career, he’s now seeking his first victory on asphalt.  He did not expect to even be in contention for wins this early in the season and in his asphalt career, but now he finds himself already knocking on the door of that first victory.

“The goal for this year was to run top-five toward the end of the season,” Gray remarked.  “To get a win would be huge would be a lot better than what we were expecting.  We just wanted to run toward the front by the end of the year.  To get one this early on would be pretty cool.  That would be awesome.”

Gray will be making his second start in the Scott Farm Sweet Potato 7 Series on Saturday night at Southern National Motorsports Park.  Saturday night’s 100 lap race comes one week before the CARS Tour returns to Southern National Motorsports Park for the second and final time this season and could attract several other Super Late Model teams hoping for some valuable track time in race conditions.

Marquis comes from St. Charles, Maryland and has a widespread background in journalism, having covered politics in Washington and Maryland as well as nearly every form of auto racing, including NASCAR, IndyCar, AMA Motocross and IHRA Drag Racing. Now living near Emerald Isle, North Carolina, Marquis covers Late Model Stock Cars and Super Late Models in the Carolinas and Virginia.

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