By Christian Koelle, Staff Writer
There were very few drivers who were able to stand up to Ty Gibbs in 2021.
Taylor Gray was one of those and on Saturday, he just about had another victory. He landed just one spot shy though.
Gray tallied a solid third-place qualifying effort prior to Saturday’s Arizona Lottery 100 at Phoenix. He bettered his starting spot from the spring race which put him in position to challenge Gibbs early. The No. 71 started from third but didn’t stand there long as he moved into second before the first lap.
He was able to stay in second staying quiet and holding his own as he looked to chase down Gibbs and his fast No. 18.
Gray brought his car down pit road during the halfway break to make some changes to the car along with throwing four fresh General Tires and some Sunoco fuel as he looked to gain what he needed to challenge Gibbs during the second half of the race.
During that second half, Gray battled hard with Gibbs running side-by-side with him for multiple laps but just couldn’t finish the job with the yellow flag hindering his opportunity for success. When the final yellow flew at lap 66, Gray tried for one last chance to take the lead but failed to do so.
Gray had to hold off Gibbs’ teammate Sammy Smith as he’s had to do a good chunk of the season but was able to successfully do so as he earned a second-place finish.
In five ARCA Menards Series West starts in 2021, Gray tallied two victories, three top-fives, and four top-10 finishes. Despite not running the entire 2021 ARCA Menards Series West schedule, Gray finishes 12th in the West Series standings one spot better than his 2020 standings finish.
Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography