The Truck Series team provided the update to Jayski’s Dustin Albino and confirmed that part-time driver Taylor Gray will return to the No. 17 Ford F-150 and will run approximately eight or nine races. He will join his brother, Tanner Gray, who has already agreed to return to DGR in 2022 on a full-time schedule.
“[Taylor] did a really good job last year, so we’re excited to follow up with the progression with him,” team owner David Gilliland told Jayski. “That truck will be the [No.] 17 truck, and it’s going to run full time also. The rest will be filled in with some different drivers, possibly some Cup drivers. We’re finalizing all of that right now and excited about it.”
Gilliland relied on several drivers to round out the No. 17’s schedule in 2021. This list included Kevin Harvick, Riley Herbst, Bill Lester, Donny Schatz, and Ryan Preece. Gilliland also made three starts of his own.
Tanner & Hailie Deegan Both Ran Full Schedules in 2022
While several drivers alternated starts in the No. 17 Ford, both Tanner and Deegan ran full schedules in their respective trucks. Tanner finished his second full-time season with two top-10 finishes and one top-five — a third-place run at Martinsville — while driving the No. 15 Ford.
Tanner will now return to the No. 15 while working with a new crew chief. DGR announced on November 11 that veteran crew chief Jerry Baxter would move back to the Truck Series after spending two seasons with Richard Petty Motorsports.
Deegan made her rookie debut during the 2021 season. She ran a full schedule in the No. 1 Ford F-150 for DGR and finished with one top-10 finish — a seventh-place run at World Wide Technology Raceway. Deegan finished her rookie season 17th in points, one spot ahead of Tanner.
Deegan’s Contract Remains a Focus Heading Toward 2022
DGR has confirmed that both Grays will return to the team for the 2022 season, but the organization has not officially announced that Deegan will be back in the No. 1. The expectation is that she will return to the organization for another full-time season, and Gilliland expressed this opinion to Jayski.
The Truck Series team owner said that “We’re right at the finish line with that deal” in reference to Deegan’s return. He explained that there are still some details to work out before making the announcement but that “everything is looking good” for her return.
If Deegan returns as expected, she will gain more experience at the various tracks with the return of practice and qualifying sessions. She will also strive to secure the first win of her career after expressing the opinion that she still has “a lot more to accomplish” before she refers to herself as a successful driver.
“I would say that I’ve had successful moments, I’m not to where I want to be yet,” Deegan told fellow Truck Series driver Tyler Ankrum during the October 21 episode of “Pasture Thoughts” on YouTube. “I still have a lot more to accomplish. I’m very goal-driven. When I have a goal in my mind, everything I do is to accomplish that. It’s something that I take into my career and what I do every single day.”
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