General Tire 125: Taylor Gray takes victory in ARCA Menards Series East race

Taylor Gray grabbed the momentum his race team was seeking in a big way Friday at Dover Motor Speedway.

And his reward was a new Monster Trophy to display.

Gray led 115 of 125 laps and cruised to his first victory at the Monster Mile with a victory in the General Tire 125 ARCA Menards Series East race.

It was the first ARCA Menards Series East victory of the year for Gray, 17, a New Mexico native, who has also made two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts this year.

GENERAL TIRE 125 RESULTS

Gray has top-three finishes in all three AMSE races so far in 2022 but Friday marked his first trip to Victory Lane.

“Hard work has paid off, finally,” Gray said. “We’ll take this momentum and go to Nashville [next race in series is May 7] and see what we can do.

“We’ve been working hard and making gains.”

Gray, driving the No. 17 Ford for David Gilliland Racing, topped second-place Jesse Love by 1.456 seconds at the checkered flag, with Conner Jones in third and Rajah Caruth in fourth.

Sammy Smith, who entered Friday as the ARCA Menards Series points leader after winning the season’s first two races, finished fifth.

Gray, who earned the pole position with a track record lap of 160.915 mph earlier on Friday.

And after capping a long day at Dover with a big victory, Gray already has a place in mind to keep his newly-won Monster Trophy.

“It’s a super cool trophy, probably one of my favorite trophies on the circuit,” Gray said. “It’s probably going to go right in my living room.”