DGR-Crosley rebrands to David Gilliland Racing, Gilliland partnering with Johnny Gray
DGR-Crosley has rebranded to David Gilliland Racing for the 2021 racing season. On Tuesday afternoon, the team announced that team owner Gilliland has joined forces with Johnny Gray to create DGR, which was the team’s name prior to the involvement of Bo LeMastus and the Crosley brand. The team will continue racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, ARCA Menards Series, and CARS Late Model Tour.
Gilliland, a NASCAR veteran who raced in the Cup Series from 2006 to 2018, formed DGR in 2017 with plans to compete in the Truck Series and regional levels of stock car racing. LeMastus, CEO of Crosley Brands and an ARCA driver, partnered with Gilliland in 2018 to create DGR-Crosley from the remnants of Red Horse Racing. Besides operating a Truck program for the first time, the 2018 season saw DGR win the K&N Pro Series East (now ARCA Menards Series East) championship with Tyler Ankrum. At the Truck level, the team’s #54 Toyota was driven by a variety of drivers with LeMastus running the most at nine.
The team unveiled a second truck in 2019, the #17 for Ankrum, alongside the #54 for mainly Natalie Decker. Ankrum scored a win at Kentucky and finished eighth in points with rookie of the Year honours before departing for GMS Racing in 2020.
The 2020 season would see DGR-Crosley switch from Toyota to Ford power as Gray’s grandson Tanner ran the full schedule in the #15, finishing fourteenth in points. DGR-Crosley also fielded the #17 on a part-time basis for Gilliland’s former Cup team-mate David Ragan, Dylan Lupton, and Hailie Deegan. In ARCA, Deegan finished third in points for the team while their second car was filled by Tanner, his younger brother Taylor, Lupton, and Anthony Alfredo.
The Gray brothers and their grandfather hail from a successful lineage in drag racing. Before making the jump to stock cars, Tanner became the youngest NHRA champion when he won the 2018 Pro Stock title at the age of 17. The brothers’ father Shane and Johnny have also enjoyed much success in NHRA.
“I have been a part of DGR for the past two years with my grandsons, Tanner and Taylor Gray, and I’m impressed with the growth and progress the team has made in such a short amount of time,” Gray said. “Being able to invest in a growing organization is a great opportunity and I’m looking forward to being a part of helping the drivers reach their full potential.”
“Johnny Gray is an astute businessman and a racer at heart,” Gilliland commented. “Having him invest in our team will help us continue to enhance our program and level of competition. We have developed a great relationship with Johnny and his family in past two years and I believe his involvement will really benefit our team and drivers. The name may have changed, but our goal remains the same, which is to win.”
While no longer an owner, LeMastus will remain involved as a sponsor.
“The first day I met David I knew he was my true partner in racing,” LeMastus stated. “Now it’s time to transition back to where I began in marketing and step out of the owner role. I know our partnership on the marketing side will be just as strong and I look forward to many more years with David and the team.”
Gilliland and his son Todd, who races for fellow Ford Truck team Front Row Motorsports, have also made starts for DGR. David won the 2020 ARCA Menards Series West season finale at Phoenix with the team.
“I also have to thank Bo LeMastus for all of his support throughout the years,” added Gilliland. “I’m happy he is still going to be a big part of the team on the marketing side continuing our Crosley Brands relationship. He has been a great business partner and an even better friend.”
While Tanner Gray has not announced his 2021 plans, his grandfather’s increased involvement makes it all but certain that he will return to the #15 for a second season. Deegan is set for her Truck rookie campaign in the #4 Ford.