By: Ashley McCubbin
David Gilliland has put together a solid NASCAR career in his own right, earning four victories through 12 years of NASCAR Cup Series competition. However, perhaps the second chapter is proving to be even more meaningful.
A couple years ago, he took a role on the ownership side of the sport in helping form DGR-Crosley, which now is proving to be a solid development proving ground with the likes of his son Todd Gilliland, Taylor Gray, Tanner Gray, and Haillie Degan under the banner.
“I think it’s bright,” Gilliland told POPULAR SPEED about the future of the sport. “We have some really good talent coming up and some of them – I think Sam Mayer is already going to run some Xfinity stuff next year. I imagine Ty Gibbs will too; I don’t think they have announced anything (yet). But to be part of a series that develops young drivers like that, to take that next step into the Xfinity Series, Truck, Cup Series, that’s something I’m really proud of.
“I came to this series back in 1987 and was old enough to get into the grandstands and I think he missed the race, actually; it was a combination of Winston West and a Cup race. So this place has been tough but to win here (at Phoenix Raceway) is very special. The series is also very special – my dad was champion in it, my son was a multi-time champion in it, and I’ve won races in it. It’s a series that NASCAR and ARCA need and we’re proud to be a part of it.”
Continuing to build their program even stronger, combined with his love for Phoenix Raceway, is why Gilliland elected to run the Arizona Lottery 100 which he ultimately won.
“A lot of these kids have a lot of speed, but they don’t have any experience, so to lean on them to build our program is very difficult so we don’t progress at the rate we want to,” he shared. “That’s why me testing or racing these races helps.”
DGR-Crosley as an organization showed speed across the board this year, whether in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoor Truck Series, or the ARCA Menards Series. Tanner Gray was able to score four top-five’s in his first attempt at the full Truck schedule, while Deegan scored a third-place points finish in ARCA competition with four top-five’s.
The success attended down to the ARCA Menards East and West divisions, with Taylor Gray scoring a pair of top-five’s in five East events, and winning the Kern County west race.
The future also looks bright for the organization, as they have already confirmed Haillie Deegan will run the full Truck Series campaign.
“Haillie is an incredible talent,” Gilliland commented. “As a matter of fact, last year I got to race with her at Gateway and she ran me really hard and did a really good job. She impressed me firsthand right away. I was restarting side-by-side next to her. I think she has what it takes and very honored that they chose our program, DGR-Crosley, and myself to help mentor and develop her program along the way.”
Beyond that, the veteran noted they could possibly have “at least two trucks to potentially four trucks as an organization” for 2021.