The K&N Pro Series East garage has been operating with heavy hearts as of late.
Derek Black, a DGR-Crosley tire specialist for the team across their K&N Pro Series, ARCA Menard’s Series and Gander Outdoors Truck Series teams, fell severely ill on May 30 and remains in critical condition.
It’s a tough day for DGR-Crosley as we travel to @RaceMIR a man down after a beloved teammate fell severely ill yesterday.
We appreciate everyone’s concern and outpouring of support. Please respect the privacy of family as we all continue to pray for a full recovery. pic.twitter.com/Jye1Bnk4Wu
— DGR-Crosley (@DGR_Crosley) May 31, 2019
“If you know D2 or have ever been around him, you know why he’s so special to us,” team owner David Gilliland said. “He has a big heart and is always pleasant to be around. He’s the guy you want representing your team; works hard, great attitude and always eager to get to the next race track.”
The vibe at the race shop has been noticeably different with D2’s absence. The team has participated in a K&N East race in Memphis, an ARCA race at Michigan as well as a Gander Outdoors Truck Series race in Texas.
“Derek is definitely missed in the shop,” Gilliland said. “He has a passion for his job and motorsports like no other. We think of him all day and are texting his family until we can get off work to go see him. I think if anything, it’s made us dig deeper and become even closer. This group that we have assembled here, we are family. We spend more time together than what we do with our actual families at home, so when one of us is down, we are all in the fight together.”
Each DGR vehicle, as well as a handful of other teams’, have been sporting “Get Well Soon D2” stickers in support of Black and his family.
“The past two weeks, I’ve had two different drivers get out of the race car with tears in their eyes because they wanted to win so bad for Derek,” Gilliland said. “We are all digging deeper and working harder for him.”
Motor Racing Outreach has set up a fundraiser, all the proceeds of which will go towards aiding in D2’s recovery.
We appreciate the kind gestures for our teammate Derek Black. He remains in critical condition & has a long road ahead of him with a lot of unknowns. @FollowMRO set up a fund that will assist him in the days ahead.https://t.co/il73d9xx7M (Put “Derek Black Fund” in the notes) pic.twitter.com/VRPLjSsja3
— DGR-Crosley (@DGR_Crosley) June 11, 2019
“Derek, his family and friends are all being so strong through all of this,” Gilliland said. “We’re in this together and his DGR-Crosley family will continue to pray for a full recovery and help his healing in any way that we can. We are ready for him to be back at the shop and racetrack with us. We miss him.”
The next K&N Pro Series East event, the United Site Services 70, will take place at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 20.