Gragson: New Asphalt Makes This Track Smoother And Faster

Noah Gragson

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Overview
 
Event:                          Eaton 200, Race 10 of 23, 160 Laps -35/35/90; 200 Miles
Location:                     Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill. (1.25-mile oval)
Date/Broadcast:        June 23, 2018 at 8:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90
 
What You Need to ‘Noah’bout
  • Coming of an exciting second-place finish at Iowa Speedway in Newton last week, Noah Gragson and the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass team head to Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill., for Saturday’s Eaton 200. Gragson made what he called a “video game” move in the final corner of last week’s race, when he dove to the bottom of the track into Turn 3 and exited Turn 4 ahead of leader Brett Moffitt. Unfortunately, the momentum from the move carried him into the outside wall on the exit of Turn 4 and Moffitt was able to reclaim the lead before they crossed the finish line to bring home the victory.
  • Gragson and his No. 18 team were one of three teams which participated in Goodyear’s two-day tire test at Gateway in April. The test was conducted because the 1.25-mile track was repaved immediately following last year’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) event. The Las Vegas native is hoping the extra track time will help him improve on his result from last year’s race. Despite qualifying seventh, he was forced to start from the rear of the field after his team repaired left-side damage sustained when he got hit by another competitor on pit road during qualifying. He was able to work his way inside the top five late in the race before falling back a few spots in the closing laps and ending the day with a ninth-place finish
  • With his runner-up finish at Iowa, Gragson maintained second place in the NCWTS championship standings. He enters this week’s race 71 tallies behind points leader Johnny Sauter. Gragson has earned 10 playoff points through the first eight races in 2018, including the seven he earned by sweeping all three stages en route to victory from the pole at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City in May. Overall in nine starts this season, he has posted one win, two poles, four top-five and six top-10 finishes. The 19-year-old driver has led at least one lap in eight of the nine races this season and ranks second to Sauter with 283 laps led on the year.
  • Safelite AutoGlass, the nation’s largest provider of vehicle glass repair and replacement services, will adorn the hood of Gragson’s No. 18 Tundra for all 23 events on the NCWTS schedule in 2018
Noah Gragson, Driver Q&A
Noah Gragson Gateway Q&A
Noah Gragson Gateway Q&A
After coming so close to a victory last week are you motivated to get back to the track this week and go for another win?
“Almost getting the win last week was definitely a confidence booster for me — knowing that I’m going to do whatever it takes to get the win. If it means that I’m going to get into the wall just a little bit there on that last lap to be in contention and really put it all on the line, that’s all I can really do as a driver and I hope I make my team proud. I’m very fortunate to have a team that sticks behind me and is proud of me to put it all out there on the line and contend for the win.”
After participating in the Goodyear tire test, do you think that the racing at Gateway will be similar to what it has been in the past?
“With the Goodyear tire test, I was able to go to Gateway for two days and test a few different sets of tires and really learn the new race track. The configuration is the same, but it’s definitely a lot smoother with this new asphalt. I think it will be a little bit more narrower of a racing line, but I think it will be close to the same kind of racing. Three and four will be very sketchy — very one lined — but I think one and two it’ll be pretty close to the same as last year, maybe just a couple feet less wide.”
How does racing on a flat track compare to racing on a track with banking?
“Flat tracks are kind of tough, you really have to have a good handling race vehicle. Especially at Gateway, where its very line sensitive — you don’t have a lot of room to move around, it’s very one laned. I feel like it makes it harder on the driver. It’s going to be tough to pass — that’s for sure. I feel like the banked tracks that are a little bit more wore out it gives you more options to move around — like last weekend at Iowa we can go to the bottom, we can go to the middle, we can go to the top. With Gateway’s asphalt being so new, it’s very single lined and it’s going to be tough to race side by side. Push might come to shove at the end of these races and the bumpers might be caved in — we’ll see.”
 
Noah Gragson Career Highlights
  • In 34 career NCWTS starts has collected two wins, five poles, 470 laps led, eight top-five and 19 top-10 finishes.
  • Recorded two top-five and three top-10 finishes resulting in average finish of 4.3 across three NASCAR Xfinity Series starts for Joe Gibbs Racing this season
  • Finished 10th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) championship standings in 2017 after collecting one win, three poles, 187 laps led, four top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in his rookie campaign. He earned his first NCWTS victory last October at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway outdueling series veterans Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton in the closing laps
  • The NASCAR Next alum also competed in three events for KBM’s Super Late Model team in 2017, highlighted by his triumph in the prestigious ARCA/CRA Super Series Winchester 400 at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway in October
  • The Las Vegas native has collected four NASCAR K&N Pro Series West victories across 27 career starts and two NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victories across 16 career starts 
Noah Gragson’s No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra:
 
KBM-028: The Safelite AutoGlass team will unload KBM-028, for Saturday’s race at Gateway. This will be the first outing for the Tundra in 2018. It has two wins and four runner-up finishes across 10 starts since debuting in the 2015 season. The Toyota’s most recent win came last July at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta with Christopher Bell.
KBM-028 Performance Profile:
Starts
Wins
Average Start
Average Finish
Laps Led
10
2
2.8
4.7
566
KBM Notes of Interest
  • KBM drivers have collected two wins, 265 laps led, three top-five and six top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 13.9 across 12 starts at Gateway.
  • Christopher Bell was victorious at the 1.25-mile track in 2016 and Darrell Wallace Jr., won the 2014 event.
  • The No. 18 team, which last year was the No. 4 team with Christopher Bell, has won five consecutive NCWTS Owner’s titles for KBM and has produced two championship-winning drivers (Erik Jones, 2015 and Christopher Bell, 2017)
  • The No. 18, the number which was on the first Tundra that went to victory lane for KBM in 2010, has 21 career victories
  • KBM holds the NCWTS records for most career wins (67) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). In addition to collecting a series-record six Owner’s Championships, the organization has produced two championship-winning drivers; Erik Jones (2015) and Christopher Bell (2017)
Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 18 Toyota Tundra 2018 NCWTS Box Score:
Date
Site
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
Driver Pts./Pos.
2/16
Daytona
Gragson
5
23
79/100
1
Accident
16/24th
2/24
Atlanta
Gragson
3
2
134/134
43
Running
67/4th
3/2
Las Vegas
Gragson
5
12
134/134
12
Running
107/4th
3/24
Martinsville
Gragson
11
5
250/250
0
Running
146/5th
5/4
Dover
Gragson
1
20
198/210
60
Accident
180/3rd
5/11
Kansas
Gragson
1
1
167/167
128
Running
240/2nd
5/18
Charlotte
Gragson
2
8
134/134
13
Running
270/2nd
6/8
Texas
Gragson
3
10
167/167
19
Running
301/2nd
6/16
Iowa
Gragson
3
2
200/200
7
Running
348/2nd
 TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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