Gragson Is Going Full Offensive Mode At Phoenix

Noah Gragson

 
Event:                         Lucas Oil 150, Race 22 of 23, 150 Laps – 45/45/60; 150 Miles
Location:                    ISM Raceway in Avondale, Ariz. (one-mile oval)
Date/Broadcast:         Nov. 9, 2018 at 8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90
What You Need to ‘Noah’bout
  • Noah Gragson and the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass team head into Friday night’s elimination race for the Round of 6 at ISM Raceway sitting in the fourth and final spot on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Playoff grid, 18 points above the cutoff line for advancing to the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway. Gragson was 11 points above the cutoff line when the Round of 6 began at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, but has slightly increased his margin by finishing seventh at Martinsville and 10th at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth while collecting 24 stage points between the two events.
  • Johnny Sauter and Justin Haley have secured their spots in the Championship 4 via wins at Martinsville and Texas, respectively, while Brett Moffitt (+22), Gragson (+18), Grant Enfinger (-18) and Matt Crafton (-23) will be vying for the final two spots on Friday night.
  • Gragson will be competing at ISM Raceway for the third time in his Truck Series career. The Las Vegas native led 55 laps in last year’s race and was battling side-by-side with Kyle Busch Motorsports’ (KBM) teammate Christopher Bell for the victory with eight laps remaining when his truck got aero loose and ended up crashing hard into the outside wall. The damage put an end to his race and relegated him to a 15th-place finish. He qualified 14th and finished 16th in his NCWTS debut at the one-mile oval in 2016.
  • KBM has produced five victories with four different drivers in eight seasons competing at the Arizona track. Kyle Busch won in 2011, Brian Scott in 2012, Erik Jones went back-to-back in 2013-2014 and Daniel Suarez claimed the top spot in 2016. Rudy Fugle, Gragson’s crew chief, visited victory lane with Jones in the 2013 race and in four races (2013, 2015-2017) as a crew chief for KBM at the one-mile oval his drivers have led 65.3% (392/600) of the total laps.
  • Gragson leads the NCWTS in stage wins (10), poles (five), average starting position (4.9) and average mid-race position (6.3). He ranks second to Sauter in laps led (548), fastest laps run (275) and driver rating (106.3). The 20-year-old driver finished second in the NCWTS regular season standings after posting one win, six top-five and 12 top-10 finishes across his 15 starts.
  • 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 | Phoenix Q&A
Noah Gragson | ISM Raceway Q&A

 

 
Sitting 18 points above the cutoff line heading into this elimination race will you be playing offense or defense?
“I’m going full offense mode — I’m going to Phoenix to win the race. We ran really good there last year with Marcus Richmond and the team at Kyle Busch Motorsports. Myself and Christopher Bell, two teammates, we led I think all but 10 laps of that race, so I feel really confident in the way that I’ll be able to work with my Toyota Tundra out in Phoenix. It’s going to be a really good race track for my team and I feel really comfortable about it.”
 
How will the changes they made at ISM affect this year’s race?
“I guess it is kind of the same track with a different configuration — with the start-finish line. I don’t know if you’re going to be able to change your lap time — in theory you shouldn’t. Coming off the corner you might be able to change it up a little in the old turn one –new turns three and four. It’ll be a little bit different — that’s for sure. Restarts are going to be sketchy — that’s for sure, but I feel like if we can stay up front in my Safelite AutoGlass Tundra it’ll be no problem. Just feel really confident going into this weekend and hopefully we can pick up that win and move on to Homestead. Then it’s all hammer down from there.”
 
Noah Gragson Career Highlights
  • In 45 career NCWTS starts has collected two wins, eight poles, 735 laps led, 10 top-five and 28 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 17 career starts. 
Noah Gragson’s No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra:
 
KBM-38: The Safelite AutoGlass team will unload KBM-38 for Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150 at ISM Raceway. The Tundra nicknamed “38 Special” has won five times in 11 career starts and has an average finish of 3.9. It is the same Tundra that Gragson captured the pole, led 128 laps and won all three stages with at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City in May. The Toyota most recently raced at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway in September, where Gragson captured the pole and led the first 33 laps of the race before being relegated to an 18th-place finish after developing a tire rub late in the race.
KBM-38 Performance Profile:
Starts
Wins
Average Start
Average Finish
Laps Led
11
5
7.1
3.9
500
KBM Notes of Interest
  • KBM drivers have collected five wins, four poles, 787 laps led, seven top-five and 13 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 10.8 across 20 starts at ISM Raceway.
  • The organization’s five victories at the Arizona track have come with four different drivers. Kyle Busch won in 2011, Brian Scott in 2012, Erik Jones went back-to-back in 2013-2014 and Daniel Suarez claimed the top spot in 2016
  • 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 (68) 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
6/23
Gateway
Gragson
3
10
160/160
63
Running
391/2nd
6/29
Chicago
Gragson
1
4
150/150
42
Running
443/2nd
7/12
Kentucky
Gragson
1
8
150/150
62
Running
491/2nd
7/18
Eldora
Gragson
27
6
153/153
0
Running
522/2nd
7/28
Pocono
Erik Jones
31
2
60/60
1
Running
522/2nd
8/11
Michigan
Gragson
3
4
100/100
18
Running
569/2nd
8/15
Bristol
Gragson
7
9
200/200
7
Running
599/2nd
8/26
Canadian Tire
Gragson
2
9
65/65
35
Running
2070/3rd
9/14
Las Vegas
Gragson
1
18
143/144
33
Running
2107/2nd
10/13
Talladega
Gragson
13
13
93/94
3
Running
2137/3rd
10/27
Martinsville
Gragson
3
7
200/200
0
Running
3073/2nd
11/2
Texas
Gragson
2
10
147/147
2
Running
3105/4th
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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