Noah Gragson Wants A Rock Solid Finish In The Granite State

Noah Gragson

Although Noah Gragson did not make the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs in his rookie season, there is still a lot for him to accomplish in the final seven races of 2017. He is still searching for that elusive first win, and he and the Switch team feel it is in the near future.

The Las Vegas native has one prior start at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) in Loudon. He competed in last year’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race. Although his 11th-place finish is not what he wanted, the track time gave him some much-needed experience at the flat track known as the “Magic Mile.” However, this time will be different since he’ll be driving a Tundra and the track won’t be the same as it was with the application of VHT (also known as PJ1 – a custom formulated resin to provide extra traction). With two hours of practice on Friday, Gragson and all the competitors will have to quickly adapt to the new characteristics of the track.

Coming off his 11th top-10 finish of the season last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., Gragson heads to NHMS with a proven winning Tundra. He finished ninth with this Switch Tundra at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill., and his KBM teammate, Christopher Bell, won with it at Gateway in 2016, along with a second-place finish in last year’s New Hampshire race. In eight starts since 2015, this truck has one win and has led 116 laps.

 KMB teams also have a strong record at NHMS collecting three wins, three poles, 575 laps led, five top-five and eight top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 7.1 across 11 starts in the Granite State. Owner-driver Kyle Busch collected two of his organization’s wins in 2010 and 2011, while William Byron captured KBM’s third win last year. All three wins were in dominant fashion from the pole position and led at least 89 percent of the laps.

Gragson is looking to be a playoff spoiler this weekend at New Hampshire with a trip to Victory Lane and a celebration with some melted butter and a big lobster.

Noah Gragson, Driver of the No. 18 NCWTS Switch Tundra:

Is New Hampshire a track you feel suits your driving style?

“Even though I raced there last year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race, I don’t really know what to expect with the VHT on it this time. It will be a completely different race track. I’m not sure what I learned there in the past will apply this weekend. Although with some of the progressive banking, it gives you options to move around.”

Now that the playoffs have been determined, can you focus less on points and more on just winning?

“I’m mainly going to focus on having fun. I think I’ll run better if I’m having fun while I’m racing. I put a lot of pressure on myself to win a race and get into the playoffs and now that pressure is behind me. I still have pressure to win, but it’s different not necessarily worrying about stage points to help you in the playoffs. For the rest of the season I’m going to keep learning and appreciating the opportunity I have, and hopefully that win will come.”

You released your first rap video this week. How did that come about?

“Well it was a pretty low-budget production filmed on a cell phone at Kyle Busch Motorsports. I am determined to win the NASCAR Most Popular Driver award in the Truck Series, so I decided to write my own rap song to convince people to vote for me. After our competition meeting on Monday morning, I wrote it in about an hour, found a good beat I could rap to and had a cameo appearance by Todd Gilliland wearing the shark head I wore in Bristol. I might pitch it to some of my friends in Vegas to see I have a future in rapping, but I’m pretty sure I need to stick to racing!” Noah Gragson MPD video

Marcus Richmond, Crew Chief of the No. 18 NCWTS Switch Tundra:

How will the racing change this weekend with the application of the VHT on the track?

“I think it’s going to be a wild card for all of us. We’ve gone back and watched the XFINITY race from a few months ago to see how that played out. Todd Gilliland will be racing with us this weekend in the No. 51 Tundra and he won the K&N race in July on it, so he can give Noah a few pointers based on what he felt. I think the biggest thing will still be having good track position and everything will take care of itself.”

Noah Gragson’s No. 18 Switch Tundra:

KBM-025: The No. 18 Switch team will race KBM-025, for Saturday’s UNOH 175. Gragson was ninth at Gateway with this Tundra this year, while Christopher Bell won at Gateway and was second at New Hampshire with it in 2016

KBM-25 Performance Profile

Starts

Wins

Average Start

Average Finish

Laps Led

 8

1

6.9

5.6

116

 

Notes of Interest:

Noah Gragson 2017:

  • Earned his best NCWTS finish at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ont., when he finished second on 9/3

  • Earned his first top-five finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series by finishing fourth at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in April. He also finished fifth at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta in July

  • Won first career NCWTS pole at Texas Motor Speedway on 6/9 and second at Iowa Speedway on 6/23

  • Has posted three top-five and 11-top 10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 11.2 across 16 NCWTS starts this season

  • Competed in the ARCA Racing Series at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc., and Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., earning one top-five and two top-10 finishes

Noah Gragson 2016:

  • Made first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway in November where he completed all the laps to finish 16th. Finished 15th the following week at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway

  • Returned to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West where he earned two wins, eight top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in 14 starts to finish third in the driver point standings

  • Competed in 13 of 14 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races claiming two wins, four top-five and six top-10 finishes

Noah Gragson 2015

  • Finished second in the final NASCAR K&N Pro Series West driver point standings as a rookie after posting two wins, one pole, seven top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in 13 starts

  • Claimed his first victory at Tucson (Ariz.) Speedway battling with his teammate for the win

  • Recorded first career pole and led 176 laps to win at Meridian Speedway in Meridian, Idaho

Noah Gragson 2014

  • Started racing Bandoleros at The Bullring at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway

  • Moved up to compete in Late Models

  • Competed in the INEX Legends car racing series, winning the 2014 Young Lion Road Course championship

 Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 18 Tundra:

  • The No. 18 team is currently 13th in owner points and 11th in driver points after collecting three top-five and 11 top-10 finishes this season

  • Five members of this year’s No. 18 Tundra team were a part of last year’s No. 4 Tundra team which collected one win, 197 laps led, nine top-five and 17 top-10 finishes across 23 starts and made the inaugural Championship Four in the Chase

KBM NCWTS Program

  • Holds the NCWTS records for most career wins (63), most wins in a single season (14 in 2014) and most Owner’s championships (five)

  • Erik Jones earned the organization its first-ever NCWTS Driver’s championship in 2015

  • Has collected 63 wins, 34 poles, 149 top-five and 242 top-10 finishes across 399 starts since originating in 2010

  • Nine different drivers have won a race for KBM, led by owner-driver Kyle Busch with 33. Erik Jones and William Byron each collected seven victories, Christopher Bell has earned six triumphs, Darrell Wallace Jr., has five wins, Denny Hamlin has produced two victories while Daniel Suarez, Kasey Kahne and Brian Scott each collected one trophy

  • With Bell’s victory at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway KBM has at least one win at all 21 tracks on the 2017 NCWTS schedule

KBM NCWTS @ New Hampshire Motor Speedway

  • KBM drivers have collected three wins, three poles, 575 laps led, five top-five and eight top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 7.1 across 11 starts in the Granite State

  • Owner-driver Kyle Busch collected two of his organization’s wins at “The Magic Mile” in 2010 and 2011. William Byron captured KBM’s third win last year. All three wins were in dominant fashion from the pole position and led at least 89 percent of the laps

Richmond’s Record:

Entering the 2017 season, Marcus Richmond had collected nine wins, 11 poles, 52 top-five and 107 top-10 finishes across 222 races in his 11 seasons as a crew chief in the Truck Series. The veteran crew chief has been to victory lane with five different drivers (Ty Dillon, Kevin Harvick, Timothy Peters, Johnny Sauter and Dennis Setzer) and has recorded at least one win every year since 2012. The North Carolina native’s drivers have finished inside the top five in the Truck Series championship standings four times in the last five seasons, including a runner-up finish in the standings with Ty Dillon in 2012. His most recent stop was at JR Motorsports last season, where he guided Cole Custer to two poles, four top-five and 12 top-10 finishes over the last 16 races of 2016. Richmond joined KBM in December 2016 to coach rookie Noah Gragson in 2017.

Richmond has two top-five and four top-10 finishes in nine starts as a NCWTS crew chief at Loudon. His teams’ best finish was fourth in 2015 with driver Timothy Peters.

 

Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 18 Switch Toyota Tundra 2017 NCWTS Box Score:

Date

Site

Driver

Start

Finish

Laps

Laps Led

Status

Driver Pts./Pos.

2/24

Daytona

Gragson

12

26

1/100

0

Accident

11/22nd

3/4

Atlanta

Gragson

10

14

130/130

0

Running

34/17th

4/1

Martinsville

Gragson

9

4

250/250

0

Running

70/11th

5/12

Kansas

Gragson

4

28

68/167

0

Clutch

79/13th

5/19

Charlotte

Gragson

15

9

134/134

0

Running

111/13th

6/2

Dover

Gragson

8

9

199/200

0

Running

145/10th

6/9

Texas

Gragson

1

7

167/167

13

Running

181/10th

6/17

Gateway

Gragson

7

9

160/160

0

Running

209/10th

6/23

Iowa

Gragson

1

6

200/200

16

Running

255/9th

7/6

Kentucky

Gragson

11

5

150/150

32

Running

299/9th

7/19

Eldora

Gragson

10

7

150/150

0

Running

329/9th

7/29

Pocono

Gragson

8

24

39/60

0

Accident

345/9th

8/12

Michigan

Gragson

5

7

100/100

0

Running

382/9th

8/16

Bristol

Gragson

4

15

202/203

0

Running

418/9th

9/3

Canadian Tire

Gragson

6

2

64/64

0

Running

458/9th

9/15

Chicago

Gragson

6

8

150/150

0

Running

489/11th

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK

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