Noah Gragson Makes His Second Run At Winchester Speedway

Noah Gragson

Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) will have two chances to bring home its fourth Winchester riffle in Sunday’s Winchester 400 at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway. Cole Rouse is entered in the No. 51 JBL Camry and Noah Gragson will be piloting the No. 18 Switch Camry.

 Rouse’s first season driving for KBM’s Super Late Model team has been a successful one. The Arkansas native has collected two victories on the CARS Super Late Model Tour and enters next Saturday’s series finale at South Boston (Va.) Speedway with an eight-point advantage in the championship standings.

 The 20-year-old driver will be making his second start for KBM this year at the track that dubs itself as the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile.” After starting third in the Winchester 100 ARCA/CRA Super Series race that was part of the World Stock Car Festival in September, Rouse took the lead on lap seven and remained at the front of the field until he was slowed by a mechanical failure on lap 74. After dominating the majority of the event, the No. 51 team was relegated to a disappointing 11th-place finish.

 Sunday will be Rouse’s second career start in the Winchester 400. He competed in the 2015 event for Kevin Krider Motorsports, but was plagued by ignition issues. He was forced to start from the rear of the field, in the 32nd position, but had maneuvered his way just outside the top 10 on lap 147 when the issues resurfaced and ended his day. He was credited with a 31st-place finish.

 Gragson will be making his second of three-scheduled starts behind the wheel of a KBM Super Late Model in 2017. In May, he made his debut for the team in the U.S. Nationals at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. His 14.363-second lap in practice topped the speed charts for the weekend and was faster than Denny Hamlin’s Monster Energy Series track record, but he ended up qualifying 21st for the 100-lap event and after getting caught up in an accident on lap nine was relegated to a 30th-place finish.

 The Las Vegas native is in his first full-time season driving the No. 18 Switch Tundra for KBM in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He has collected three poles,113 laps led, three top-five and 11 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 11.6 across 18 starts thus far in his rookie campaign.

 The 19-year-old was victorious the last time he raced a Super Late Model. He returned to the Bullring at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway, the track where he cut his racing teeth, and won the 50-lap NASCAR Super Late Model race on Sept. 9 for Dustin Ash Motorsports.

 Sunday will mark Gragson’s second start in the prestigious Winchester 400. He started 13th and finished 11th in last year’s event competing for Wauters Motorsports.

 KBM’s impressive resume of Super Late Model wins includes three wins in the All-American 400. Owner-driver Kyle Busch was victorious in 2009 and Erik Jones collected back-to-back wins in 2013 and 2014.

 Cole Rouse, driver of the No. 51 JBL Camry

 How do you feel heading into Sunday’s Winchester 400?

“We had a really fast Camry when we raced here in September — we were four tenths faster than everybody else in practice and led most of the race until we had a mechanical issue. We are bringing the same chassis we raced here in September, so I’m confident we’ll unload with a lot of speed again and hopefully this time around we can finish things off. It’s one of my favorite tracks and I’ve always been really strong here. The Winchester 400 is a long race, so we need to keep the fenders on it and be there at the end. We’ve been able to win a few CARS Tour races this year, now our goal is to get a win in one of these major races.”

 Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 18 Switch Camry

 How do you feel heading into Sunday’s Winchester 400?

“Four hundred laps is a long race — especially at Winchester where the track is so fast and its really bumpy. Your equipment has to be durable enough to make it to the end of the race because you usually see a lot of mechanical failures. The KBM Super Late Model team, headed by Cody Glick, has a really good setup for Winchester and they have a few riffles to show for it. Cole Rouse, who is my teammate this weekend, ran the Winchester 100 earlier this year and was really fast, so we should have a good baseline setup. I have my Truck Series crew chief, Marcus Richmond, and the guys from my No. 18 Switch Tundra team working on my car this weekend, so that will help because we already know what to expect from each other. Hopefully we can qualify up front, get in a position where I can just ride and take care of my Switch Camry for the first 350 laps and then make our way to front and have a chance to win it at the end.”

 

Cole Rouse Winchester 400 Performance Profile

 

Date

Start

Finish

Laps

Laps Led

Status

2015

32

31

146/400

0

ignition

 

Noah Gragson Winchester 400 Performance Profile

 

Date

Start

Finish

Laps

Laps Led

Status

2016

13

11

354/400

0

running

 

 

Notable wins for the KBM Late Model team since its inception in 2007 include: Wisconsin All-Star 100 at the Milwaukee Mile (Kyle Busch 2008), Red Bud 300 at Anderson Speedway (Kyle Busch 2009), Winchester 400 at Winchester Speedway (Kyle Busch 2009 and Erik Jones 2013 & 2014), Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway (Kyle Busch 2009 and Erik Jones 2013), SpeedFest at Lanier National Speedway (Kyle Busch 2009 & 2010), SpeedFest at Watermelon Capital Speedway (Kyle Busch 2012), Rowdy 251 at Berlin Raceway (Kyle Busch 2010, 2011 & 2012), All-American 400 at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville (TJ Reaid 2010), Slinger Nationals at Slinger Super Speedway (Kyle Busch 2011), the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway (Kyle Busch 2011), Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at Richmond International Raceway (Kyle Busch 2013), the Howie Lettow Memorial at the Milwaukee Mile (Kyle Busch 2013 and Erik Jones 2014) and the Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway (Christopher Bell 2015).

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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