Noah Gragson Rolls Into Texas Looking To Go Back-To-Back

Noah Gragson

Coming off his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) victory last weekend at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Noah Gragson is eager to get back in his No. 18 Switch Tundra at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth this week. It will be his second race this season at Texas and since everything is bigger in Texas, he expects big results.

The 19-year-old rookie has been busy this week enjoying the accolades and recognition from his first win Saturday in Martinsville. After battling with NCWTS veterans Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter for the lead in the final 50 laps, Gragson made a move rarely seen at the flat, half-mile track. Following a caution, Gragson restarted second and was able to make the outside lane work as he battled side-by-side with Crafton for nearly a lap before successfully clearing him for the lead off the exit of turn four. Pulling away from the field, he led the final 10 laps en route to a 1.486-second margin of victory over Crafton and Sauter. It was a great race for all the Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) drivers with Harrison Burton finishing fourth, Todd Gilliland fifth and point leader Christopher Bell in eighth.

Gragson has high expectations for his second race in Texas on Friday night. During his first race there in June, he won his first NCWTS pole and finished the race seventh. Despite having one of the fastest trucks in the race, a loose wheel caused the team to make additional pit stops, which put them two laps down. Gragson rose to the challenge, got his laps back and fought his way back into the top 10 before the race ended.

While many are focused on the six drivers remaining in the 2017 playoffs, Gragson hopes to steal their thunder again this week with another win. Taking the same Toyota Tundra Kyle Busch won with at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May, the Las Vegas native is ready to see if he can make it two wins in a row. Adding a cowboy hat would be a nice addition to his growing trophy collection which already consists of a grandfather clock from Martinsville and a Winchester rifle from winning the Winchester 400 ARCA/CRA Super Series race, all of which came in October. Gragson is hoping to continue his winning ways into November and finish the season strong.

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

Has it sunk in yet that you won at Martinsville Speedway last weekend?

“It was pretty cool. It feels good to get the weight off my shoulders waiting for that first win to happen. Now I can focus on trying to get another win and I know what I need to do now, although every track is very different. There is still a lot of hard work that needs to be done, so I need to keep on striving to get better and I still have a lot to learn.”

How much did it help you having Kyle Busch on your radio giving you advice during the Martinsville race?

“It helped quite a bit. I was using the advice he was giving me. Kyle, my spotter Tyler Green and my crew chief Marcus Richmond, they all did a great job of helping me. I used every conversation I ever had about Martinsville on that last restart and tried to put everything together and it ended up working out. I’m thankful for all of the people I have helping me along the way. I have a good group surrounding me.”

What are your expectations for your second trip to Texas this year, especially after winning the pole at your first race there?

“We won the pole which was great, but finished seventh because we had a loose wheel and went a couple laps down trying to fix that issue. We got our laps back and fought back to seventh, so if we can have a clean race we should be pretty good this weekend. We were one of the fastest trucks there in June, but my inexperience kind of hurt our finish and the loose wheel didn’t help. Going back there I know how the truck needs to feel to be able to have that speed. June was a big question mark for everyone with the new pavement, but going back I think we need to step up our game since everyone will have a better idea of what to expect.”

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

How much momentum from a win does a team carry over to the next race?

“I think it carries over a lot, especially for a driver. It gives everybody the confidence that they can win and every week you go out to try to repeat that. We had a really good truck at Texas in June. We won the pole and led some laps, but a loose left-rear wheel got us behind. Hopefully we can build off that and get another win.”

Noah Gragson’s No. 18 Switch Tundra:

KBM-045: The No. 18 Switch team will race KBM-045, for Friday’s JAG Metals 350. Gragson finished seventh with this truck at Michigan in August, while Kyle Busch took the win at Charlotte in May and finished sixth at Kentucky in July.

KBM-45 Performance Profile

Starts

Wins

Average Start

Average Finish

Laps Led

 3

1

12.0

4.7

90

 

Notes of Interest:

Noah Gragson 2017:

  • Won his first NCWTS race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on 10/28

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

  • Has posted one win, four top-five and 12 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 11.2 across 20 NCWTS starts this season

  • Won the prestigious Winchester 400 Champion Racing Association Super Series race at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway driving for KBM on 10/8

  • 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 one win, four top-five and 12 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 (65), 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 65 wins, 36 poles, 157 top-five and 251 top-10 finishes across 412 starts since originating in 2010

  • Ten different drivers have won a race for KBM, led by owner-driver Kyle Busch with 33. Christopher Bell, Erik Jones and William Byron have each collected seven victories, Darrell Wallace Jr., has five wins, Denny Hamlin has produced two victories while Noah Gragson, 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 @ Texas Motor Speedway

  • KBM drivers have collected five wins, two poles, 516 laps led, 10 top-five and 19 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 11.4 across 32 starts in the Lone Star state

  • Owner-driver Kyle Busch has collected two of his team’s wins (2010 & 2014), Erik Jones earned the victory in November 2015, William Byron took the checkered flag in June 2016 and Christopher Bell went to Victory Lane in June 2017

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 one win, seven top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 21 starts as a NCWTS crew chief at Texas. He took the checkered flag with Ty Dillon behind the wheel in 2013.

 

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

9/23

New Hampshire

Gragson

1

15

174/175

40

Running

519/11th

9/30

Las Vegas

Gragson

13

13

144/146

12

Running

548/11th

10/14

Talladega

Gragson

8

14

95/95

0

Running

571/11th

10/28

Martinsville

Gragson

5

1

200/200

10

Running

325/11th

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

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