It’s a big week for Las Vegas native Noah Gragson, who picked up his career first NASCAR Xfinity Series victory at Daytona last weekend and is looking to become only the fourth driver in history to win the first two races of the season when he lines up for Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300 (4 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
The 21-year old was emotional speaking with the media following his hard-earned Daytona win in a typically, frantic checkered flag lap at the superspeedway. This week Gragson not only returns home, but to a venue that has been particularly positive in his young career.
He finished third in his Xfinity Series debut last year at Vegas and eighth in the Fall race. In 10 races on 1.5-mile facilities, Gragson earned seven top-10 and three top-five finishes. He has a NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series win at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway.
And for the first time in his career, Gragson shows up for the home crowd as a NASCAR national series championship leader. His win earned him a three-point advantage over Justin Haley atop the Xfinity standings.
“I always look forward to coming back to Las Vegas because it allows me to visit with family and friends,” Gragson said. “It adds a little pressure because I want to perform in front of my hometown crowd, but coming off the win in Daytona and our streak of runs here [at Las Vegas], I feel like the No. 9 Bass Pro Shops Camaro could be celebrating in Victory Lane for the second straight week.”
Perhaps Gragson’s greatest challenge this week will come from within the JR Motorsports team. His veteran teammate Justin Allgaier is the top-rated driver at Las Vegas with nine top-10 and five top-five finishes in 11 starts at the track. He boasts the top Driving Rating (105.3) and his 8.5 Average Finish at Las Vegas is his best mark anywhere on the schedule.
Allgaier was collected in a mid-race crash. His 23 laps led was second only to fellow JR Motorsports driver Jeb Burton’s 26 laps out front on the day.
“We may not have had the finish we wanted last weekend in Daytona, but we had a fast BRANDT Professional Chevy and that makes me excited for the rest of the season,” Allgaier said. “Las Vegas is a track that has been good to me and this No. 7 team. We’ve led laps and I feel like we have come close to winning, so I’m really looking forward to getting there and seeing what we can do this weekend.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!