Date: June 29, 2018
Event: Overton’s 225 (Race 11 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS)
Location: Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. (1.5-mile oval)
Format: Three Stages; 35 laps/35 laps/80 laps
Start/Finish: 1st/4th (Running, completed 150 of 150 laps)
Winner: Brett Moffitt of Hattori Racing Enterprises (Toyota)
Noah Gragson captured the pole for Friday night’s Overton’s 225 at Chicagoland Speedway, led 42 of the first 70 laps, won Stage Two and ended the night with a fourth-place finish. Gragson’s fifth top-five finish of the season allowed the 19-year-old driver to maintain second place in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings with five races remaining before the start of the playoffs.
Stage One Recap:
- Gragson captured his third pole of the season after posting the fastest lap in each of the two rounds of qualifying on Friday afternoon. After leading the first lap, he settled into the second position behind Dalton Sargeant as he communicated that his Safelite AutoGlass Tundra needed more rear security in the early stages of the race.
- The Las Vegas native remained in the runner-up spot when a one-truck accident slowed the field for the first time on lap 23. After the lap-26 restart, Gragson was able to work his way back around Sargeant for the race lead on lap 27 and remained out front until lap 34.
- John Hunter Nemechek worked his way around Gragson on the final lap of Stage One. The No. 18 Tundra would finish the opening stage in the second position.
Stage Two Recap:
- Crew chief Rudy Fugle summoned his driver to pit road between stages for four fresh tires and a full tank of fuel. The Safelite Tundra was the first truck off pit road and would start the second stage in the second spot next to the one truck that elected not to pit between stages.
- Stage Two went green on lap 41 and Gragson quickly made his way to the front. He would remain out front for the entirety of Stage Two collecting a playoff point.
Final Stage Recap:
- When pit road opened, Gragson brought his Toyota to the attention of his over-the-wall crew who administered a four-tire and fuel stop. The Safelite Tundra lined up second for the start of the Final Stage on lap 77.
- After the stage went green, the Safelite Tundra began to slowly slide back in the running order as he communicated that he was “four-wheel sliding everywhere.” Gragson was scored in the fifth position with 50 laps remaining and was sixth when the field was slowed for the sixth and final time on lap 121.
- Gragson hit pit road for four fresh tires, a full tank of fuel and a trackbar adjustment to try and improve the handling for the closing laps.
- He was scored in the fourth position when the field went back green with 24 laps remaining. The No. 18 Toyota fell back to the fifth spot and was running there on the final lap until leader John Hunter Nemechek ran out of fuel allowing Gragson to end the race with a fourth-place finish.
Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
You were fast at times tonight. What happened to your Safelite AutoGlass Tundra in the Final Stage?
“I thought we were pretty good with my Safelite AutoGlass Toyota Tundra at the beginning when the sunlight was out. Just needed more grip all the way around — just sliding the whole entire night once the sun went down. Couple of those other guys were a little bit better and I just couldn’t stay with them in the draft. I’m the quarterback of this team, I take the blame. I have to work harder on my part and get this team where we need to be — winning races. Just thankful for the opportunity. I’ve got a really good team — Kyle Busch Motorsports, Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) — they are the best out there. I’m going to do whatever it takes to go to Kentucky and go kick their ass. Very thankful for Safelite AutoGlass and all the fans for coming out and supporting me. It’s such a privilege to be out here in the Camping World Truck Series.”
Overton’s 225 Recap:
- Brett Moffitt collected his third NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory of 2018. Ben Rhodes finished 5.092 seconds behind Moffitt in the runner-up position. Johnny Sauter finished third while Gragson and his KBM teammate Brandon Jones rounded out the top-five finishers.
- The race featured six cautions for a total of 29 laps. There were 17 lead changes among six drivers. Gragson led five times for 42 laps. He has led at least one lap in 10 of the 11 events this season.
How Gragson’s KBM Teammates Fared:
- Brandon Jones, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished fifth
- Todd Gilliland, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished 16th
NCWTS Driver Championship Standings:
Gragson maintained the second position in the NCWTS Driver Championship standings. After 11 races the 19-year-old driver is 65 tallies behind championship leader Johnny Sauter. Gragson has earned 11 playoff points this season, including the one he earned for winning Stage Two at Chicagoland.
Gragson will be back behind the wheel of the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra when the Truck Series resumes action July 12 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Live coverage of the Buckle Up in Your Truck 225 begins Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1.