Date: April 1, 2017
Event: Alpha Energy Solutions 250 (Race 3 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (0.526-mile oval)
Format: Three Segments; 70 laps/70 laps/110 laps
Start/Finish: 9th / 4th (running, completed 250 of 250 laps)
Winner: Chase Elliott of GMS Racing (Chevrolet)
Noah Gragson recorded a fourth-place finish, a career-best NASCAR Camping World Truck Series result and his first career-series top five at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday. He was also the highest-finishing rookie of the race, which was impressive for his first time at the track with limited practice
- Gragson started ninth after only having one hour of practice due to rain on Friday. He spent much of the first stage finding a rhythm to get around the flat, paperclip-shaped track. He was eighth when the first 70-lap stage ended and was up to seventh after a quick pit stop by the Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) team for the restart on lap 82
Stage Two Recap:
- Following a restart on lap 97, Gragson had jumped up to fifth place. Just three laps later he was hit in the rear quarter-panel by fellow rookie Chase Briscoe and spun in turn two. Crew chief Marcus Richmond called him to pit road for four new tires and luckily the Switch Tundra sustained no damage. Gragson was 22nd, the last truck on the lead lap, when the race resumed on lap 106. He did not waste any time moving back up through the field. By lap 128 he was back in the top 10 and still charging to the front. When a caution came just three laps before the end of stage two, Richmond called Gragson to the pits for the final time for four tires and fuel. He came off pit road eighth to start the final stage of the race.
- Gragson was pleased with the handling of his Switch Tundra and he moved into fourth place on lap 166. He was as high as third, but eventually let the faster truck of Johnny Sauter get by him rather than take the chance getting moved out of the way. Things got a little wild in the closing laps as race leader Christopher Bell made contact with the lapped truck of Austin Cindric, which allowed Chase Elliott and Sauter pass him. Bell got in line in front of Gragson when the race resumed with 12 to go, and that is also how they finished the race.
NOAH GRAGSON, driver of the No. 18 Switch Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
- Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott won the race, his second victory in 12 truck starts. Elliott’s teammate Johnny Sauter was second, followed by KBM’s Christopher Bell, Gragson and Ty Dillon rounded out the top-five finishers.
- The race featured 10 cautions for a total of 63 laps. There were four lead changes among three drivers. KBM’s Christopher Bell lead two times for 96 laps.
How Gragson’s KBM Teammates Fared:
Christopher Bell, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished third
Harrison Burton, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished 13th
NCWTS Driver Championship Standings:
Gragson gained six positions, moving up to 11th in the Truck Series Championship Standings, 70 points out of first.
The Truck Series takes six weeks off before Gragson will be back behind the wheel of the No. 18 Switch Tundra on Friday, May 12 at Kansas Speedway. Live coverage of the Toyota Tundra 250 begins with the NCWTS Setup Show at 8 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.