NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Overview
Event: Lucas Oil 150, Race 22 of 23, 150 Laps – 45/45/60; 150 Miles
Location: ISM Raceway in Avondale, Ariz. (one-mile oval)
Date/Broadcast: Nov. 9, 2018 at 8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90
What You Need to ‘Noah’bout
- Noah Gragson and the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass team head into Friday night’s elimination race for the Round of 6 at ISM Raceway sitting in the fourth and final spot on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Playoff grid, 18 points above the cutoff line for advancing to the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway. Gragson was 11 points above the cutoff line when the Round of 6 began at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, but has slightly increased his margin by finishing seventh at Martinsville and 10th at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth while collecting 24 stage points between the two events.
- Johnny Sauter and Justin Haley have secured their spots in the Championship 4 via wins at Martinsville and Texas, respectively, while Brett Moffitt (+22), Gragson (+18), Grant Enfinger (-18) and Matt Crafton (-23) will be vying for the final two spots on Friday night.
- Gragson will be competing at ISM Raceway for the third time in his Truck Series career. The Las Vegas native led 55 laps in last year’s race and was battling side-by-side with Kyle Busch Motorsports’ (KBM) teammate Christopher Bell for the victory with eight laps remaining when his truck got aero loose and ended up crashing hard into the outside wall. The damage put an end to his race and relegated him to a 15th-place finish. He qualified 14th and finished 16th in his NCWTS debut at the one-mile oval in 2016.
- KBM has produced five victories with four different drivers in eight seasons competing at the Arizona track. Kyle Busch won in 2011, Brian Scott in 2012, Erik Jones went back-to-back in 2013-2014 and Daniel Suarez claimed the top spot in 2016. Rudy Fugle, Gragson’s crew chief, visited victory lane with Jones in the 2013 race and in four races (2013, 2015-2017) as a crew chief for KBM at the one-mile oval his drivers have led 65.3% (392/600) of the total laps.
- Gragson leads the NCWTS in stage wins (10), poles (five), average starting position (4.9) and average mid-race position (6.3). He ranks second to Sauter in laps led (548), fastest laps run (275) and driver rating (106.3). The 20-year-old driver finished second in the NCWTS regular season standings after posting one win, six top-five and 12 top-10 finishes across his 15 starts.
- Safelite AutoGlass, the nation’s largest provider of vehicle glass repair and replacement services, will adorn the hood of Gragson’s No. 18 Tundra for all 23 events on the NCWTS schedule in 2018.
Noah Gragson, Driver Q&A
Sitting 18 points above the cutoff line heading into this elimination race will you be playing offense or defense?
“I’m going full offense mode — I’m going to Phoenix to win the race. We ran really good there last year with Marcus Richmond and the team at Kyle Busch Motorsports. Myself and Christopher Bell, two teammates, we led I think all but 10 laps of that race, so I feel really confident in the way that I’ll be able to work with my Toyota Tundra out in Phoenix. It’s going to be a really good race track for my team and I feel really comfortable about it.”
How will the changes they made at ISM affect this year’s race?
“I guess it is kind of the same track with a different configuration — with the start-finish line. I don’t know if you’re going to be able to change your lap time — in theory you shouldn’t. Coming off the corner you might be able to change it up a little in the old turn one –new turns three and four. It’ll be a little bit different — that’s for sure. Restarts are going to be sketchy — that’s for sure, but I feel like if we can stay up front in my Safelite AutoGlass Tundra it’ll be no problem. Just feel really confident going into this weekend and hopefully we can pick up that win and move on to Homestead. Then it’s all hammer down from there.”
Noah Gragson’s No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra:
KBM-38: The Safelite AutoGlass team will unload KBM-38 for Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150 at ISM Raceway. The Tundra nicknamed “38 Special” has won five times in 11 career starts and has an average finish of 3.9. It is the same Tundra that Gragson captured the pole, led 128 laps and won all three stages with at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City in May. The Toyota most recently raced at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway in September, where Gragson captured the pole and led the first 33 laps of the race before being relegated to an 18th-place finish after developing a tire rub late in the race.