Event: World of Westgate 200, Race 18 of 23, 134 Laps – 30/30/74; 201 Miles
Location: Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile tri-oval)
Date/Broadcast: Sept. 14, 2018 at 9 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90
What You Need to ‘Noah’bout
- Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will be the second homecoming of the season for Las Vegas native Noah Gragson. Gragson cut his racing teeth on the same grounds as Kyle Busch Motorsports’ (KBM) owner Kyle Busch, getting his start at the age of 13 in the Bandoleros division at The Bullring – a 0.375-mile paved oval at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway. After finding success in the Bandoleros, Gragson moved up to the Legends division in 2014 where he won the Young Lion Road Course championship and also began racing in the Super Late Model division at the Nevada track.
- Gragson won the First Stage and led 12 laps of the Stratosphere 200 at the 1.5-mile venue in March, but a tire issue in the closing laps relegated him to a disappointing 12th-place finish. He started 13th and finished 13th in his debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last year. He led 12 laps and was running second in that event before he fell multiple laps down after getting a pair of pit road speeding penalties on his final stop of the night.
- With two races remaining in the Round of 8, the 20-year-old driver enters Friday night’s contest fourth on the Truck Series Playoff grid – 24 points above the cutoff line for advancing to the Round of 6. He won the first two stages of the first playoff race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, but after a last-turn accident ending up crossing the finish line in the ninth position. It was his 11th consecutive top-10 result of 2018.
- Gragson finished second in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular season standings after posting one win, six top-five and 12 top-10 finishes across his 15 starts. In addition to the 10 playoff points Gragson earned for finishing second in the regular season standings, he earned 12 additional points throughout the regular season with seven stage wins and his victory at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. By winning the first two stages at CTMP in the series’ last event, he will earn two additional playoff points if he advances to the Round of 6. He leads all NCWTS drivers with nine stage wins on the year.
- 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
Are you excited for another chance to get a victory at your hometown track?
“Going back to Vegas for the second time this year — we were fast there earlier on in the spring with my Safelite AutoGlass Toyota Tundra. We restarted the final restart in second place, but the left-rear tire was chorded, so we didn’t get the result that we showed all throughout the race, but we ran in the top three the whole time. Definitely know that we have a lot of speed with my No. 18 team, now we just need to close the deal when we go back there. It’s another opportunity to chase a checkered flag.”
Based on your current position in the playoff standings, how will you approach this race?
“This is a wild round — being the first round of the playoffs and having the road course, then a mile-and-a-half and then Talladega it makes for a weird round. Just having those 24 points right now going into Vegas, we are going to try and race aggressive and collect stage points and hopefully go for a win and lock us into the next round. It’s tough with Talladega — you know — it’s really difficult going to Talladega and not knowing how it’s going to end up. So, we really have to execute this weekend and go all out for it.”
Noah Gragson’s No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra:
KBM-38: The Safelite AutoGlass team will unload KBM-38 for Friday’s 134-lap event at Las Vegas. The Tundra nicknamed “38 Special” has won five times in 10 career starts and has an average finish of 2.5. It is the same Tundra that Gragson captured the pole, led 128 laps and won all three stages with at Kansas in May. Erik Jones finished second with the truck in its most recent outing in July filling in for Gragson at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa.
KBM Notes of Interest
- KBM drivers have collected two wins, one pole, 270 laps led, six top-five and 10 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 9.4 across 20 starts at Las Vegas.
- Owner-driver Kyle Busch won from the pole earlier this year when Las Vegas hosted its first-ever March Truck Series race and Erik Jones won the 2014 September event.
- The No. 18 team, which last year was the No. 4 team with Christopher Bell, has won five consecutive NCWTS Owner’s titles for KBM and has produced two championship-winning drivers (Erik Jones, 2015 and Christopher Bell, 2017).
- The No. 18, the number which was on the first Tundra that went to victory lane for KBM in 2010, has 21 career victories
- KBM holds the NCWTS records for most career wins (68) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). In addition to collecting a series-record six Owner’s Championships, the organization has produced two championship-winning drivers; Erik Jones (2015) and Christopher Bell (2017).