Date: June 8, 2018
Event: PPG 400 (Race 8 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS)
Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (1.5-mile quad-oval)
Format: Three Stages; 40 laps/40 laps/87 laps
Start/Finish: 3rd/10th (Running, completed 167 of 167 laps)
Winner: Johnny Sauter of GMS Racing (Chevrolet)
After pitting for four fresh tires under caution late in in Friday night’s PPG 400 at Texas Motor Speedway, Noah Gragson appeared to be in a strong position to contend for the win. Gragson restarted eighth, behind six trucks that didn’t pit and another that took fuel only, when the field went back green with 13 laps remaining. Gragson quickly fell back to 10th on the restart and shortly after communicated to his crew chief Rudy Fugle that his engine was overheating. The Safelite Tundra came back down pit road under caution with six laps remaining to remove debris from the grill and would start NASCAR overtime from the 11thposition. Gragson picked up one spot over the final two laps to register his fifth top-10 finish of the season.
Stage One Recap:
- Gragson posted the third fastest time in the final round of Friday afternoon’s qualifying session. He moved into the runner-up position on lap one and then maneuvered around Stewart Friesen for the lead on lap two. The Safelite Tundra would remain out front until he was passed by teammate Todd Gilliland on lap 21.
- The No. 18 Toyota was in the third position before hitting pit road under caution for four tires and fuel on lap 30. After restarting 15th with seven laps to go in the opening stage, Gragson finished the stage 12th.
Stage Two Recap:
- Having pitted late in Stage 1 for four fresh tires, crew chief Rudy Fugle elected to pit for only fuel and a trackbar adjustment between stages. When Stage Two went green on lap 46, Gragson was scored in the eighth position.
- Three laps later he had made his way back into the top five and remained there when a two-truck accident slowed the field for the fifth time on lap 74. Fugle summoned his young driver to pit road for fresh left-side tires and a full tank of fuel.
- Gragson restarted from the sixth spot when the field went back green with one lap remaining in the stage and remained there when he got back to the stripe..
Final Stage Recap:
- Having pitted at the end of Stage Two, Fugle elected not to pit putting the Safelite Tundra in the second position for the start of the Final Stage.
- Gragson had fallen back one spot when the seventh caution of the night occurred on lap 107. He brought his Toyota to the attention of his over-the-wall crew when pit road opened for fresh right-side tires, fuel and a trackbar adjustment.
- The No. 18 team was scored in the fifth position when the field went back green on lap 113 and was scored in the sixth position before hitting pit road under caution on lap 151.
- Gragson restarted eighth and appeared to be in a great position with the seven trucks in front of him being on old tires, but overheating issues would force him to pit road during the final caution and keep him from contending for the win. The NASCAR Next alum would end the race in the 10thposition.
Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
Talk about how your race went tonight.
“We had some speed early on and led some laps at the beginning, but track position was really key and we could just never get it back. It’s so hard to pass here because it is such a bottom feeder race track. You don’t really have an option but the bottom, so trying to navigate around lap cars and such is extremely difficult. We just got shuffled back and then there at the end the motor started over heating and lost a lot of power. I felt like we would’ve been at least top-five truck, but it just didn’t happen for us tonight. We will rebound and go to Iowa — sat on the pole there last year so really confident going to that track and really like it.”
PPG 400 Recap:
- Johnny Sauter collected his series-leading fourth NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory of 2018 and the 21st of his career. Stewart Friesen finished 0.092 seconds behind Sauter in the runner-up position. Justin Haley finished third while Grant Enfinger and Matt Crafton rounded out the top-five finishers.
- The race featured nine cautions for a total of 36 laps. There were 12 lead changes among nine drivers. Gragson led once for 19 laps. He has led at least one lap in seven of the eight events this season.
- Todd Gilliland, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished sixth
- Spencer Davis, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished ninth
NCWTS Driver Championship Standings:
Gragson maintained the second position in the NCWTS Driver Championship standings. After eight races the 19-year-old driver is 77 tallies behind championship leader Johnny Sauter. Gragson has earned 10 playoff points this season.
Gragson will be back behind the wheel of the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra when the Truck Series resumes action June 16 at Iowa Speedway in Newton. Live coverage of the M&M’s 200 begins Saturday at 7 p.m. ET on FS1.