Date: May 19, 2017
Event: North Carolina Education Lottery 200 (Race 5 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format: Three Segments; 40 laps/40 laps/54 laps
Start/Finish: 15th / 9th (running, completed 250 of 134 laps)
Winner: Kyle Busch of Kyle Busch Motorsports (Toyota)
Noah Gragson recorded his second top-10 finish of the season, and his best career-finish at a mile-and-a-half track when he brought his Switch Tundra home in ninth place Friday night under the lights at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
- Gragson started 15th after getting loose in qualifying in the heat of the day. He struggled with a tight condition during the first 40-lap stage of the race. He said the Switch Tundra was good when he was by himself, but too tight in traffic. A caution with six laps to go until the end of the stage brought several trucks to pit road, but Gragson stayed out. That moved him up to the top 10 and he finished the first stage in ninth. He then came to pit road for four tires and a wedge adjustment.
Stage Two Recap:
- Gragson started stage two in 18th place since seven of the trucks that pitted earlier stayed out on the track at the end of stage one. He said the handling of his Tundra was better early in the run and by lap 65 was up to 11th He continued to battle for position and ended stage two in ninth place. The Switch Tundra had gotten tight again, so he pitted for tires and another adjustment.
Stage Three Recap:
- Starting the final stage in ninth place, Gragson was determined to stay with the leaders. He had fallen back to 13th with 20 laps to go, but a lucky break came his way when a caution came for a spin with six laps remaining in the race. Crew chief Marcus Richmond called Gragson to pit road for four fresh tires and a track bar adjustment to free up the Switch Tundra for the final three-lap shootout. He restarted the race 14th, but had a great restart. In the closing laps, he fought his way up to ninth place to finish the race.
Talk about your race?
“Being so new to these mile-and-a-half tracks and not really knowing what to do when I get behind dirty air has been challenging. This is only my fourth intermediate track and to finish ninth is a really cool deal for me. We didn’t have the best run in Kansas so I spent this week watching a lot of film and talking about what I needed to do to be better at passing trucks. I gained so much confidence, even in those last three laps, I felt like I could race up there with some of the veterans of the series. We were three-wide those last three laps, which was pretty fun.
“My KBM team has stuck behind me and kept me focused and positive which I think is why we ran pretty well tonight. Finishing ninth in my Switch Tundra was pretty solid and I’ll take it.”
North Carolina Education Lottery 200 Recap:
- KBM team owner Kyle Busch won the race for the second consecutive week. Johnny Sauter was second, followed by KBM’s Christopher Bell, Ryan Truex and Timothy Peters rounded out the top-five finishers.
- The race featured nine cautions for a total of 38 laps. There were 10 lead changes among eight drivers. Busch led three times for 90 laps and Bell led once for two laps.
How Gragson’s KBM Teammates Fared:
Christopher Bell, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished third
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished first
NCWTS Driver Championship Standings:
Gragson remains 13th in the Truck Series Championship Standings, 15 points out of 10th.
The Truck Series returns to action on Friday, June 2 at Dover International Speedway. Live coverage of the Bar Harbor 200 begins with the NCWTS Setup Show at 5 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.