Sunday was the first time Noah Gragson raced at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ont., but nobody would have guessed that based on his performance. He challenged for the win in the closing laps of the race and finished second, his best career finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Date: September 3, 2017
Event: NCWTS 250 (Race 15 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Location: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ont. (2.459-mile, 10-turn road
Format: Three Segments; 20 laps/20 laps/24 laps
Start/Finish: 6th / 2nd (running, completed 64 of 64 laps)
Winner: Austin Cindric of Brad Keselowski Racing (Ford)
Stage One Recap:
- Gragson started his Switch Tundra sixth for the first 20-lap stage. The first stage was about saving fuel, taking care of his Switch Tundra and staying out of trouble. He did just that and finished the stage where he started, in sixth place.
Stage Two Recap:
- Based on pit strategy, Gragson did not pit at the end of Stage One, which put him in fifth place for the start of Stage Two. With a great restart, he moved up to fourth and eventually third. On lap 32, he was called to pit road for four tires and fuel. By pitting under green on that lap, the Switch team could finish the race without having to pit again and maintain valuable track position later in the race. With the stop, he ended Stage Two in 16th.
Stage Three Recap:
- Since Gragson did not have to pit before the final stage, he restarted the race in eighth. When a caution came early in the stage, he moved up to fourth and with another amazing restart he was able to capture third. The final caution of the race came with 12 laps to go. Gragson was still third, but moved up to second place on the lap 56 restart and was closing in on leader Kaz Grala for the lead. With four to go, Austin Cindric passed Gragson for second and on the final lap, Cindric spun Grala to take the lead. Gragson was able to drive by Grala, but could not catch Cindric in time, resulting in a second-place finish.
NOAH GRAGSON, driver of the No. 18 Switch Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
Talk about your race?
“The 19 (Austin Cindric) was pretty fast there at the end. I was giving it all I could. We just needed a little bit more speed there at the end. I used my Switch Tundra up, which was a bummer. I really wanted to win this one bad for my guys, Switch and Toyota. I gave it all I could, but we just came up a little short at the end. We’ve still got one more shot to get into the playoffs if we can win at Chicago in a couple weeks. We’re not giving up yet.”
NCWTS 250 Recap:
- Rookie Austin Cindric won his first NCWTS race of the season followed by Gragson, Kaz Grala, Justin Haley and Ryan Truex rounded out the top-five finishers.
- The race featured five cautions for a total of 14 laps. There were five lead changes among five drivers.
How Gragson’s KBM Teammates Fared:
Christopher Bell, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished 26th
Todd Gilliland, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished 11th
NCWTS Driver Championship Standings:
Gragson is 11th in the Truck Series Championship Playoff Standings, but now is 47 points behind eighth place, the final playoff position. Only two spots remain to get in on points.
The Truck Series returns to action for the final regular race of the season on Friday, September 15 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Live coverage of the race begins with the NCWTS Setup Show at 8:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.