NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Overview
Event: PPG 400, Race 8 of 23, 167 Laps – 40/40/87; 250.5 Miles
Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth (1.5-mile quad-oval)
Date/Broadcast: June 8, 2018 at 9 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90
What You Need to ‘Noh’bout:
- Last year’s June visit to Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) in Fort Worth was a memorable one for Noah Gragson, but he’s hoping that a trip to victory lane will make this year’s pilgrimage even more special. The Las Vegas native started out his race day last year by winning his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series pole award and then followed that up by receiving his high school diploma from TMS president Eddie Gossage on stage during pre-race ceremonies. Gragson made his first bold move of the race on stage when he planted a kiss on the cheek of both of the Great American Sweethearts during the ceremony. Once the green flag waved he led twice for 13 laps and ended the day with a seventh-place finish. In the fall event last year, the Truck Series rookie qualified second, led nine laps and finished in the 10th position.
- Gragson maintained second place in the NCWTS championship standings with an eighth-place finish in the series’ last event at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. He enters this week’s race 59 tallies behind points leader Johnny Sauter. Gragson has earned 10 playoff points through the first seven races in 2018, including the seven he earned by sweeping all three stages en route to victory from the pole at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City in May. The 19-year-old driver has led at least one lap in six of the seven races this season and ranks second to Sauter with 244 laps led this year.
- Crew chief Ryan “Rudy” Fugle has called the shots for three Truck Series wins in the Lone Star State. His drivers have won the last two June races at the 1.5-mile quad-oval (William Byron, 2016 and Christopher Bell, 2017). He also was victorious in the fall of 2015 with Erik Jones.
- 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
You won your first Truck Series pole at Texas last year, did that help your confidence?
“Texas, I got my first pole last year so that was really special to me. It kind of sparked my performance a little bit — I felt like — and gave me a little more confidence. We got a pole a couple weeks later in Iowa and that was big for my momentum and confidence. Going back here, I have an average starting spot of 1.5 — I qualified first for the first race, second for the second race at Texas. Really looking forward to getting back there and having some fun on the mile-and-a-half — it’s definitely a fun track.”
How much more comfortable are you on intermediate tracks this year?
“I’m a lot more comfortable on the mile-and-a-half long tracks, just simply getting that win at Kansas helps me be a lot more comfortable behind the wheel of my Safelite AutoGlass Toyota Tundra and I enjoy them more. It came hard for me last year because I really didn’t understand the aerodynamics of the trucks and the air wakes and everything, but now I’m starting to understand it and really capitalize on different aero games these guys are playing. I’m feeling a lot more comfortable and a lot more confident with my mile-and-a-half program.”
You received your high school diploma during a pre-race ceremony at Texas last year. Any advice for your teammate, Todd Gilliland, who is receiving his on Friday?
“Last year I kissed the two girls when I was getting my diploma. They lean in to kiss you on the cheek and I turned and kissed the one of the left, then turned and kissed the other one on the right when they were leaning in and it was a big hit — the fans liked it. So, I don’t know if I have any advice for Todd, but he better out do me on this one or else it is going to be a bust.”
Noah Gragson Career Highlights
- In 32 career NCWTS starts has collected two wins, five poles, 444 laps led, seven top-five and 17 top-10 finishes.
- Recorded two top-five and three top-10 finishes resulting in average finish of 4.3 across three NASCAR Xfinity Series starts for Joe Gibbs Racing this season
- Finished 10th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) championship standings in 2017 after collecting one win, three poles, 187 laps led, four top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in his rookie campaign. He earned his first NCWTS victory last October at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway outdueling series veterans Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton in the closing laps
- The NASCAR Next alum also competed in three events for KBM’s Super Late Model team in 2017, highlighted by his triumph in the prestigious ARCA/CRA Super Series Winchester 400 at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway in October
- The Las Vegas native has collected four NASCAR K&N Pro Series West victories across 27 career starts and two NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victories across 16 career starts
Noah Gragson’s No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra:
KBM-038: The No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass team will unload KBM-038, for Friday night’s race at Texas. The Tundra nicknamed “38 Special” has won five times in eight career starts and has an average finish of 1.6. It is the same Tundra that Gragson captured the pole, led 128 laps and won all three stages with at Kansas in May.
KBM Notes of Interest
- KBM drivers have collected five wins, two poles, 566 laps led, 11 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 11.1 across 35 starts in the Lone Star State
- Owner-driver Kyle Busch has collected two of his team’s wins (2010 & 2014), Erik Jones earned the victory in November 2015, William Byron took the checkered flag in June 2016 and Christopher Bell went to Victory Lane in June 2017
- 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, which was the number that 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 (67) 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)