NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Overview
Event: NextEra Energy Resources 250, Race 1 of 23, 100 Laps – 20/20/60; 250 Miles
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2.5-mile oval superspeedway)
Date/Broadcast: Feb. 16, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, MRN and Sirius/XM NASCAR 90
What You Need to ‘Noah’bout
• Gragson 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 19-year-old driver returns to Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) for his second full-time Truck Series campaign, but will be sporting a new primary sponsor and crew chief. 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.
• Rudy Fugle and the entire No. 4 team, which won a combined Owner’s/Driver’s championship with Christopher Bell last season, have transitioned to the No. 18 team and will oversee Gragson’s efforts in 2018. Fugle has guided his team to an Owner’s championship in all four of his seasons (2013, 2015, 2016 & 2017) as a crew chief at KBM and has produced two championship-winning drivers (Bell, 2017 and Erik Jones, 2015). The New York native enters the 2018 season with 21 wins, 14 poles, 48 top-five and 53 top-10 finishes across his 91 races calling the shots for the organization. While Friday night’s 100-lap event will be the first time that Fugle and Gragson have worked together in a Truck Series race, they have benefitted from participating in a NCWTS test at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in January and also produced a fifth-place finish working together in the Winter Showdown Super Late Model race at Kern County Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif., Feb. 3.
• Friday night will mark Gragson’s second Truck Series start at the “World Center of Racing.” He started 12th in last year’s season-opening event, but his time was short lived as he suffered terminal damage after getting turned on lap two of the 100-lap race and was relegated to a 26th-place finish after completing just one lap.
Noah Gragson, Driver Q&A
Have you set any goals for the 2018 season?
“I’ve set a couple goals for 2018. I’m going to be working with Rudy Fugle and his team — that’s a great opportunity for me as a young driver knowing all the success they’ve had in the past years. I set a goal of six races to win — it might be less, it might be more, but I’m hoping on the more side. I have to do the best that I can do and then hopefully those wins will come. I also want to complete all the laps and with completing all the laps and hopefully getting those wins the championship will come too.”
How important is it to get off to a strong start this year?
“Getting off to a strong start is everything — I learned that last year. Wrecking on lap one at Daytona, and then spinning out on lap one at Atlanta — those are the first two races of the year and it really took a downhill turn for my confidence. Having the momentum from the end of last year — hopefully we can fire off as good as we ended last year. I’m just trying to finish all the laps, make it to the end of these races and be in contention. It’s all about consistency at the end of these races — being up front and being a contender for the win.”
Do you have a strategy for Daytona with the stage racing?
“I’m going to go back and watch last year’s race before I head down there this year to kind of get a better idea of what’s going to happen at the end of these stages — it’s going to be pretty wild. You’re going to have to be pretty aggressive to stay up front and get the stage points, but you’re also going to have to be smart because anything can happen at Daytona. We’re racing so close, inches off each other — it’s going to be tough to stay out of trouble there. You have to make it to the end and be aggressive the last couple laps and hopefully end up in victory lane.”
No. 18 Tundra – Daytona International Speedway Advance Page Two
Noah Gragson Career Highlights
• Gragson opened his 2018 season with a seventh-place finish in the ARCA Racing Series season opener at Daytona last Saturday. After starting in the 21st position, he raced inside the top five for most of the event before coming home in the seventh spot.
• Enters 2018 with one win, three poles, four top-five and 13 top-10 finishes across his first 25 career NCWTS starts.
• 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 15 career starts.
Noah Gragson’s No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra:
KBM-013: The No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass team will unload KBM-013, for Friday’s NextEra Energy 250 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. It is the same Tundra that Kyle Busch led 25 laps with en route to victory in the 2014 season-opening event at Daytona and Christopher Bell finished seventh with in last year’s race at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.