Event: Texas Roadhouse 200, Race 20 of 23, 200 Laps – 50/50/100; 105.2 Miles
Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (0.526-mile oval)
Date/Broadcast: Oct. 27, 2018 at 1 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90
What You Need to ‘Noah’bout
- Noah Gragson returns to Martinsville Speedway as the defending winner of the Texas Roadhouse 200. Gragson lined up outside Matt Crafton for the final restart of last year’s event and despite not having the preferred lane, the talented youngster was able to clear the cagey veteran off the exit of Turn 4. He was able to pull away in the closing laps and collected the first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) victory of his career. Including his victory last October, the Las Vegas native has registered an average finish of 3.3 across three starts at the Virginia track. He came from the 11th starting position to finish fifth in the March race this year and finished fourth in his ‘Paperclip’ debut in March of 2017.
- Five of the six victories earned by Kyle Busch Motorsports’ drivers at Martinsville have come in the fall race, including Gragson’s victory last October. Denny Hamlin was victorious in 2011 and 2012 and Darrell Wallace Jr., made it four straight fall victories winning in 2013 and 2014. Owner-driver Kyle Busch earned his team’s only spring victory in 2016.
- Gragson begins the Round of 6 third on the Truck Series playoff grid, 11 points above the cutoff line for advancing to the Championship 4. He advanced to the Round of 6 by finishing ninth in the first race of the Round of 8 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP), 18th in the second race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and 13th in the cutoff race at Talladega Superspeedway. Gragson collected three stage victories in the Round of 8, winning both stages at CTMP and the opening stage at Las Vegas to improve his playoff points total from 22 at the start of the playoffs to 25 to start the Round of 6.
- The 20-year-old driver leads the NCWTS in stage wins (10), poles (five), laps led (546), average starting position (5.1) and average mid-race position (6.3).
- The Las Vegas native finished second in the NCWTS regular season standings in 2018 after posting one win, six top-five and 12 top-10 finishes across his 15 starts. In addition to the 10 playoff points Gragson earned for finishing second in the regular season standings, he earned 12 additional points throughout the regular season with seven stage wins and his victory at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.
- 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
Based on the tracks that make up the Round of 6, how do you like your chances for advancing to the Championship 4?
“I like my chances — we have some really good race tracks coming up. Martinsville — obviously we won there last year and I got my first career win there, so I’m really excited to get back to that race track. I finished fourth in my first start there, I won in my second start and then earlier this year we finished fifth there. It’s probably one of my best race tracks on the schedule and then we have Texas — where I got my first career pole and then Phoenix — I led a lot of laps there last year and we were pretty dominant in the third stage. Really excited for this round coming up, we have a lot of good race tracks and hopefully we can capitalize on our momentum.”
Does winning last year’s fall race at Martinsville give you confidence heading into this weekend?
“I definitely have a lot of confidence going back to Martinsville in my Safelite Tundra. It’s a really fun race track and anything can really happen there. Definitely have to be patient throughout the race and not make any bold moves there at the beginning and get wrecked and jeopardize our chances. Just have to stay patient all day — it’s a track where you can go from 20th up to fifth in a run. It’ll be a lot of fun — as a driver I definitely like that race track because you’re hard on the brakes and beating and banging and what not. So, getting back there after getting my first career win there last year, it’s one that I’ve been looking forward to all year.”
Noah Gragson Career Highlights
- In 43 career NCWTS starts has collected two wins, eight poles, 733 laps led, 10 top-five and 26 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 17 career starts
Noah Gragson’s No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra:
KBM-24: The No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass team will unload KBM-24 for Saturday’s Texas Roadhouse 200 at Martinsville. Gragson finished fifth with the same Tundra earlier this year at the Virginia track and most recently Christian Eckes qualified second and led 28 laps with it for the No. 46 team at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill., in June before being relegated to a 28th-place finish after a mid-race accident. The Toyota has won three times across 12 careers starts, most recently with Christopher Bell at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon last September.