NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Overview
Event: Fr8Auctions 250, Race 19 of 23, 94 Laps – 20/20/54; 250.04 Miles
Location: Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (2.66-mile tri-oval)
Date/Broadcast: Oct. 13, 2018 at 1 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90
What You Need to ‘Noah’bout
- Noah Gragson and the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass team head into the final race of the Round of 8 of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Playoffs, 23 points above the cutoff line for advancing to the Round of 6. Gragson currently sits second in the point standings, 17 points behind Johnny Sauter, but sits fourth on the playoff grid because Justin Haley (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) and Grant Enfinger (Las Vegas Motor Speedway) have already locked themselves into the Round of 6 via wins.
- Gragson finished ninth in race one of the Round of 8 of the NCWTS Playoffs at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) and 18th in the second race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The 20-year-old driver has collected three stage victories over the first two races in the Round of 8, winning both stages at CTMP and the opening stage at Las Vegas. Overall on the season he leads the NCWTS in stage wins with 10, twice as many as the next closest driver (Stewart Friesen, five). The talented youngster also leads the Truck Series in poles (five), laps led (543), average starting position (4.7) and average mid-race position (6.1).
- Last year during in his rookie campaign Gragson qualified eighth and finished 14th in the Truck Series race at Talladega. He also competed at the 2.66-mile tri-oval as part of his three-race schedule with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) earlier this year. Making just his second career NXS start, he came from the 20th starting position to finish fourth. Overall in three starts for JGR this season he posted an average finish of 4.3, including a runner-up finish at Richmond (Va.) Raceway in April. It was announced in September that Gragson will graduate to the NXS next season with JR Motorsports.
- 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. With three stage wins already in the Playoffs, he will start the Round of 6 with at least 25 Playoff points if he is able to advance.
- 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
With being 23 points above the cutoff line for advancing to the Round of 6 what will be your strategy at Talladega?
“Talladega is going to be an interesting race. We are 23 points to the good of the cutoff for advancing in the championship, but as everyone knows anything can happen at Talladega. Hopefully we will have a fast Safelite AutoGlass Toyota Tundra — my guys have been working really hard. Hopefully we can stay up front throughout the race, be up front at the end and contend for the win. Ultimately, it’s about making it to the next round – big-picture racing – and trying not to jeopardize that by eliminating ourselves from the race. It’s going to be a wild race for sure and a fun one to watch afterwards on TV.”
Do you enjoy superspeedway racing?
“I’m trying to be optimistic about superspeedway racing — I’m not the greatest at it. I feel like I could be, if I wanted to make bold moves and be aggressive, but I kind of take the approach of being there at the end and trying to be smart throughout the race. That hasn’t worked out great — I’ve only finished one speedway race in my career at the checkered flag and that was actually in the Xfinity Series race this year at Talladega when I finished fourth. Being able to run the truck there again, hopefully I can finish like I did in the Xfinity car and it will be all good. I’m excited to get back to superspeedway racing — it’s a little bit different and I definitely have to change my mindset going into the weekend that’s for sure.”
Noah Gragson Career Highlights
- In 42 career NCWTS starts has collected two wins, seven poles, 730 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-13: The No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass team will unload KBM-013, for Saturday’s Fr8Auctions 250 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Christopher Bell captured KBM’s first-ever superspeedway pole and went on to score a runner-up finish with the Tundra in last year’s Truck Series race at Talladega. Owner-driver Kyle Busch led 25 laps with KBM-13 en route to the victory in the 2014 season-opening event at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Gragson qualified sixth and finished 23rd with the same Toyota in this year’s season-opening event at Daytona earlier this year.