NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Overview
Event: JAG Metals 350, Race 21 of 23, 147 Laps – 35/35/74; 220.5 Miles
Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (1.5-mile quad-oval)
Date/Broadcast: Nov. 2, 2018 at 8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90
What You Need to ‘Noah’bout
- Noah Gragson and the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass team head into Friday night’s race at Texas Motor Speedway 24 points above the cutoff line for advancing to the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway with two races remaining in the Round of 6. Gragson was 11 points above the elimination line when the round began last week at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, but was able to increase the margin after finishing second in both stages and seventh in the race. The 48 points he collected at ‘The Paperclip’ were second only to race winner Johnny Sauter, who earned a birth in the Championship 4 with his victory. With his solid points day, Gragson moved past Brett Moffit into the second spot on the playoff grid heading into Texas.
- The Las Vegas native has recorded an average starting position of 2.0 and average finish of 9.0 across three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) starts at Texas. He captured the first pole of his Truck Series career in his debut at the 1.5-mile quad-oval last June and went on to finish seventh. Last November he qualified second and finished 10th. He qualified second, led 19 laps and was in a position to win this year’s June event before debris on the grill caused his Safelite Tundra to overheat and reduced the power of his engine. He would end up finishing 10th among 12 trucks on the lead lap when the field crossed the stripe.
- Rudy Fugle, Gragson’s crew chief, has visited victory lane three times in the Lone Star State. He won the 2015 November race with Erik Jones, the 2016 June race with William Byron and the 2017 June race with Christopher Bell.
- Gragson leads the NCWTS in stage wins (10), poles (five), average starting position (5.0) and average mid-race position (6.1). He ranks second to Sauter in laps led (546), fastest laps run (272) and driver rating (107.3).
- The 20-year-old driver 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. 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.
- 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
How does Texas compare to the other mile-and-a-half tracks on the schedule?
“Texas is a place that is very fast. I feel like I’ve had good success and good speed there. Haven’t finished the way I’ve wanted, but we qualified on the pole and had another front-row starting spot there. Qualifying has been really good, I think top five every single time. Just have to stay up there — race strategy hasn’t played out in our favor. Going with optimism this weekend in our Safelite AutoGlass Toyota Tundra and looking to collect more stage points and be up front there at the end.”
After a solid points day at Martinsville, how will you approach the final two races of the Round of 6?
“Just have to collect as many points as possible. Obviously, the win punches your ticket to Homestead, but it’s so hard to win. The next best thing is collecting those points and getting ourselves more of a gap on the guys behind us. Collected 10 or 11 points on the guys behind us at Martinsville and gained another spot — we’re the second seed now. So, I felt like we did our job at Martinsville. We’ve got to just keep on points racing from here on out and try to get to Homestead. It’s going to be all out trying to win the championship there going for the win.”
Noah Gragson Career Highlights
- In 44 career NCWTS starts has collected two wins, eight poles, 733 laps led, 10 top-five and 27 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-44: The Safelite AutoGlass team will unload KBM-44 for Friday night’s JAG Metals 350 at Texas Motor Speedway. Gragson captured the pole and led a race-high 62 laps with the same Tundra in its most recent outing this year at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Owner-driver Kyle Busch piloted the truck to its lone victory at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City last May.
KBM Notes of Interest
- KBM drivers have collected five wins, two poles, 566 laps led, 11 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 10.9 across 38 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 of 2016 and Christopher Bell went to Victory Lane in June of 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, the number which 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 (68) 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).