While Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago is known as the "Magnificent Mile," Noah Gragson is hoping Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet will be his "Magnificent Mile-and-a-Half." Gragson needs a win Friday night to make the NASCAR playoffs in his rookie season. Winning at Chicagoland would be truly magnificent.
Gragson has never raced at Chicagoland before, but has shown improvement throughout the season on the many 1.5-mile tracks on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) schedule. After having clutch issues at Kansas Speedway in May resulting in a 28th-place finish, Gragson has not finished outside the top 10 on a 1.5-mile track. In fact, he scored his second top-five finish of the season at Kentucky Speedway in July. He will get some extra experience at Chicagoland on Thursday running the ARCA Racing Series event for Venturini Motorsports.
He has momentum on his side coming off his best career NCWTS finish (second) at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park two weeks ago, and a trip to Victory Lane last weekend when he returned to The Bullring at Las Vegas. In front of his hometown crowd, Gragson passed the points leader on a restart with nine laps remaining in the 50-lap NASCAR Super Late Model race and held on for the checkered flag. Gragson climbed the fence to celebrate after earning his 14th career win at the 3/8-mile track.
Taking the same Switch Tundra he finished fifth with at Kentucky, Gragson would like to do more fence climbing on Friday night. With 47 points separating him from eighth place, the final cutoff for the playoffs, he is in a must-win situation. He has his eye on the prize and knows what he needs to do. He has 150 laps to achieve his goal and have a magnificent night at Chicagoland.