After a six-week hiatus in racing, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series(NCWTS) returns to action at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City on Friday, May 12 in the Toyota Tundra 250. Rookie driver Noah Gragson certainly wasn't bored during the break in racing, in fact he accomplished quite a lot, including graduating from high school a month early.
The 18-year-old Las Vegas native set a goal to finish his online studies before the end of April so he could move to Charlotte, N.C., to be closer to his Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) team before the season gets into full swing. His time in front of the computer was spent doing school work, except for the occasional iRacing challenge to do some professional homework as well. On April 25, Gragson took his last final exam to finish his high school career and begin the next chapter of his life.
With school in the rear-view mirror, Gragson can focus on his No. 18 Switch Tundra. His homework now consists of studying videos of past races, taking notes in competition meetings and applying what he has learned to the race track. He does have some experience at Kansas after competing in the ARCA Racing Series event last fall there. Running for Venturini Motorsports, he started eighth and finished fifth while gaining 100 laps of valuable seat time.
He also has the resources of KBM to help him prepare. KBM teams have won twice at Kansas, once with owner-driver Kyle Busch in 2014 and then William Byron in 2016. They have collected nine top-10 finishes in 15 starts and led 340 laps at the 1.5-mile oval.
Now Gragson will be put to the test at Kansas to use what he learned racing there last year, along with the aerodynamic experience he gained in the truck at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway earlier this year. Coming off his first top-five finish in the NCWTS (fourth at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on April 1), Gragson and his KBM team would like to keep the momentum going with another strong finish in the Switch Tundra at Kansas.