Gragson to Pull Double Duty at Pocono
Noah Gragson will have a busy weekend at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., making his double-duty debut at the 2.5-mile tri-oval. The 19-year-old rookie will make his first start at Pocono in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) on Saturday and his second start in the ARCA Racing Series on Friday. It will be the first time Gragson has run two races at the same track in the same weekend this season.
Coming off his seventh consecutive NCWTS top-10 finish last week at Eldora, Gragson is eager to get his No. 18 Switch Tundra back on pavement during practice Friday. With five races remaining before the playoffs begin, he is doing everything he can to be one of the eight drivers contending for the championship. He has not finished outside of the top 10 since Kansas Speedway on May 12, which has moved him up to ninth in the driver point standings, only seven points out of eighth.
To help Gragson prepare for the truck race, he will also be competing in Friday's ARCA race. Although there are considerable differences between the Toyota Camry and Tundra he will be racing, the additional laps learning the track will be quite valuable. Gragson started last year's ARCA race at Pocono in sixth place, but on the first lap encountered a mechanical issue which sent him to the garage for much of the race. He was able to return to the track for the last half of the race, but hopes to have a much better showing this time around.
Bouncing between two garages is nothing new for Gragson's boss, Kyle Busch, who will also be competing in the NCWTS race on Saturday. Busch captured KBM's first win at the "Tricky Triangle" in 2015 leading 53 of 69 laps. William Byron made it back-to-back wins for KBM leading 44 of 60 laps in last year's event. Saturday Gragson, Busch and Christopher Bell will be looking to make it three in a row for KBM at Pocono. While Gragson is still looking for his first Truck Series win, Bell has claimed three victories (Atlanta, Texas and Kentucky) in 2017 and Busch has two wins (Kansas and Charlotte) under his belt.
While racing in two different series in the same weekend may be challenging, Gragson sees it as an opportunity to gain experience and a chance to take home two trophies in one trip.
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