With only four races remaining in the regular season of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), Noah Gragson is still fighting for a spot in the eight-driver playoffs. Five drivers have already punched their tickets to the playoffs with wins this season, which leaves three spots left to fill. Gragson is not giving up on making it into the playoffs in his rookie campaign.
Gragson felt that Eldora Speedway in Ohio would be his wild-card race and was concerned about how he would fare in the points after his dirt debut. He exceeded his own expectations and posted a top-10 finish. He left Eldora only seven points out of eighth place, which is the cut-off to make the playoffs. Unfortunately, an accident the following week at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway set him back to 37 points out of eighth. Now his best shot is to win one of the next four races.
The 19-year-old has never even been to the state of Michigan, let alone Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, but that has not deterred him from keeping his eye on the prize - a trip to Victory Lane. Since the trucks do not race at Auto Club Speedway in California, the sister track to Michigan, this will be Gragson's first race on a fast, two-mile oval. He has spent hours watching races from the last two years there, when his KBM teammate Christopher Bell nearly won last year and his owner Kyle Busch did win in 2015. Both Bell and Busch will be in the truck race this weekend battling for the win themselves.
Although Gragson has yet to win this year, the Switch Tundra he will be driving at Michigan is a proven winner. Busch led 90 laps en route to the win with this Tundra in its first outing at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May. He also raced it at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta last month where he finished sixth.
Gragson is hoping he'll have the luck of the Irish Hills on his side this weekend at Michigan. Rather than a pot of gold, he wants to claim one of the final three spots in the NCWTS playoffs.