Although a rookie in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), 19-year-old Noah Gragson is no rookie to road course racing. In fact, he has been looking forward to this race all season and knows he has a great shot at his first NCWTS victory this weekend north of the border at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) in Bowmanville, Ont.
Gragson had three road course victories in 2016. In the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West he claimed two wins at the Utah Motorsports Campus in Grantsville and finished second at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway after leading 34 of 64 laps. In the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East he took the checkered flag at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville after leading eight laps.
A win on Sunday at CTMP would not only be his first in the Truck Series, but it would also secure his place in the eight-driver playoffs. With only two races remaining in the regular season, there is a lot on the line for Gragson to outrun his competitors on the 2.459-mile, 10-turn road course. He is currently 10th in the playoff point system, 34 points out of eighth, which is the cutoff to make the 2017 NCWTS playoffs. Although not impossible to make it in on points, a win would be a guarantee.
His Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) team has prepared a new No. 18 Switch Tundra for this weekend. Chassis KBM-049 will make its debut and hopefully end its inaugural run in Victory Lane. Gragson's crew chief, Marcus Richmond, nearly made it there last year as his driver Cole Custer battled through the grass coming to the finish line, but came up just short in second place behind John Hunter Nemechek.
In the four races held at CTMP since 2013, there have been four different winners. The last two winners, Nemechek (2016) and Erik Jones (2015) were both 19 when they won. In fact, Ryan Blaney was the oldest driver to win this race at the age of 20 in 2014, and Chase Elliott was the youngest at only 17 in 2013. Bet your loonies that Gragson could likely become the next teen to win in Canada.