Coming off his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) victory last weekend at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Noah Gragson is eager to get back in his No. 18 Switch Tundra at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth this week. It will be his second race this season at Texas and since everything is bigger in Texas, he expects big results.
The 19-year-old rookie has been busy this week enjoying the accolades and recognition from his first win Saturday in Martinsville. After battling with NCWTS veterans Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter for the lead in the final 50 laps, Gragson made a move rarely seen at the flat, half-mile track. Following a caution, Gragson restarted second and was able to make the outside lane work as he battled side-by-side with Crafton for nearly a lap before successfully clearing him for the lead off the exit of turn four. Pulling away from the field, he led the final 10 laps en route to a 1.486-second margin of victory over Crafton and Sauter. It was a great race for all the Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) drivers with Harrison Burton finishing fourth, Todd Gilliland fifth and point leader Christopher Bell in eighth.
Gragson has high expectations for his second race in Texas on Friday night. During his first race there in June, he won his first NCWTS pole and finished the race seventh. Despite having one of the fastest trucks in the race, a loose wheel caused the team to make additional pit stops, which put them two laps down. Gragson rose to the challenge, got his laps back and fought his way back into the top 10 before the race ended.
While many are focused on the six drivers remaining in the 2017 playoffs, Gragson hopes to steal their thunder again this week with another win. Taking the same Toyota Tundra Kyle Busch won with at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May, the Las Vegas native is ready to see if he can make it two wins in a row. Adding a cowboy hat would be a nice addition to his growing trophy collection which already consists of a grandfather clock from Martinsville and a Winchester rifle from winning the Winchester 400 ARCA/CRA Super Series race, all of which came in October. Gragson is hoping to continue his winning ways into November and finish the season strong.