Noah Gragson Outruns Camping World Truck Series Veterans For First Win At Martinsvilleby Camille Jones October 28, 2017
RIDGEWAY, Va. – Noah Gragson won his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday afternoon in the Texas Roadhouse 200 Presented by Alpha Energy Solutions after making a stellar pass on Matt Crafton on the final restart with 10 laps to go.
Gragson, the driver of the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 18 Switch Toyota won in his 22nd start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The 19-year-old Las Vegas native started on the outside of Matt Crafton on the final restart of the afternoon. With momentum on the outside, Gragson was able to get ahead and in front of Crafton to solidify the top spot. Gragson held on to the lead in the final laps to win the race. He celebrated his victory by climbing the catchfence of the half-mile track.
“It’s really tough racing against these veterans,” Gragson said. “Those last like 40 laps with Johnny Sauter being off my back bumper, he did that earlier to that to us in the spring and I wasn’t gonna let him pass me again like that. We got that caution there at the end and you can’t pass on the outside in Martinsville and I did it.”
The rookie has finished in the top-10 in 12 races this season. He led just 10 laps on Saturday. Prior to Saturday, his best finish in the series was a runner-up finish at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in September.
Crafton was forced to settle for a second-place finish after leading 102 laps on Saturday. Crafton said following the race that he felt he had given up yet another chance to win at Martinsville Speedway. Crafton in the ThorSport Racing No. 88 Menards Toyota earned the Stage 1 victory.
“The outside rolled on the start, the bottom would rubber up so much and the top just had a good groove out there, but once you get going the bottom would be preferred,” Crafton said. “On a start you can make the outside roll, just because there’s not as much rubber built up on the bottom.”
Earning the Stage 2 victory but not having enough at the end to battle for the race win was Johnny Sauter. NASCAR Next drivers Harrison Burton and Todd Gilliland completed the top-five in the finishing order, while Stewart Friesen, Kaz Grala, Christopher Bell, Ben Rhodes and Austin Cindric rounded out the top-10.
There were six cautions for a total of 45 laps in the 200-lap race.
John Hunter Nemechek’s race ended when he made hard contact with the wall in his No. 8 Fire Alarm Services, Inc. Chevrolet. The caution came out on lap 39 for the NASCAR Playoff contender as he limped his truck to the garage. Nemechek finished in the 30th position due to being unable to make repairs.
On lap 123, the caution fell when Crafton sent Bell for a spin as the two battled for the lead. Crafton continued, but Bell ended up at the back of the field. He was able to recover to finish in the eighth position.
The final multi-truck accident of the afternoon occurred on lap 138 when Justin Haley and Chase Briscoe crashed in Turn 2. Haley finished 11th, and Briscoe who started from the pole crossed the finish line in 19th.
Christopher Bell maintains the lead in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff standings. The top-six drivers in the NASCAR Playoffs have one more race to battle it out to lock in a chance to win a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Bell leads the way with Sauter (-3), Crafton (-15), Rhodes (-34), Cindric (-45) and Nemechek (-62) behind him.
The Camping World Truck Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway for the JAG Metals 350 Driving Hurricane Harvey Relief on Friday, November 3 at 8 p.m. ET. Live race coverage will broadcast on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN).
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com