Toyota Young Guns, Ryan Truex and Noah Gragson Have Proven They Can Competeby Benjamin Sanders November 17, 2017
Young Toyota Racing drivers, Ryan Truex and Noah Gragson are proud of how their first full-time seasons in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series have gone. Both have been fast and have shown glimpses of race-winning attributes, but they know that improving consistency is key heading into the offseason and 2018. Each driver has the potential and the social media marketability to take the next step.
Ryan Truex has seemingly been around forever, touted as the next great thing by Michael Waltrip Racing, but like his older brother, Martin Truex Jr., the younger Truex has faced more professional disappointment than success, including having lapped cars cost him an XFINITY Series win at Dover in 2012 and failing to qualify for the 2014 Daytona 500.
This season, a more mature Ryan Truex has emerged and results on the track have shown these improvements, scoring 12 top-10 finishes, seven of which being top-fives. Truex had a career high second place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September
“We’ve definitely turned some heads this year,” Truex said. “We got a little late start, but once we got to Kansas and Charlotte, we were able to turn the corner. Since then I feel like we’ve been a top-five team.”
He feels some disappointment about missing the Playoffs, but he did everything that he could for his small team.
“We would have liked to make the Playoffs, but we’ve run really well and have done everything but win,” Truex said. “This team deserves it, Shige (Hattori) deserves it, Chiba Toyopet, Seawatch and everyone that’s made this program what it is deserve it too.”
For Gragson, his rookie season has been defined by having speed and crashing due to other circumstances, but he finally put the entire race together to win the coveted Martinsville Speedway grandfather clock during the NASCAR Playoff race in October.
“We’ve had speed, we’ve had three poles and we’ve got a win checked off the list, so now it’s all trying to prepare for the future,” Gragson said. “Looking back on it, we’ve had a lot of highs and lows, probably more lows than highs, but I’ve become a much different driver over the course of the season.”
Overall, Gragson puts almost too much pressure on himself, but he is proud of what he has learned this season.
“I’ve grown a lot and feel like I’ve improved a lot from the beginning of the year,” Gragson said. “I am always trying to learn from my mistakes I made earlier in the year and not make them again. I definitely want to end the season on a high note with another win Friday night.”
Both drivers are looking forward to ending the season on a high note on the high banks of Homestead-Miami Speedway tonight. Live coverage will broadcast at 8.p.m. on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN).
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com