Noah Gragson claims his first NASCAR Truck win at Martinsville

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Noah Gragson claims his first NASCAR Truck win at Martinsville
Jim Utter
By: Jim Utter
Oct 28, 2017, 7:13 PM

Noah Gragson interrupted the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs to claim his first series victory.

Gragson powered around two-time series champion Matt Crafton on a restart with 10 of 200 laps remaining and held on to win Saturday’s Texas Roadhouse 200 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway for his first career victory.

The win for Gragson, 18, came in his 22nd career start. He finished fourth here in his first start at the iconic track in the spring.

“It was really tough racing against these veterans,” Gragson said. “For the last 40 laps I had Johnny Sauter trying to beat off my back bumper. He did that to us in the spring and I wasn’t going to let him pass me again like that again.

“We got that caution there at the end. You can’t pass on the outside at Martinsville, but I did it. All the hard work, I got the monkey off my back. All year I’ve been asked pretty much every day, ‘When are you going to get that win? When are we going to put up a banner at Kyle Busch Motorsports?’

“I’m just thankful for everyone who has brought me up in racing, I’m so very thankful. Man, I’m blown away.”

Crafton finished second, Johnny Sauter third, Harrison Burton ended up a career-best fourth and Todd Gilliland completed the top-five.

“I would have taken the outside (lane),” Crafton said when asked if he would have done something different on the restart. “This sucks.”

With 17 laps remaining, Bayley Currey spun exiting Turn 2 to bring out the caution. On the restart with 10 to go, Crafton led the way followed by Gragson, Sauter, Burton and Gilliland.

Crafton was the top-performing driver in the playoffs. Outside of Sauter in third, Christopher Bell ended up eighth, Ben Rhodes was ninth, Austin Cindric was 10th and John Hunter Nemechek ended up 30th.

Stage 2

Once Sauter got into the lead, he ran away from the field and easily captured the Stage 2 victory.

Craton finished second, Gragson third, Bell fourth and Chase Briscoe fifth.

Bell, who entered the race as the series points leader, got off to a slow start thanks to a 15th-place effort in qualifying. “I can tell the difference between sticker (tires) and non-stickers, but track position is everything,” Bell said over his team radio.

During pit stops after the break, Bell exited pit road first and took over the race lead, followed by Ryan Truex, Crafton, Gragson and Rhodes. Sauter, who had a slow stop, lined up seventh on the restart.

After wearing out Crafton’s rear bumper for several laps, Sauter finally got around him and into the lead for the first time on Lap 72.

With 20 laps to go in Stage 2, Sauter led the way followed by Crafton and Gragson.

There were no on-track incidents in the second 50-lap segment.

Stage 1

Crafton elected not to pit during the first 50-lap segment’s only caution and held on to the lead to claim the Stage 1 victory over Sauter.

Rhodes finished third, Ryan Truex was fourth and Gragson completed the top-five.

“That’s what we’re all about right now in these first two segments, we need to get all the Stage points we can,” Crafton said during the break.

On Lap 38, Nemechek exited Turn 2 and slammed into the outside wall, doing extensive damage to his truck. “We had no brake pedal,” Nemechek said over his team radio at the time.

Nemechek had to take his No. 8 Chevrolet to the garage and his race ended early. His chances to advance to the Championship 4 race at Homestead, Fla., took a giant hit. He will be credited with a 30th-place finish.

On the restart with six laps remaining in Stage 1, Crafton inherited the lead when he did not pit and was followed by Sauter and Rhodes.

Chris Windom immediately pulled his truck into the garage upon the start of the race due to engine issues. The team did not have a backup engine to use for the race.

Cla#DriverManufacturerLapsTimeLaps LedRetirementPoints
1 18 united_states Noah Gragson  Toyota 200   10   54
2 88 united_states Matt Crafton  Toyota 200 1.486 102   54
3 21 united_states Johnny Sauter  Chevrolet 200 1.916 33   53
4 51 united_states Harrison Burton  Toyota 200 2.268     39
5 46 united_states Todd Gilliland  Toyota 200 2.686     36
6 52 united_states Stewart Friesen  Chevrolet 200 3.497     33
7 33 united_states Kaz Grala  Chevrolet 200 3.794     35
8 4 united_states Christopher Bell  Toyota 200 4.168 16   36
9 27 united_states Ben Rhodes  Toyota 200 4.505     36
10 19 united_states Austin Cindric  Ford 200 4.867     31
11 24 united_states Justin Haley  Chevrolet 200 5.458     29
12 98 united_states Grant Enfinger  Toyota 200 6.151     25
13 16 united_states Ryan Truex  Toyota 200 6.361     31
14 92 united_states Regan Smith  Ford 200 7.452     23
15 87 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 200 7.509      
16 02 united_states Austin Hill  Chevrolet 200 8.214     21
17 83 united_states Landon Huffman  Chevrolet 200 9.369     20
18 99 united_states Cale Gale  Chevrolet 200 9.489     20
19 29 united_states Chase Briscoe  Ford 199 1 lap 39   26
20 13 united_states Cody Coughlin  Toyota 199 1 lap     17
21 49 united_states Wendell Chavous  Chevrolet 199 1 lap     16
22 45 united_states Jeffrey Abbey  Chevrolet 199 1 lap     15
23 86 united_states Mason Diaz  Chevrolet 198 2 laps     17
24 1 united_states Jordan Anderson  Chevrolet 198 2 laps     13
25 50 Bayley Currey  Chevrolet 196 4 laps     12
26 20 united_states Jeb Burton  Chevrolet 174 26 laps   Rear gear  
27 6 united_states Norm Benning  Chevrolet 153 47 laps   Brakes 10
28 10 united_states Jennifer Jo Cobb  Chevrolet 108 92 laps   Oil pipe 9
29 44 united_states Austin Wayne Self  Chevrolet 61 139 laps   Engine 8
30 8 united_states John Hunter Nemechek  Chevrolet 37 163 laps   Accident 7
31 15 united_states Gray Gaulding  Chevrolet 26 174 laps   Electrical  
32 63 united_states Chris Windom  Chevrolet 0     Engine 5

 

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About this article

Series NASCAR Truck
Event Martinsville II
Location Martinsville Speedway
Drivers Noah Gragson
Teams Kyle Busch Motorsports
Author Jim Utter
Article type Breaking news