Gragson Battles for the Win in the Closing Laps at Phoenix

Gragson Battles for the Win in the Closing Laps at Phoenix Getty Images for NASCAR
Noah Gragson returned to Phoenix International Raceway where he made his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start one year ago. This race was a very different experience for the 19-year-old rookie. Instead of learning the feel of the trucks and track, he was competing for the win and was within laps of reaching Victory Lane until an accident with seven to go ended his bid for the win. He was credited with a 15th-place finish.
 
Stage One Recap:
  • Gragson started second, but took the lead on the first lap from his KBM teammate and pole sitter, Christopher Bell. After leading nine laps, Bell moved into the first position and Gragson maintained second. That is where both drivers finished the first stage.
Stage Two Recap:
  • Gragson pitted for right-side tires on lap 44 and was still second when Stage Two began. His Switch Tundra was fast and he remained second until a caution on lap 78 ended the stage a few laps early. This time he pitted for four tires and a track bar adjustment to begin the final 70-lap stage.
Stage Three Recap:
  • Gragson was second when the final stage began, but not for long. With a strong restart, he took the lead from Bell again and pulled away from the field. He told the team his Tundra was handling really well.
  • A series of accidents slowed the final 20 laps of the 150-lap race. The first two which brought out the red flag for extensive track clean-up happened behind Gragson. Bell had just taken the lead before a caution on lap 136 putting Gragson in second.
  • When the race resumed with 10 laps to go, the teammates raced side by side for a few laps, until Gragson's truck got loose running inside of Bell. As Gragson spun, his Tundra made heavy contact with the wall, ending his night with a 15th-place finish.

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Steven B. Wilson

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