Wednesday, Jun 29

Noah Gragson This is Talladega

This weekend the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) competes in its second and final restrictor-plate race of the season at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. For Noah Gragson, it will feel like his first drafting race in the Truck Series since he was eliminated from contention on the second lap of the season opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway when he was hit from behind by Chase Briscoe. The old saying "to finish first, first you must finish" is never truer than at a restrictor-plate race where drafting in packs often results in multi-vehicle accidents.
 
Drivers use different strategies throughout the race to try to avoid "the big one." Gragson and his crew chief, Marcus Richmond, believe staying up front is the best way to accomplish that. Richmond knows a thing, or two, about winning at Talladega since he has two wins and three poles at the 2.66-mile track. He made it to Victory Lane in 2014 and 2015 with NCWTS veteran Timothy Peters. This time Richmond would like to get his third win, but with a rookie.
 
Gragson has one prior start at Talladega when he competed in the ARCA Racing Series event for Venturini Motorsports in May.  He started on the front row in second place and led one lap, but was scored in 30th place after getting caught up in an accident on lap 36 of 82. Although there are few similarities between an ARCA car and a truck, getting familiar with the track and the feel of the draft gave Gragson some practical experience before hitting the track for practice this Friday.
 
The 19-year-old has had a pretty good week so far after winning the prestigious Winchester 400 ARCA/CRA Super Series race at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway on Sunday. Gragson had never raced at the half-mile track before, but led 138 laps total, including the final seven, and took the checkered flag in his Switch Camry and celebrated by climbing the fence on the front stretch. It was his second start in a Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) late model this year.
 
The Las Vegas native will also pay tribute this weekend to those affected by the tragic shooting in his hometown on Oct.1. His Switch Tundra will carry the #VegasStrong hashtag on the television panel, while the DriversforVegas.com logo will be displayed on the rear quarterpanels. Gragson joined with other NASCAR drivers from Las Vegas to give fans a way to help the victims and families of the tragedy. Fans are encouraged to check out DriversForVegas.com to purchase one of the items available, or to simply make a donation.
 
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