Right now, Noah Gragson is in a good position to advance to the second round of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs. The Kyle Busch Motorsports driver is 23 points to the good heading to the cutoff race of the first round this weekend at the Talladega Superspeedway. Despite that, Gragson knows that no advantage is too safe heading into a track like Talladega and that he just needs to not jeopardize everything he’s built up until this point in Saturday’s Fr8Auction 250 (1 p.m. ET/FOX/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
“Talladega is going to be an interesting race,” Gragson said ahead of this weekend’s final race of the first round. “We are 23 points to the good of the cutoff for advancing in the championship, but as everyone knows anything can happen at Talladega. Hopefully we will have a fast Safelite AutoGlass Toyota Tundra — my guys have been working really hard. Hopefully we can stay up front throughout the race, be up front at the end and contend for the win. Ultimately, it’s about making it to the next round – big-picture racing – and trying not to jeopardize that by eliminating ourselves from the race. It’s going to be a wild race for sure and a fun one to watch afterwards on TV.”
Gragson, said that he’s still warming up to superspeedway racing but and that he’s not the best at it yet. He noted that he finished only one start on his restrictor plate career and that it came in this past spring’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Talladega.
“I’m trying to be optimistic about superspeedway racing — I’m not the greatest at it,” Gragson said on racing at either Daytona or Talladega. “I feel like I could be, if I wanted to make bold moves and be aggressive, but I kind of take the approach of being there at the end and trying to be smart throughout the race. That hasn’t worked out great — I’ve only finished one speedway race in my career at the checkered flag and that was actually in the Xfinity Series race this year at Talladega when I finished fourth. Being able to run the truck there again, hopefully I can finish like I did in the Xfinity car and it will be all good. I’m excited to get back to superspeedway racing — it’s a little bit different and I definitely have to change my mindset going into the weekend that’s for sure.”
The truck that Gragson will be driving has had some past success.
Christopher Bell captured KBM’s first-ever superspeedway pole and went on to score a runner-up finish with this same Tundra in last year’s Truck Series race at Talladega. Owner-driver Kyle Busch led 25 laps with KBM-13 en route to the victory in the 2014 season-opening event at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Gragson also raced it back in February at Daytona where he qualified sixth and finished 23rd in the 2018 season opener.