Noah Gragson was able to earn his sixth top-10 finish in a row last weekend at Kentucky Speedway during the Buckle Up In Your Truck 225.
Gragson started the race from the 11th position after qualifying was rained out. On top of earning his sixth top-10 finish in a row, Gragson also earned his second top-five of the season finishing fifth.
Gragson rolled off 11th and was complaining with a loose handling Toyota Tundra while running behind other trucks. He came down pit road for four Goodyear tires and a wedge adjustment during a caution just before the end of the first stage. He stayed out and gained track position at the end of the stage where he would restart second. Gragson earned a ninth-place finish in at the end of the stage, netting an all important two stage points.
After restarting second, Gragson assumed the lead. He led the entire stage with his boss and mentor Kyle Busch breathing down his neck. Gragson held off Busch for his first stage victory of his career. Gragson brought the No. 18 Switch Toyota Tundra to the attention of his team for four fresh tires and fuel. He’d restart the final stage in seventh.
The key to the race race appeared to be not winning a stage because as it turned out, both he and Stage 1 winner Ben Rhodes found issues. Rhodes was involved in a crash early in the second stage, ending his night and strong run. The final stage began that way for the Las Vegas native when on a restart, Gragson hit a bump that sent the truck spinning with just minor damage to the right front. Gragson continued after pitting for four tires, and while he made his way through the pack, could only work as far as fifth, where he would end the night.
“We led some laps during the second stage and were in a really good position running seventh to start the third stage. I just made a rookie mistake down there running the apron,” Gragson said post-race. “Not running this track before, I didn’t know there was a big bump there and I had a little bit of wheel into it down there in the front stretch and spun out. It was just a mistake by me and it cost us the race. I really think this Switch Tundra was capable of sitting in Victory Lane tonight. I’m pumped about coming back to finish in the top five. I made a mistake, but I’m going to learn from it and move forward.”