Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Gragson Advances to Championship Race with Phoenix Runner-Up Finish

By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor

Though he would have liked to have ended the night in Victory Lane, Noah Gragson got the next best thing with a runner-up finish at ISM Raceway, paving the way to a berth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season finale next weekend.

Gragson entered the night in the fourth and final spot in the Championship 4, sitting 18 points ahead of the cut-off, and kicked things off on the right foot by winning the pole and leading the first 32 laps of the race. He would go on to finish the first stage in second and followed up in the second stage with an eighth-place result.

By lap 136, Gragson returned to the lead on the penultimate restart of the race following a 10 minute, 47 second red flag. He would stay up front for another 11 laps before a caution with six circuits remaining reset the field and gave everyone another shot at Gragson and the win.

On the restart, Gragson and Grant Enfinger fought hard for the race lead, but in the process, allowed eventual winner Brett Moffitt to move past them. Eventually, Gragson would free himself of the battle with Enfinger, but ran out of time to run Moffitt back down, having to settle for second place.

“I just got run up the hill in turns one and two on the restart and it was just hard racing honestly,” said Gragson of the final restart. “Beating and banging, that’s what ISM Raceway is all about. Main focus was to get to next weekend in Homestead and obviously I wanted this win, led a lot of laps early in the race and slid through my pit box and had to restart in the back just a mistake on my part.

“We’re on to the next round and that’s what we came here to do obviously. Can’t thank all the Safelite AutoGlass KBM guys – they worked their tails off on this Safelite AutoGlass Toyota Tundra and I’m so thankful. Just a heartbreak, I thought we had it before that caution. It is what it is, we move onto next weekend and I’ll take second and try to win the next one.”

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David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.