By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
In a relatively calm race at Martinsville Speedway, track position, or the lack thereof, kept Noah Gragson from earning a better result. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver ran the Texas Roadhouse 200 with zero practice on a brand-new set-up in his Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra.
Gragson’s No. 18 Safelite Auto Glass Toyota Tundra moved back into the top-10 late in the 200-lap race. Slow pit stops robbed his Toyota of the valuable track position. Changing track conditions also hindered Gragson’s progress through the field in his untested set-up. When the checkered flag waved, the Playoff Grid driver found himself in seventh.
The strength of Gragson’s Tundra was seen in the first two stages of the race. He finished runner-up in both stages to eventual race winner, and fellow Playoff driver Johnny Sauter.
In the final stage of the race, Gragson, along with his KBM teammates, Todd Gilliland, Harrison Burton, and Christian Eckes faded. The drivers out of the KBM-stable didn’t make their presence known until around the 150th circuit.
“Overall it was a good day for our Safelite Toyota Tundra,” Gragson commented. “We had one goal and that was to gain as many points as possible or obviously win. Pit stops, we got a little behind there and it was almost impossible to pass. Just thankful to be out here racing and I’m happy with the result. With the first two stages, gaining nine points in each is what we needed to do coming here.
“Moving on to Texas, got one goal and that’s to collect as many points as possible and go to Homestead and race for a championship.”
The seventh-place finish is the 14th top-10 finish for Gragson this season. He remains second in the Championship Points Standings, 29-Points behind Sauter. Gragson is now 22-Points ahead of the cutoff for the Championship Four, held by Grant Enfinger, heading into next weekend’s race at Texas Motor Speedway.