Noah Gragson got his diploma from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on Friday night, but it didn’t come with a championship.
From a restart on Lap 68 of 134, Gragson led 31 straight green-flag laps, battling gamely against Brett Moffitt for the entire stretch. But Moffitt made what proved to be the decisive pass on Lap 99 and went on to win the Ford EcoBoost 200 and the championship.
The race was the last with Kyle Busch Motorsports for Gragson, who will move to the NASCAR Xfinity Series next year in a JR Motorsports Chevrolet. And it was a bittersweet parting for the 20-year-old from Las Vegas.
“We needed to make better adjustments on pit road,” Gragson said after the race. “That’s where it comes down to me. I need to do a better job.
“On the bright side, racing for a championship, I never would have dreamed of that when I started racing six years ago that I’d be in this position. It’s my last truck race with Kyle Busch Motorsports. Man, I wanted to go out on top, but it just wasn’t meant to be…
“It’s just a bummer, but, hey, no bad days, right? We’re going to move on to the next year in the Xfinity Series. I’m pumped up about that, but this one is going to hurt for a while. Just very thankful.”
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community.
Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.