NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoff driver Noah Gragson has proven that he can race well at difficult race tracks. He’s won the Winchester 400 at Winchester Speedway, a half-mile track at which it is difficult to win. But Gragson has not yet figured out Pensacola, Florida’s Five Flags Speedway. As a result, Gragson will be racing this Saturday night in search of his first victory at the legendary race track.
Gragson will be racing with his Kyle Busch Motorsports team at Five Flags this Saturday in the penultimate race for the Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco. The Deep South Cranes 150 presented by Earnest Performance will be streamed live on Speed51.com and aired via a tape-delayed broadcast on MAVTV as part of Speed51’s Short Track America.
The Las Vegas native said he plans on attempting to race in the Snowball Derby in December for the fourth year in a row. To get ready for that race, he said racing this weekend, an off-weekend for his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule, is important to get up to speed in a Super Late Model.
“I feel like I struggle down there so I’m just trying to get back into the Super Late Model feel,” Gragson said. “It’s a really tough place and I don’t get to run very many Super Late Model races.
“It’s just one of the toughest short tracks I’ve been to. There’s really only three guys that run at that place really well and that’s Bubba Pollard, Jeff Choquette and Casey Roderick. Those three guys are really good. The rest of us short track guys I don’t feel are terrible there, but me personally I feel like I struggle there.”
Gragson has run the Snowball Derby three times. His best finish came in 2016 when he finished ninth after starting seventh. Last year’s race was his first Derby with KBM. He finished 12th after starting 20th while his car owner and teammate, Kyle Busch, went on to score the victory.
As a result of his personal struggles, Gragson said he and his team have some different things they want to try to this weekend to hopefully be stronger when December rolls around.
“We have some stuff with the cars that we want to try and get better from last year to this year. We kind of struggled at the Derby. I know Kyle won, but we ran a completely different package from him. We’re just trying to figure out what I like best and where we can be better.”
The two-time winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series currently finds himself fourth in the series standings, 23 points ahead of the cutline as the series heads to its first elimination race of the playoffs at Talladega Superspeedway next month.
Gragson said a win on Saturday in Pensacola would go a long way for his overall confidence level.
“I think if you can go to those guys’ home track and beat them then it gives you all the confidence in the world; sometimes more confidence than you’d get off of a Truck Series win because those guys race there every weekend. That’s what they know. I think their amount of talent gets overlooked. Those are the best short track guys in the country there so if you can beat them I think it goes a long way.”
Race fans can watch Noah Gragson take on the best of the Southern Super Series live on Speed51.com with our pay-per-view broadcast. Fans can purchase their online video ticket for just $19.99 by clicking here.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Associate Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo credit: Speed51.com