For Noah Gragson, racing in this Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300 will be the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.
The 20-year-old Las Vegas native is excited to return to Las Vegas Motor Speedway and drive a stock car on the “big track” he grew up visiting, and the NASCAR Xfinity Series rookie will be smiling from ear to ear when he climbs into the No. 9 Switch Chevrolet for JR Motorsports for the 200-lap race.
“It was quite a privilege to race in the Truck Series on the big track, and it feels even cooler now that I’m actually racing a car there,” said Gragson, who has 14 career wins at LVMS’s short track, The Bullring. “I grew up racing Bandoleros, Legends and Super Late Models at The Bullring, and I always dreamed of racing a car on the big track. I always looked at Turns 1 and 2 of the big track from The Bullring and thought, ‘Man, it’d be cool to race a car there one day.’
“Now, it’s finally happening.”
Gragson drove in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series last year, finishing as the runner-up for the title after a strong run through the Playoffs. He won in Kansas in May and had 16 other top-10 finishes, while also finishing 12th in Las Vegas in March and 18th after starting on the pole in September.
He’ll be looking to put on a show for a large group of supporters he expects to be in the grandstands at the 1.5-mile speedway on Saturday.
“To be able to race in front of all my family, friends and sponsors Switch and Bmor that are both based out of Las Vegas, that’s really special to me,” Gragson said. “It’ll be quite the time to get back to my home town, that’s for sure.”
Gragson finished 11th in Daytona and ninth last weekend in Atlanta and comes to LVMS looking to continue to grow and learn as a driver, while also working out the kinks that come with being part of a new race team.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of learning to be done,” he said. “We ran better than 11th in Daytona all day and got kind of lucky in Atlanta. We’re still trying to learn each other, myself, my crew chief Dave Elenz and the rest of the team, figure each other out and figure the lingo out. It’s going to take time, but leaving the Vegas test, I felt good about it.”
Gragson was one of 21 NASCAR drivers who participated in a two-day test at LVMS Jan. 31-Feb. 1, and he said that seat time will help him as he approaches the Boyd Gaming 300.
“It was great, especially getting to race with Kyle Busch, who is going to be the guy to beat on Saturday,” Gragson said. “Just having a little extra time behind the wheel is definitely a positive. I’m just going to take as much as I can from that test, learn as much as I can coming into this weekend, go out there and do the best I can.”
Ross Chastain took the checkered flag at the last NASCAR Xfinity Series race at LVMS in September and is driving the No. 4 Chevrolet for JD Motorsports, while Christopher Bell will be going for two in a row in the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing after winning in Atlanta on Saturday.
Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300 starts at 1 p.m. Pacific Time and will be televised live on Fox Sports 1. Click here for a look at Saturday’s tentative entry list.
LVMS’s spring 2019 NASCAR Weekend begins with Strat Qualifying and the Strat 200 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race on Friday, March 1, continues with the NASCAR Xfinity Series Boyd Gaming 300 on Saturday, March 2, and finishes with the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, March 3. That NASCAR action will be preceded by two nights of World of Outlaws action on Feb. 27 and 28 and the Star Nursery 100 K&N Pro Series West race on Thursday, Feb. 28, at the LVMS Dirt Track, giving the nearly 1,000-acre facility five consecutive days of top-notch racing.
For tickets to all events, or for specialty items like Neon Garage passes, Lucky 7 parking permits or driver introduction passes, call 1-800-644-4444 or log on to LVMS.com.