Gragson improves fastest speed, leads final practice
March 3, 2018
After finishing with the fifth fastest speed in the first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice session, Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 18 for Kyle Busch Motorsports, finished his final practice with the fastest speed of 178.775 and lap time of 31.011 seconds.
[I work on] just trying to learn the balance in the throttle of how much I can carry throughout the whole entire run.”
— Noah Gragson
“We qualify at a different time tomorrow, a little bit earlier, [so it] might be a little bit different,” Gragson said. “[I work on] just trying to learn the balance in the throttle of how much I can carry throughout the whole entire run.”
Ben Rhodes, driver of the No. 41 Safelite Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports, had the second fastest time of 178.775 mph and lap time of 31.011 seconds. After having the fastest speed during the first practice session, Justin Haley finished third in the final practice session with a fastest lap of 176.848 mph, 31.349 seconds. Jesse Little of the No. 97 Wings Over North Georgia Air Show Ford finished fourth with a fastest speed of 176.493 mph and lap time of 31.412 seconds. The fifth finish went to Dalton Sargeant with a fastest speed of 176.364 mph and lap time of 31.435 seconds.
“We get two sets of tires and in the first practice we started with our first set and we went all the way through our first practice session with the first set of tires. We were second on the board all the way through that practice and toward the end other guys started putting their second set of tires on, so they gained a lot more grip and made their cars better,” Gragson said. “[I] just [tried] to stay with what we know and stay to our plan. So we put our second set of tires on in the second practice. I think that’s why we were the top because those other guys already put their second set of tires on in the first practice.”
The big topic of conversation all day has been the aged track surface at Atlanta Motor Speedway and its impact on tire wear. Jesse Little, who managed the best ten-lap average in first practice, finished final practice with a ten-lap average of 173.383. Gragson jumped ahead of Little with a ten-lap average of 173.981. Ben Rhodes rounded out the top three with an average of 173.221.
Kyle Busch of the No. 4 Cessna Toyota finished sixth with a fastest speed of 176.073 mph and lap time of 31.487 seconds. The No. 21 Allegiant Airlines Chevrolet driver from GMS Racing, Johnny Sauter, finished ninth with a fastest speed of 174.467 mph and lap time of 31.744 seconds. The 12th finish went to Spencer Davis, driver of the No. 51 for Kyle Busch Motorsports, with a fastest time of 174.323 mph and lap time of 31.803 seconds.
Winston, Georgia driver Austin Hill finished 18th. The 21st finish went to Korbin Forrister from Cedartown, driver of the No. 7 Tru Clear Global Toyota. Wendell Chavous from Hephzibah finished 26th in final practice.
Two drivers, Clay Greenfield and Jennifer Jo Cobb, did not complete laps in the final practice session.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers get behind the wheel again tomorrow morning for qualifying at 10:35 a.m.