Noah Gragson takes advantage of current opportunities as Trophy Series games loom

In today’s NASCAR scene, few can claim to be the kind of lightning rod Noah Gragson has become, and even less can be just as many things as he has been in the last month: a playboy boy standing topless next to his car. A reckless idiot, he intentionally pitted a right on a driver who angered him, destroying dozens of cars in the process Earn key points and a fine. An outstanding young racer, he makes his car wide and beats Ty Gibbs on the last lap to win an exciting race at the Pocono.

It’s this broad spectrum of personalities that has made Gragson one of NASCAR’s most compelling young newcomers. A 24-year-old from Las Vegas with a personality that perfectly fits the archetype of the “evil race car driver”, Gragson offers something of a modern reimagining of old drivers – the kind who once specialized in driving fast, drinking beer and getting into fights.

It’s no wonder Gragson has become one of the best drivers in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, racking up three wins this season and desperately seeking the Series Championship. Besides, this year gave him his first taste of Cup Series racing. He’s run eight races so far, splitting time between #16 at Kaulig Racing and #62 Beard Motorsports where he has gained sitting time and experience at the highest level of his career.

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“It’s a huge honor to be able to race in the Cup Series and the race in general,” Gregson told CBS Sports. “…Running the Cup Series, we’ve put in a lot of hard work. There are still long ways to go, but that’s what we’re working towards and that’s where the goal was. But I never dreamed that you would be able to race in the Cup Series, Not to mention the Truck Series or the K&N Series back in the day, you know?”

Gregson’s Cup results weren’t there yet, accidents and mechanical failures have cut half his races so far and his best finish was just 18 in Kansas. But as Gragson’s star continues to shine at Xfinity, it’s as if NASCAR is eagerly awaiting Gragson’s transition to a full-time cup flight. The recruitment process has already begun, with Petty GMS Racing reportedly being one team Gragson is targeting to lead them next year.

When asked about conversations he’s had about driving the Cup car, Gregson made it clear that he hasn’t signed anything for 2023 – which is natural for him, working on annual deals up to this point in his career. . Gragson said the goal is for him and car owners Dale Earnhardt Jr. And Kelley Earnhardt MIller is to have Gragson eventually compete for a cup car for JR Motorsports, but that goal has yet to be met because JR Motorsports has not put a program together. To move from Xfinity to Cup – Even as they look to do so.

It’s clear why this scenario would be ideal for Gregson: Since he first joined JR Motorsports in 2019, he has found a place to be offered the chassis and support system needed for a young man still trying to come of age and discovering the world. However, JR Motorsports has given Gregson the space he needs to be himself and allow his fiery personality and driving talent to flourish.

In proof of this, Gregson directly cited his relationship with Ryan Pemberton, the team’s competition director, as well as others from both JR Motorsports and Kaulig Racing on the trophy side.

“[Pemberton has] “It made it encouraging and comforting for a driver like me who, yes, probably has a unique personality. They let me be myself, have expectations when we get to the racetrack, and that is win the races and do the best job you can and be ready when we show up,” said Gregson.

There is no doubt that Gregson is in a place and in a position to be happy. This situation includes racing in the Xfinity Series, spending weekends in the garage area, and competing for wins and championships there. It’s a position that many other young drivers enjoy as well, until they get their first chance to drive a full-time Cup car.

This is where Gregson deviates from some of his contemporaries. Instead of looking to the future in the Cup car with starry eyes, Gragson speaks as someone who doesn’t feel like his time in Xfinity is running out, nor does he feel that there are only things he can accomplish in Xfinity now. If anything, it’s part of him squeezing the hand and trying to push him out of the nest toward the next expected step toward big time.

“I’ve been getting a lot of questions,” Gregson asked. “Everyone hints at, ‘Cup, cup’ – why?”. “Our aim is to race and win races. I think the main focus here should be this year and the rest of the season with this championship.

“…I enjoy the races in this series and I enjoy the people, and I enjoy JR Motorsports. I hope to compete with JR Motorsports and to have a chance in the future to chase the Xfinity Championship will be a great opportunity for me. I want to say it is the last year I will be facing JR Motorsports .