Overstock.com Racing: Noah Gragson Talladega Advance

NOAH GRAGSON
Talladega Advance
No. 10 Overstock.com Ford Mustang Dark Horse

Event Overview

● Event: GEICO 500 (Round 10 of 36)
● Time/Date: 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 21
● Location: Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway
● Layout: 2.66-mile oval
● Laps/Miles: 188 laps/500 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 60 laps / Stage 2: 60 laps / Final Stage: 68 laps
● TV/Radio: FOX / MRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Notes of Interest

● Noah Gragson brings his quiet consistency to Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway for Sunday’s GEICO 500 NASCAR Cup Series race. The driver of the No. 10 Overstock.com Ford Mustang Dark Horse for Stewart-Haas Racing comes into the 10th race of the season with three straight top-20 finishes. While none of those performances will be mounted over the mantle, that kind of solid consistency is key to emerging from Talladega with points in hand as opposed to being in a points hole. The 2.66-mile oval is notorious for sending drivers to an early exit via The Big One, the perfunctory multicar accident that dashes any hope of victory and leaves drivers with just a handful of points and a garage full of mangled parts. In three career Cup Series starts at Talladega, Gragson has two top-20 finishes. His most recent Talladega start in last year’s GEICO 500 ended on lap 190 when he was collected in a seven-car melee.

● Don’t let Gragson’s quiet consistency fool you. The Las Vegas-native can also be loud. At the 2.5-mile Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway – the sister track to Talladega – Gragson owns two top-10 finishes, including his career-best result of fifth in July 2022.

● Prior to joining the elite NASCAR Cup Series, Gragson spent five years in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (2018-2022). In eight career Xfinity Series starts at Talladega, Gragson finished 11th or better seven times with six top-10s and three top-fives. His highlight was a victory in April 2022 when Gragson beat Jeffrey Earnhardt to the stripe by .131 of a second.

● Gragson’s first Xfinity Series win came at Daytona in February 2020. He went on to score 12 more Xfinity Series victories before moving to the NASCAR Cup Series.

● Gragson has two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts at Talladega. In October 2017, Gragson finished 14th. He returned a year later and one-upped his performance by finishing 13th.

● Gragson first took to the Talladega oval in May 2017 via the ARCA Menards Series. It started off well with Gragson qualifying second and taking the lead on the first lap. But on lap 37 of the 82-lap race, Gragson was swept into a six-car accident that ended his day.

● At Talladega in October 2018, Stewart-Haas enjoyed one of its most dominant days ever. The team qualified 1-2-3-4 for the first time in its history. Stewart-Haas drivers then led 155 of the race’s 193 laps (80.3 percent), including the last lap by Aric Almirola, who delivered Stewart-Haas’ milestone 50th points-paying NASCAR Cup Series victory and the organization’s 11th win of the season.

● Overstock.com adorns Gragson’s No. 10 Ford Mustang at Talladega. The partnership amplifies the recent relaunch of Overstock.com, home of crazy good deals that offer quality and style for less. Overstock.com is for the savvy shopper who loves the thrill of the hunt and it includes product categories customers know and love, like patio furniture, home furniture and area rugs, while reintroducing jewelry, watches and health-and-beauty products.

Noah Gragson, Driver of the No. 10 Overstock.com Ford Mustang Dark Horse

Daytona was your first points-paying race with Stewart-Haas Racing and Talladega marks your 10th race with the team. What’s the journey been like so far?

“It’s been a lot of good times, some bad times, struggled some of the weekends, but overall I feel like we learn from those challenging weekends and it seems like we’ve been able to rebound and put some solid races under our belts. A couple of top-10s, a few 12th-place finishes, we just want to keep building on that and minimize the mistakes. I’m excited to get down to Talladega. It’s crazy that we’re already 10 races into it.”

What’s the atmosphere inside the race shop?

“Everybody is on track as an organization and really focused, and everybody’s excited. That’s really good for me. I feel like I can be myself. We’re just trying to make the most of the opportunity and just be the best race team that we can be.”

Is there anything you can apply from the Daytona 500 to Talladega?

“It’s hard because we pretty much just saved fuel the whole race at Daytona. We just kind of rode around. Talladega could be the same way, but you just have to figure out how to get up to the front. You can either be up front or save fuel, and it’s just really hard to pass, so we’re trying to figure that out as a whole.”

What’s the vibe at Talladega?

“It’s basically a party with a race going on in the middle. There’s lot of passionate race fans and a lot of history at that racetrack. It’s just a fun atmosphere. It’s always a privilege to go to Talladega, and it’s even more exciting to do it with this 10 team.”

Your NASCAR Xfinity Series career at Talladega was pretty robust – a win, three top-fives and six top-10s in eight starts. At a venue that’s known to be so full of variables that races are termed crapshoots, how were you so consistently good?

“I just kind of treated it as a rental go-kart race, honestly. If I wrecked, I wrecked, and if I didn’t, well, I didn’t. I’ve always worked to be up front. Led laps there for a lot of races. With that being said, you kind of go in with the expectation of I’m going to wreck and everything else is a positive.”

What’s the difference between a NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Talladega and a NASCAR Cup Series race?

“I felt like you could control your destiny back in the day with the Xfinity cars, where now you’re just saving fuel the whole time, so it makes it kind of challenging. You just hold it 50-percent, 60-percent throttle, basically, the whole entire run.”

No. 10 Overstock.com Team Roster

Primary Team Members

Driver: Noah Gragson

Hometown: Las Vegas

Crew Chief: Drew Blickensderfer

Hometown: Decatur, Illinois

Car Chief: Jerry Cook

Hometown: Toledo, Ohio

Engineer: James Kimbrough

Hometown: Pensacola, Florida

Spotter: Andy Houston

Hometown: Hickory, North Carolina

Over-The-Wall Members

Front Tire Changer: Ryan Mulder

Hometown: Sioux Center, Iowa

Rear Tire Changer: Trevor White

Hometown: Arlington, Texas

Tire Carrier: Tyler Bullard

Hometown: King, North Carolina

Jack Man: Sean Cotten

Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina

Fuel Man: James “Ace” Keener

Hometown: Fortuna, California

Road Crew Members

Mechanic: Chris Trickett

Hometown: Grafton, West Virginia

Mechanic: Beau Whitley

Hometown: Carmel, Indiana

Tire Specialist: Jacob Cooksey

Hometown: Westbrookville, New York

Engine Tuner: Matt Moeller

Hometown: Monroe, New York

Transporter Co-Driver: Steve Casper

Hometown: Salisbury, North Carolina

Transporter Co-Driver: Matt Murphy

Hometown: Augusta, Georgia

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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