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Overstock.com Racing: Noah Gragson New Hampshire Advance

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

Event Overview
● Event: USA Today 301 (Round 18 of 36)
● Time/Date: 2:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, June 23
● Location: New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon
● Layout: 1.058-mile oval
● Laps/Miles: 301 laps / 318.46 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 70 laps / Stage 2: 115 laps / Final Stage: 116 laps
● TV/Radio: USA / PRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Notes of Interest

● Noah Gragson rolls into the Granite State looking for a rock-solid run. The driver of the No. 10 Overstock.com Ford Mustang Dark Horse for Stewart-Haas Racing finished 16th last Sunday at Iowa Speedway in Newton. It offered a subtle reprieve from a three-race stretch of results outside the top-20 that dropped Gragson from 19th in the NASCAR Cup Series championship standings to 24th. Sunday’s USA Today 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon provides Gragson the opportunity to log another stable performance, ideally one in the top-10. Gragson comes into New Hampshire with five top-10 finishes already this season, a mark highlighted by a third-place drive April 21 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

● Gragson has only one NASCAR Cup Series start at New Hampshire. It came last year during his rookie season on a day the Las Vegas native had no luck. A broken right-front wheel on lap 271 of the 301-lap race sent Gragson careening into the turn one wall, ending his day and leaving him with a 32nd-place result.

● Despite that lone NASCAR Cup Series start, Gragson still possesses experience at New Hampshire. The 25-year old racer has made a total of six NASCAR starts at the 1.058-mile oval across the Cup, Xfinity, Craftsman Truck and K&N Pro Series East.

● The NASCAR Xfinity Series is where Gragson has the most experience at New Hampshire, with three starts in the stepping-stone division to the elite NASCAR Cup Series. The record books show finishes of 10th (2019), 14th (2021) and 38th (2022), but that 2022 result was originally a fourth-place finish. Gragson started ninth in that race and ran in and around the top-five, but in postrace inspection his racecar was deemed too low in the front. The penalty assessed by NASCAR was a disqualification, leaving Gragson last in the 38-car field.

● Gragson’s two other New Hampshire starts have come in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, respectively. The K&N Pro Series is where Gragson made his New Hampshire debut. On July 16, 2016, Gragson drove for car owner Jerry Pitts and finished a respectable 11th after starting 15th. Gragson’s best run at New Hampshire arguably came in his Truck Series race on Sept. 23, 2017. Driving for team owner Kyle Busch, Gragson emulated the hard-charging style of his boss by winning the pole with a lap of 28.896 seconds at 131.811 mph, edging his teammate and current NASCAR Cup Series competitor Christopher Bell by .009 of a second. Gragson promptly led the opening 24 laps, ceding to Bell on lap 25 before leading another 16 laps. Unfortunately, Gragson’s strong run got derailed on lap 64 when he and Johnny Sauter crashed in turn four. Both drivers were able to continue, but neither factored in the race’s outcome, which Bell won handily by 1.248 seconds over Ryan Truex.

Overstock.com adorns Gragson’s No. 10 Ford Mustang Dark Horse at New Hampshire. 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

You’ve raced at New Hampshire across the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. That’s a decent amount of experience across a lot of different types of racecars. With all that, what makes New Hampshire a challenge to get around fast and consistently?

“It’s a really tough track. I feel like there are a lot of options between the three lanes with its progressively banked, wide, flat, long corners. That being said, there are five or six different lines you can take around there and driving styles you can have. It’s a really tough track to pass on and really hard to get the balance right. But if you do get the balance just right, you’re probably going to be really good just because it’s so hard to get it figured out.”

With those different lines, can you experiment a bit and adapt to what your car is giving you?

“You can definitely move around and change your line depending on what your car’s doing, and try to adapt to make more speed. There are a lot of different options on how to run it, for sure.”

Are there moments from any of your prior races at New Hampshire that worked and you’ve continued to use, or anything that didn’t work that you’ve stayed away from?

“For me, it’s just about being open-minded and trying to utilize different techniques and different lines to try and make your car go fast around there. We got a pole there in the Truck Series back in 2017, but it’s always been one of the more challenging racetracks for me.”

When you’re at a track where it’s a struggle to be consistently quick, how important is it to just clear your mind and go in with as positive an attitude as possible?

“New Hampshire is definitely one that you spend more time preparing for and trying different stuff and what not. It’s usually going to be what it’s going to be when you get there just because there’s not a lot of practice time. But, overall, I think there’s extra emphasis on the preparation just because it’s a more challenging place for me.”

You ran Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis three weeks ago. It has a similar layout to New Hampshire and it was an all-day struggle. Despite that, did the experience give you insights as to what to do, or rather what not do, in regard to New Hampshire?

“Maybe a little bit through (turns) three and four, but just in regard to geometry stuff on the car, but those tracks are quite a bit different.”

As frustrating as bad weekends are, do you try to find the silver linings so that when you’re presented with a similar challenge, you’re able to take a different course of action because you have the benefit of experience?

“You just try to do what worked and avoid what didn’t, and then do the best job with your ability to perform, but sometimes when it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, and you’ve got to try something new.”

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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