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Gragson Notches A Sickening Victory In Martinsville

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, October 29 2017

Noah Gragson drove to victory in Kentucky on Saturday. Then he barfed. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Alan Marler)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – First-time winners usually bring a breath of fresh air to an environment that has a tendency to become jaded. Such was the case Saturday when rookie Noah Gragson won the Texas Roadhouse 200 at Martinsville Speedway.

After exiting his truck on the short track’s frontstretch, the teenager quickly climbed the fence, stopped at the top and executed two pull-ups in front of the cheering crowd before climbing back down the fence to the race track. He then got sick.

“I didn’t drink water all race long until the second to last caution,” Gragson said. “I took a swig of water and I guess it stayed in my belly or something.

“Last year, I won a K&N race on a road course. I ran down the front straightway, got the checkered flag, ran back, climbed the fence and threw up in my helmet. I was like G… D…. I shouldn’t do that again. That was stupid of me. What do you know? I guess I went to bed that day, forgot about it and did the same thing today.”

This time, however, Gragson didn’t throw up in his helmet, which was new at Talladega. He took it off before he became sick.

“Hopefully, next time I won’t throw up,” Gragson said.

The young Gragson also wasn’t quite sure how to refer to Martinsville’s coveted grandfather clock trophy. The 19-year-old Las Vegas native referred to it as “granddaddy watch.”

“That’s a cool, historic trophy, but they don’t teach kids anymore how to tell time like that. They just let them read the numbers,” Gragson said as he looked at the grandfather clock sitting in the infield media center. “I know how to read that, I think.”

Gragson snatched the lead from two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton on a restart with 10 laps remaining and was never challenged the rest of the way. It was a situation that left Crafton, who led three times for 102 laps in the 200-lap race, angry at the outcome.

“It just sucks! It just sucks,” said Crafton, who’s third in the standings, 15 points behind leader Christopher Bell. “I have given two races away leading with 10 to go a couple of years ago and it still pisses me off. And this is going to piss me off for a while as well.”

Crafton restarted on the inside, while Gragson was on the outside.  Crafton noted there was a rubber buildup on the inside and no rubber up top where a truck starting on the outside would have its right-side tires.

“He (Gragson) had a perfect restart and I sucked,” Crafton said.

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Cousins Jeb and Harrison Burton competed against each other for the first-time ever in the Martinsville truck race with the younger Burton having the better day.

Harrison, this year’s NASCAR K&N East Series champion, finished fourth for his best performance this year in the truck series. Jeb had to settle for a 26th-place finish due to a rear gear problem in his Chevrolet.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, October 29 2017
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