Gragson Is Waffling On His Xfinity Successes

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, September 21 2022

Noah Gragson is on an roll. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Noah Gragson and his JR Motorsports team don’t head to a fancy restaurant to celebrate a NASCAR Xfinity Series victory; instead, they look for the nearest Waffle House.

The team celebrated two weeks ago at a Darlington Waffle House, then found one in Bristol following its third straight victory Friday night. However, the tradition of celebrating a victory at Waffle House actually started for Gragson when he competed in the K&N Series.  

“It was my third K&N race on the West Coast, and we finished 1-2-3 as a team,” Gragson recalled Tuesday during Xfinity Series playoffs media day at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

  “We were kind of the underdogs. So, we went to the Waffle House in Tucson, Ariz., just kind of as a team.”

There also have been some visits to a Waffle House after a few late Charlotte nights and then earlier this year after arriving home about 4 a.m. from Phoenix. However, Darlington and Bristol this month have been quite special for those at Waffle House when the team arrived for its victory celebration. 

“We pulled the hauler up to Waffle House (in Darlington),” Gragson said. “That was super cool. We got all the cooks … to be out there taking pictures. We played music on the jukebox and told them to turn it all the way up.”

After last Friday’s Bristol victory, Gragson said they had two Waffle Houses to pick from since there was one 5.6 miles from the track and another 7.2 miles away. One of Gragson’s crew members told everyone the Waffle House where they should congregate. When the team arrived 70 to100 people wearing Noah Gragson shirts were waiting on them. 

“That was really cool to be able to party with the fans, have some waffles and just get some vitamins back in my body,” Gragson said. “We took the hauler there, too. We took selfies in front of the hauler and in front of Waffle House. We just like to have fun.”

Gragson doesn’t believe another team would want to celebrate at Waffle House or if they did, the owner probably wouldn’t allow it. 

“Luckily, we have a great team and a great organization that allows us to kind of have free rein and celebrate however we want,” Gragson said. “I think they (team owners Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kelley Earnhardt Miller) are laid back and racers that like to have fun. They enjoy it just as much as we do.”

Gragson said Monday at the race shop they were shooting everyone with water guns when they were trying to do beer toasts. 

“It’s a lot of fun,” he continued. “Everybody enjoys ourselves. It’s pretty light-hearted. It doesn’t feel like a very corporate race team. Some race teams are very, very corporate. They’re very laid back and kind of like the polar opposite. It feels like home for me and where I can best be myself.”

Gragson is in his final full-time Xfinity Series season with JR Motorsports. He moves to Petty GMS next year, a team that provides the same feeling for Gragson that he finds at JR Motorsports. 

“They have a similar approach on how they run their organization,” Gragson said about Petty GMS. “They’ve got dogs walking around in the shops and the offices. That’s how JR Motorsports is. They’re pretty laid back.”

With six victories this season, Gragson enters the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs at Texas Motor Speedway as the point leader, 13 ahead of Ty Gibbs, who recorded five wins this year. 

The Andy’s Frozen Custard 300 is scheduled for Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on USA Network. 


| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, September 21 2022
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