Column By: REID SPENCER / NASCAR – HAMPTON, GA – At this point, Noah Gragson can’t really improve. He can only maintain.
The driver of the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet started the season with a third-place run at Daytona International Speedway. He followed that with runner-up finishes at Auto Club Speedway (Fontana, Calif.) and Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Last Saturday at Phoenix Raceway, Gragson took the next logical step in the progression, winning for the first time this season. He’ll try to keep that remarkable streak of podium finishes intact in Saturday’s Nalley Cars 250 (5 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
“This season has been nothing short of amazing,” said Gragson, who will also drive a Cup car on Sunday for Kaulig Racing. “The runs we have been able to put together just shows how hard these No. 9 guys have been working. Now it’s time to head to Atlanta, where I know we will be competing for the win and adding more playoff points for later in the season.”
Justin Allgaier, Gragson’s teammate, is the defending winner of the race. But if the racing on the new pavement indeed resembles the character of competition on a superspeedway, the Kaulig Racing cars have to be considered likely contenders.
“There are a lot of unknowns this week as far as what this track will race like,” said AJ Allmendinger, driver of the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet. “We know if it races more like a superspeedway, our cars are really fast at those tracks.
“Overall, I think it’s one of those things where we just don’t know what to expect. We will have to wait to get a feel for it during practice. I think track position will be critical, so we have to stay up front all day. I’m definitely going into it with an open mind.”
Allmendinger won the June 2020 race at the track.