Noah Gragson, a rookie driver for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series, is competing with a heavy heart tonight after the death of a crew member’s wife just before Friday’s race.
Stephanie Merritt, the wife of team mechanic Jeff Merritt, died from injuries sustained in an auto accident two weeks ago.
Gragson, 18, gave an emotional interview with Fox Sports 1 prior to the NextEra Energy Resources 250.
“One of my guys back home, Jeff, we had a hard loss a couple of minutes ago,” Gragson said. “His wife passed away. They got in a car wreck over the offseason. He worked really, really hard on this truck. We’re going to go out there and drive as hard as we can today for him, for Stephanie.”
The stickers shown above is on Gragson’s truck.
Gragson, driving the No. 18, will start 12th is his third race in the Truck Series.
He was eliminated in a 17-truck crash on the second lap. He was hit from behind and sent into the wall, triggering the incident.
It’s no secret that Jimmie Johnson is off to a slow start in 2017.
The defending and seven-time NASCAR Cup champion has a starting average of 21.8 and a finishing average of 18.8 in the first five races of this season.
He has just one top-10 finish (ninth at Phoenix), along with 34th at Daytona, 19th at Atlanta, 11th at Las Vegas and 21st Sunday at Fontana.
And let’s not forget he’s 17th in the NASCAR Cup standings heading to one of his strongest tracks, Martinsville Speedway, this Sunday.
On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, we discussed this: After such a slow start to the season, is there a cause for concern over Johnson’s performance?
On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin shared his experience of racing in his home state of Arkansas, as well as the excitement he feels watching Kyle Larson compete in the Cup series.
Kyle Larson‘s spectacular weekend at Auto Club Speedway — winning both Saturday’s Xfinity Series race and Sunday’s Auto Club 400 NASCAR Cup event — left him feeling good.
But shortly upon exiting the facility, Larson and several others were involved in a fender-bender right outside the Speedway. Larson was a passenger, not the driver.
No one was injured, Larson tweeted.
But somehow, isn’t that strange fate?
Kyle Larson finally broke his streak of three straight runner-up finishes with his win in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.
On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, the crew discussed his win as well as his maturation as a driver.