The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Ohio on Saturday, June 5, for the B&L Transport 170. JR Motorsports driver Noah Gragson will use the trip to bounce back from two consecutive DNF’s. If he can achieve this goal, the driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro will punch his ticket to the playoffs while simultaneously securing the first road course win of his Xfinity Series career.
Gragson met with Heavy and other media members on Wednesday, June 2, to discuss his upcoming trip to Mid-Ohio. He explained during the session that he has been less aggressive after meeting with some higher-ups. Gragson also talked about the importance of securing a road course win in one of NASCAR’s top three series.
“[A win] would be great. We are working really hard at it,” Gragson said during the media session. “We are obviously out here at the GoPro Motorplex training today. We spent a lot of time with [athletic trainer] Josh Wise and the Chevy drivers in the program, just trying to be better, better ourselves on road courses.”
Gragson does not have a road course win in his Xfinity Series career, but he has taken the checkered flag in the K&N Pro Series. Now he will try to achieve a career goal after previously finishing fifth in the 2019 trip to Mid-Ohio.
Gragson Will Not Practice Before Heading out on the Track
Unlike the past two weeks, Gragson and the Xfinity Series drivers will not have the ability to head out onto Mid-Ohio for any practice laps or qualifying sessions. Instead, they will take on the road course for the first time since 2019 after a few pace laps.
For the JRM driver, the lack of practice is not an issue. He explained to Heavy during the media availability that he prefers to head out each week without taking part in practice laps. He and the drivers all learn the track at the same time, and he has the added benefit of watching his peers.
“It’s another couple days of spending time back [in North Carolina]. Another couple days of getting to the gym and, ultimately, study,” Gragson added. “I don’t know if practice really changes anything. I enjoy no practice because it gives people an opportunity to learn the track more. I kind of do better when I have a rabbit out there to learn from, where the other guys out there on the track are.”
The 2021 Season Has Featured Several Frustrating Outings
A championship contender in 2020, Gragson has yet to punch his ticket to the playoffs. He has not won a race and currently sits in ninth in points. He has been within reach of Victory Lane multiple times during the first 12 races, but he has also failed to finish five different races. One crash, in particular, kept Gragson from winning at Homestead-Miami after he built up a massive lead.
Despite walking away frustrated from several races, Gragson explained that he still has faith in himself and his ability to take the checkered flag. He just has to make some adjustments and rebound from a difficult stretch of the season.
“Being around good friends and family is the most important thing for me,” Gragson said about rebounding from difficult races. “It’s really not been our best year. We’ve had a lot of good runs. … I talked to my crew chief, and he said that we are at the bottom of the wheel. It needs to come back around [to the top], full circle.
“I don’t know if we need to change anything or anything needs to be done. I mean, we have speed. It’s just that — I don’t like to compare it to luck — but just the wrong place at the right time has been the definition of this year.”
Gragson will strive to post a better finish on Saturday, June 5, during the race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The race will take place at 1 p.m. ET and will air on FS1. Adam Alexander will provide play-by-play coverage along with Michael Waltrip and Jamie McMurray in the booth.