Dale Earnhardt Jr kindly warns Gragson regarding his reputation after a wrecking his teammate and other incidents
Watch the video of the Noah Gragson vs Todd Gilliland altercation below
With 1 lap to go, Noah Gragson was running down the leader at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park over the weekend. At the front, Todd Gilliland was set to win his first career NASCAR Truck Series event.
By turn 8, Gragson has closed the five car gap down to less than a car length. Gilliland reacted by taking a defensive line into the final corner. Gragson was already looking to the inside. By Gilliland taking the defensive line, it only forced an even narrower entry into turn 9.
When they got to the corner, Gragson was at his number. However, Gilliland still didn’t give him a truck length on the inside. Not that it mattered, with as narrow as that entry was, Gragson was going to wreck regardless.
The two Kyle Busch Motorsports trucks that came into the final corner 1st and 2nd were now spinning across the front stretch. They wrecked each other, just a few hundred feet of the finish line.
Of course, the race leader heading into the final corner was upset. He admitted to chopping down on him. But, he still put blame on Gragson.
“I should have just given him the inside and maybe let him wreck himself. I don’t know. He’s done that to me on five or six road courses. I’d go fight him right now, but I can’t,” Gilliland stated after the race.
“Got wrecked last corner at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in the lead very proud of my team brought me a great truck and I feel like I ran one of the best races I’ve ever ran,” Todd Gilliland continued via twitter after the race.
“EXTREMELY frustrating to have it taken away by someone like that. We will try and win the rest,” Todd Gilliland concluded.
Initially after the incident, Noah Gragson took blame. After all, he just had the entire KBM team and Gilliland’s dad at his truck telling him how wrong he was.
“That one’s on me,” he stated in his post-race interview.
After he went home, Noah Gragson watched the footage and he feels a bit differently about it. He shared a video of him making a clean pass in the same way with 13 laps to go.
“Give and take. Same circumstance on last lap. Only difference is room given in turn 10,” Gragson explained of the video he shared.
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Dale Earnhardt Jr watched this race. As an Xfinity Series team owner, he can’t help but think about how this moment was for the owner, Kyle Busch.
“It was a pretty wild finish. Noah dove it in there just like anybody else probably would have. And neither one of them won,” Dale Earnhardt Jr stated via the Dale Jr Download.
“It’s tough because Noah has done this before. So, he’s got a reputation that he’s got to be careful not to continue to add to.”
Noah Gragson and Johnny Sauter were involved in a heated battle for the win earlier this year at Dover International Speedway. As he side drafted Sauter into the corner, he bounced off Sauter and spun himself out.
“Kyle’s extremely pissed off at Noah, I’m sure. Your initial reaction [as a truck owner] is to be pissed off at Noah.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr has been in similar situations as a car owner. Also at Dover, Justin Allgaier and Elliott Sadler slammed the wall off turn 4 in their battle for the win. In that case, the two JR Motorsports teammates were able to make it across the finish line.
“My two guys were racing at Dover for the win. That’s all you’re thinking, “Ah, just don’t wreck each other. Don’t give this win away to someone else. We need this win so badly for the bottom dollar.’ ”
“And in the truck series, Kyle’s doing the same thing. He’s running on a budget that demands they don’t tear stuff up. That they finish well. They lost thousands of dollars by that end result. You have to think about the budget. The budget’s the priority.”
“When I was watching that truck race and all that happened. All those things come through your mind. Well, that’s frustrating from a financial standpoint. That’s frustrating from a perception standpoint.”
When Dale Earnhardt Jr watches his Xfinity team at Daytona or Talladega, it’s far from a relaxing room. He’s pacing until his track marks are burnt into the floor.
“I was the same way the other night watching the Cars Tour finish. Here we are getting ready to win this race and now something is going to happen.”
“That’s what Kyle was probably thinking, ‘We were right there. What the hell.’ That’s so frustrating. That’s the toughest part about being a car owner. It’s not getting your ass beat by somebody else. It’s when somehow you beat yourself.”
“You have multiple teams for a lot of reasons. Obviously, you want to give people opportunity. But, financially it’s a little easier to run multiple cars. It’s very difficult and hard … It’s a very expensive business model to run a single car.”
“It’s actually cheaper to run two cars. As you get more cars, the costs of running a car, goes down. But, if you have more cars, they might run into each other.”
Justin Haley went on to take the win.