Late And Great: Noah Gragson Wins K&N East Series Thriller At Stafford Speedway

Noah Gragson celebrates his first K&N Pro Series East victory in the Stafford 150 Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway (Photo: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Noah Gragson celebrates his first K&N Pro Series East victory in the Stafford 150 Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway (Photo: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

STAFFORD – Las Vegas native Noah Gragson came to Stafford Motor Speedway and the 17-year old hit a Connecticut jackpot.

After about a decade away from Stafford Speedway the K&N Pro Series East returned to the half-mile oval and fans in the stands were treated to a thrilling closing act thanks to the 17-year old Gragson.

Gragson used a last lap pass to in overtime to win the K&N Pro Series East Stafford 150 Friday at Stafford Speedway.

It was the first K&N Pro Series East victory for Gragson. He was the record eighth consecutive first-time winner with the series.

Dillon Bassett of Winston-Salem, N.C. was second and Spencer Davis of Dawsonville, Ga. third.

The race was extended to 153 laps because of a late race caution.

Bassett took the field to green leading on the final restart with Todd Gilliland in second and Gragson in third.

In turn three on the penultimate lap, Gilliland sent Bassett up high in turn three, opening the door for Gragson to make it a three-wide battle for the lead coming to the white flag.

“That was wild,” said Gragson, who started seventh. “They got beating and banging down there in turn three and we were three-wide down there.”

In turn one on the final lap Gilliland skated up the track as Gragson finished his dash to the lead.

“I knew [Bassett] was going to run [Gilliland] up in turns one and two and I knew I could get under them if they both went high down there,” Gragson said. “… My spotter Brandon McReynolds did a phenomenal job and got me through all the chaos. It was crazy but we came out with the [win].”

Bassett was left seething over the tactics of Gilliland on the final restart.

“It’s done and over with now,” Bassett said. “We had a really good car. … You don’t see somebody run through the field like this in a K&N East race. We’ve done it two races in a row now. Had a really fast car, just haven’t been able to finish. … [Gilliland] used us up on the restart. Did it several times. It’s not the first time, I’m sure it won’t be the last.”


  1. getserious says

    Same old story; the guys that dish it out are always the guys the cry the loudest when things don’t go their way. That driver of the 44 crying about Gilliland must have completely forgotten how he blatantly punted the girl in the 30 out of the lead and into the wall. He should be just happy that they didn’t send him to the back like they should have.

  2. Andy Boright says

    A ton of single file racing, and punting people out of the way to pass them – not exactly a high quality racing event.

    Not the announcers best night behind the mic either. It was clear right from time trials that they didn’t know any more about the series drivers than the fans in the stands did. Glad to hear Matt Buckler figured out by driver introductions that Ali Kern is a female, because during time trials he kept referring to her as a “he”, although at the end of the race he still confused her with the driver of the 42 car when he wrecked by the pit stands.

    I guess we can wait another 8 years before that series shows up at a New England short track again.

  3. Bill Driscoll says

    Too bad for the#30 she can drive enjoyed the show hope they come back

  4. I don’t know about anyone else,but I just enjoy a night out at the races with family and friends. Not every race is going to be thrilling from start to finish. The weather was perfect and it was good safe racing. The Mod Tour race wed at Thompson was awesome and sometimes Coby stinks up the show!!! Just the way it is.

  5. Miss the days of Truex, Santerre, Craven, Stefanik, …. Single file until late cautions. Not a bad show, but not sure if I would try again.

  6. Joe White says

    The girl in the 30 was driving a great race. She did not deserve to be punted out of the way. The 44 should have been sent to the back, but these are NASCAR rules like the Sprint Cup Series. Boys have at it which is totally wrong. The 30 should have waited on track and when the 44 tried to pass her again she should have taken him out, much like the 20 took out Joey Logano or Jeff Gordon took out the 15. Any or all of those drivers could have been killed in those incidents. It was totally stupid, but that is how NASCAR wants it. If Tom Fox was in charge, the 44 would have gone to the back for sure. I like our short track rules much better. Other than that it was like watching a freight train go around a track. Very boring. I got sick of watching it and left before it was over. 150 laps was way too long. 50 or 80 would have been plenty. I hope they don’t come back anytime soon. Not worth paying the extra money.
    The rest of the races were pretty good. Congrats to Kevin Gambacorder and to Eric Burndt. The racing between Kidrock and the 99 was intense. Kidrock was blocking just like he complained about woody doing a couple of weeks ago, but the 99 was not having it and started beating on the 88’s back bunper to the point where I think the 88 was on the verge of going into a spin cycle. He finally figured out it was not worth wrecking his car and let the 99 go by. But then again Kidrock does not do that. Why do you think the 99 was so mad at him? What goes around comes around. I’m done.

  7. I applaud Stafford for having the k&n east series and offering fans a chance to see the series which doesn’t run in the area too often. Do they still run nhms? I don’t make it up there. I appreciated a reasonable price to get in. Even though taxicabs aren’t my favorite division, I figured I should support the show because Stafford was trying something new for a good price. I do go to Stafford on a somewhat regular basis and noticed a bunch of new faces in the stands. Hopefully, some of those people were impressed with the SK race and return.

    I Was surprised they didn’t allow tire changes which was the reason everyone was making laps through the first half of the race saving their stuff for the end which made for a boring show. Every caution we kept saying why aren’t the cars tail end of the lead lap pitting for tires. It would have been good to know it was no tire change race from the announcers before the tail end of the race. I know a lot of touring series bring their own announcer, I am surprised k&n didn’t. Overall I would lean towards going again at the price they charged. Who knows maybe we will see a couple of those drivers in a cup car in a few years. I am looking forward to checking out the race coverage on nbcsports. See how Stafford looks on TV.

  8. Best part of the night was during practice a dirt devil went Down pit road and then whipped out the k and n pit area. Couple of tents went flying through the air and lots of sand flying.

  9. Ilias tha Illest says

    Overall, I was thoroughly impressed and entertained by the K&N race. Definitely the best race of the night. Sure, the first half was follow the leader single file action, but it was a long race and I felt like the excitement of the final 60 laps well made up for a dull start. That Bassett kid in the #44 really made the show what it was, hats off to him for giving it everything he had to win. Stafford seems like a fun, old school Bristol type of track for the K&N series. Unfortunately, it seems like Stafford has too many modified elitists in the stands to make it successful enough for Nascar to keep the race on the schedule. Maybe they could try Waterford? Seems like the fanbase there is more accepting of non-modified divisions. All I know is if the K&N series runs in CT again next year, I am absolutely going.

  10. Not a Sheeple says

    The race went about how I expected but I chose to leave early and so did some others because my eyes nose and throat started burning from the fumes. Now NASCAR is poisoning us with their PIG spec engine program.

  11. All you so-called race fans who chose to leave early missed a good show and then complain how the show stunk, the last tour race at Stafford was much worse,and all of you who didn’t go because you already knew the show would stink,well you missed a pretty good race ,hope they are back with a bigger crowd in the stands Thanks Stafford

  12. Not a Sheeple says

    The show didn’t stink, the exhaust coming from those PIG engines was like nothing I’ve experienced. Or is it the crap SUNOCO fuel their shoving down our throat.

  13. I agree , though they were running diesels

  14. getserious says

    Yes, I noticed the exhaust like never before, also. What’s the deal there?

  15. Andy Boright says

    It was a lot more than half the race they were sandbagging. Try about 100 laps.

    A lot of the problem is that those cars are just too heavy to put on a good short track race. Put them on a track like Waterford and it would be even worst.

    There is a reason the K&N series hasn’t appeared at a New England short track for many years, and lack of available dates isn’t it.

    NASCAR killed the BGNN series, and it’s replacement doesn’t work on New England short tracks. It’s not just so-called “modified elitists” who didn’t think that was a great race, I don’t know of many Late Model type fans who would have enjoyed that show either.

  16. Hooray, Stafford finally put a second outhouse in the infield, no more waiting in line before the race!

  17. Sect. D Row 25 says

    So glad Chris D. has a place to sit and relieve himself before he stands in the way of real people in the infield. Keep it good and stocked Stafford as I’m sure it takes near a full roll to pat that dry.

  18. Chris D. says

    Your sister says hello. Found her number in there.

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