Noah Gragson: ‘I’m Enjoying Everything About Racing Again’

By Seth Eggert, Associate Editor

BRISTOL, Tenn – One of the most important aspects of a NASCAR Cup Series driver is the confidence that they have, both behind the wheel and away from the racetrack. Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR)’s Noah Gragson has rebuilt his self-confidence over the off-season, resulting in three top-15 finishes to start the 2024 season.

Noah gragson has rekindled his love for competing in the nascar cup series.
Noah Gragson. (Photo by Blake Ulino/Kickin’ the Tires)

The Las Vegas, NV native moved to SHR, succeeding Aric Almirola in the No. 10 Ford Mustang Dark Horse. In that move, Gragson found himself at home. He feels a familiar vibe from 2022 when he competed with JR Motorsports (JRM). Fittingly, that vibe also extends to the paint scheme on his No. 10 Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats Ford, one reminiscent of his JRM colors.

“I feel like everything’s the same as confidence wise, being comfortable in my surroundings having a good group of (guys and girls) around me it brings back a lot of 2022 vibes for sure,” Gragson explained. “I always had confidence. But, last year was really, really tough.

“I think we got a lot of the pieces to the puzzle together to allow me to have the opportunity to show who I am as a driver in the Cup series this year with Stewart-Haas, Drew Blickensderfer is awesome. The rest of the crew is awesome. I feel at home with Stewart-Haas, it’s a home for me.”

Another part of that at home feeling is having the trust of the team around him. Having that trust allowed Gragson to spend the off-season to sit back and reflect. Balancing his personal life from work reinvigorated his at-track motivation. By doing so, he’s improved his results on track.

The 25-year-old scored a top-10 finish in the Daytona 500. At his home track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS), he earned his best finish in two years, sixth. The top-10 finish at LVMS was also a big part in rebuilding Gragson’s confidence.

“Having everybody’s trust and support is a big part of rebuilding that confidence,” Gragson said. “I really didn’t really spend a lot of time thinking about racing (during the off-season). I really did a lot of self-reflection and just focusing on getting my day-to-day life better.

“When you race every weekend, it’s really hard to just find balance in your life and I feel like what I’ve really found over the last six months is balance in my life and how to separate work from home life, personal life. I was a little sour and I needed a break and just needed to reset my mind and I think getting my off the track stuff sorted out was big and it carries on to the on-track stuff.” 

The 2024 success that Gragson has already achieved is a dramatic reversal from his time at LEGACY Motor Club last year. His best finish during his tenure at the Jimmie Johnson co-owned team was 12th at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The struggles the driver faced and the lack of results allowed self-doubt to creep in.

While he had good runs prior to competing for LEGACY, like a run up to the top-five at Michigan Int’l Speedway with Kaulig Racing prior to a wreck, it was hard to keep his confidence up with an average finish outside the top-25 with LEGACY.

“At this point of the season honestly over the time off that I had, I was like, ‘man, I don’t know if I could really,’” Gragson admitted. “I felt like I’ve always I could do it, but you self-doubt yourself and whatnot; but yeah, the season started out really well and now I know that I can do it when you never have a good run ever.

“Michigan 2022 with Kaulig, we unloaded super well and had a really fast car. Drove up to third under green flag laps that day that was probably the best Cup race I’ve had up until this year. It’s hard to keep that confidence week in and week out when you’re just getting your tail kicked. But it’s been a lot of fun this year.” 

While it is early in the 2024 season, Gragson is enjoying himself. He’s renewed his love for racing and for NASCAR that he admitted he might have lacked last year. That excitement for the sport potentially could give Gragson the boost to breakthrough in the Cup Series.

“We’re working really, really hard,” Gragson said. “It’s just been a great time and I’m really enjoying myself. I’m enjoying everything about racing again that maybe I made a lacked a little bit last year.”

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