Gresham Wins First Title
JGR Development Driver Clinches Championship at Dover Season Finale
Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) understands the importance of developing drivers for the future and the organization is committed to winning at every level it races.
A name NASCAR fans should get to know is Max Gresham. The 18-year-old Griffin, Ga.-native just wrapped up his dream season and finished with his first championship in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East with a third-place finish at the Dover 150 International Speedway.
Gresham, a JGR development driver, has had plenty of success in his second season driving the No. 18 Live Oak Plantation Toyota- including two wins and 11 Top-10 finishes in 12 races this season. Gresham posted victories at Georgia’s Gresham Motorsports Park (June 11) and at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 15).
Gresham’s title also marks the second K&N Series championship for JGR in the past five seasons.
“I can’t thank these guys at Joe Gibbs Racing enough,” said Gresham, after the season finale. “To be a NASCAR champion is pretty much the only thing I wanted to do when I started racing and now I am. They put an awesome car underneath me today and they’ve put an awesome car underneath me all year.”
Bryant Frazier, Gresham’s crew chief, has a knack for working with young drivers and getting them prepared for the next level. “Bringing another championship into this already storied organization was what we set out to do at the start of the year,” Frazier said. “To win a championship for them [JGR] has been really gratifying.”
When asked about Gresham’s temperament, Frazier had nothing but glowing things to say about him as a driver and as a person. “Max is really just a country boy at heart who loves to hunt and fish and is just a good person,” Frazier said. “One of the reasons he has been so successful is he doesn’t mind coming into the shop and jumping in to work on the car. I couldn’t tell you how many times someone has come up to me and commented on how hard Max works.”
Gresham was the only driver to complete every lap- all 1,705 circuits- in series competition this season.
“We’re the only team that’s finished every race this year, and I think that’s because we’ve been running smarter races,” Frazier said.
Getting smarter, not necessarily faster, has been one of the biggest keys for Gresham this year. Speed has never been an issue for the driver, but learning how to apply speed to the big picture took some practice.
Gresham’s most memorable win this season was winning the race at Gresham Motorsports Park in front of his whole family. Gresham led 98 laps en route to victory, marking his first career win at the Gresham Motorsports Park facility. Gresham’s whole family was there to cheer him on, and winning at the family-owned track was a particularly special moment.
Frazier recalled another memorable race at Bowman Gray speedway, the smallest track Gresham raced on. Gresham spun out halfway through the race and had to claw his way back to a 4th place finish. “That night I told him that is what championships are made of,” Frazier said, “coming back when no one thinks you can.”
The JGR K&N Pro Series program displayed the resolve needed to win and the resources to continue to develop young talent. With talented drivers competing at every level of NASCAR, JGR’s future appears bright.