Matt Crafton completed a near perfect afternoon for ThorSport Racing at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) in Brooklyn, posting his third runner-up finish of the 2014 season in the Careers for Veterans 200 on Saturday. The Great Lakes Wood Floors /Menards Toyota driver continued the consistent performances that have seen him run up front all season long and vaulted into second in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) point standings. The second-place result is Crafton’s career best at MIS, and his sixth top-five finish of 2014.
Crafton’s afternoon began from the 14th position, and the ThorSport Racing driver quickly moved towards the front of the field at the drop of the green flag. The race’s only yellow flag was displayed on lap nine, as Crafton muscled his way into the top-10. With a lengthy cleanup, the caution period proved to be a pivotal moment in the event. Ever mindful of fuel strategy, crew chief Carl Joiner called Crafton to pit road for Sunoco fuel on lap 11 which set up pit strategy that would carry the Menards Toyota team through to the scheduled distance.
By lap 22 Crafton had cracked the top-five, radioing in to the Menards team that his Toyota Tundra was, “snug, but maintained good lateral bite.” The No. 88 team’s only four-tire pit stop came just past the halfway mark, and Joiner adjusted the tight condition on corner exit. By pitting later than most of the other front-runners, Crafton was able to cycle through to fifth and led twice for a total of seven laps before his final pit stop on lap 95. Blending off of pit road and onto the racing surface following that final stop, Crafton drag-raced ThorSport Racing teammate and eventual race winner, Johnny Sauter, down the backstretch for the race lead with three laps remaining. Ultimately, Crafton trailed Sauter by mere truck lengths at the checkered flag.
• Crafton led the Careers for Veterans 200 two times for a total of seven laps
• Crafton’s second-place finish at MIS was a track best. In 13 starts at the 2-mile oval, the ThorSport Racing driver has three top-five and four top-10 finishes
• The Menards drivers Average Running Position of 5.2 was second only to teammate Johnny Sauter
• In the season’s first 12 races, Crafton has amassed two wins, six top-five, and eight top-10 finishes
• With ThorSport Racings teammate Johnny Sauter winning the Careers for Veterans 200, Toyota has driven to victory lane in 11 of the 12 NCWTS races this season. Crafton drove his Menards Tundra to victory twice to contribute to Toyota’s dominance in 2014 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (March), and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (June).
• Crafton gained one position in the 2014 NCWTS driver point standings following his second-place finish at MIS. The Menards driver is now second, nine points behind ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter
Quote – Matt Crafton:
“It was a good day for ThorSport Racing finishing one, two. I can’t thank these guys on the Menards team enough for working as hard as they did this weekend. We had that issue in practice that got us a little behind, and didn’t quite have the speed we needed to, so to get a second place finish is a pretty good day. Track position was everything. If you got underneath somebody and didn’t get the pass done and you had the train of other trucks that came on the outside — you would get shuffled back five spots. So it was so hard to be in the right place at the right time. I think if we would have had the lead, we definitely could have won the race.”
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ABOUT THORSPORT RACING:
ThorSport Racing, based in a state-of-the-art 100,000-square-foot facility in Sandusky, Ohio, is the longest-tenured NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team. ThorSport, which has run in the Truck Series since 1996, in 2014 will run the No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra driven by 2013 drivers’ champion Matt Crafton, the No. 98 Nextant Aerospace/Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff/Carolina Nut Co./Curb Records Toyota Tundra driven by Johnny Sauter and the No. 13 Carolina Nut Co. Toyota Tundra driven by Jeb Burton in the Truck Series and the No. 13 Toyota Camry in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.