In the history of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Matt Crafton has been one of the most consistent and impressive performers in the venue’s previous seven events. The reigning series champion padded his Iowa stats and regained the series point lead with a third-place effort after qualifying sixth in the American Ethanol 200. Crafton entered Friday’s event as one of only two drivers to have finished in the top-10 in all seven previous NCWTS races at the Midwestern track, and extended that streak while battling a loose Menards Toyota Tundra and lapped traffic throughout the 200-lap event. The solid effort has Crafton back in the NCWTS point lead for the fourth week in 2014.
Crafton’s day started off well, showing speed early in the only practice session under partly cloudy skies, and carried that performance into the opening round of knockout pole qualifying Friday afternoon. The ThorSport Racing driver advanced to round two, in which the IDEAL Door/Menards team made two attempts at the top spot, earning the sixth starting position for the ninth race on the 2014 NCWTS schedule.
With a relatively green racetrack to begin the 200-lap shootout, Crafton struggled early in the event with the splitter dragging the race track and a changing balance. Quick work on pit road netted the No. 88 machine spots on numerous occasions, allowing Crafton to keep track position and run lap times consistent with the race leaders all night. In the second half of the event, Crafton focused on not over extending his equipment, and in the final 50 laps, held off a late charge to notch his fifth podium finish of the 2014 campaign, finishing third.
• According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, Crafton had an Average Running Position of 3.565, and a Driver Rating of 114.9, in Friday night’s American Ethanol 200
• Crafton spent 100% of the 200 laps inside the top-15
• Crafton’s third-place finish in the American Ethanol 200 was his fourth top-five and eighth top-10 finish in eight career starts at Iowa Speedway
• This is Crafton’s fifth top-five finish of the 2014 NCWTS season
• In 2014, Crafton has led 222 laps en route to two wins, five top-five and six top-10 finishes
• Crafton has spent eight of the first nine NCWTS races inside the top-three in points
• The American Ethanol 200 was the 11th straight win for Toyota, dating back to Phoenix International Raceway (November 2013) when Erik Jones visited victory lane – marking the longest active win streak by any manufacturer in the NCWTS
• For the third different time this season, and fourth race overall, the defending NCWTS champion is the championship point leader, two markers ahead of Ryan Blaney
“This was a brand new truck. These guys built it in about four days, and they did an awesome job on this Menards Toyota Tundra, and it says a lot. On pit road these guys were flawless again. I think we were on the splitter a little too much. All in all, not a bad night for this Menards Toyota and get out of here in third place.”
With 287 stores in 14 Midwestern states, Menards has the tools, materials and supplies for all your home improvement needs whether just needing a light bulb or can of paint to building a deck or new home. Menards is known throughout the home improvement industry as the low price leader; it’s no wonder their famous slogan – “SAVE BIG MONEY” – is so widely known and easy to remember. Menards does things right – the company’s strength and success can be seen in the well-stocked and maintained stores, the lowest prices in town and the way guests are always treated like family in a hometown hardware store atmosphere.
ABOUT IDEAL DOOR: Since 1963, Ideal Door has been an industry leader in sectional garage doors and the preferred choice of home owners, architects and builders for their current and future door needs. For more information, visit www.idealdoors.com.
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.