Crafton Hopes To Make History Following The Season Finale At Homestead

Reigning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) champion, Matt Crafton, has the opportunity to make history following the final race on the 2014 schedule at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway on Friday. The seasoned veteran is looking to do what no other competitor has done in the series before him – become the first back-to-back champion. Crafton, who enters the 22nd race of the season with a 25 point lead over second-place Ryan Blaney, has to finish 21st or better in the 134-lap event to clinch his second-consecutive series title.

The ThorSport Racing driver hasn’t lucked into his championship run this season – “Consistent Crafton” has earned it. In his 14th full-time season in the NCWTS, Crafton has never won multiple races in one year. This season the Tulare, Calif. native was victorious at both Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (3/29/14) and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (6/6/14). The Menards driver has led 298 laps – a personal best in one season – and scored a series-high 13 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes. Finally, Crafton currently has a season-best Average Start of 7.8 and his second highest Average Finish of 6.9.

Crafton, who has 13 NCWTS series starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway, including two top-five and five top-10 finishes, will pilot the same Toyota Tundra that he drove from last to third at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon earlier this year – a dependable and steady workhorse that he hopes will have him galloping into the history books on Friday night.

Sounding off – Matt Crafton:
“I love going to Homestead – its great racing. You can race on the white line or up against the wall and everywhere in between so it’s got a lot of character. It depends on the handling of your truck, but you want to start off in the middle, then when the tires start falling off, you start sliding, and then you move up to the wall if your truck handles well up there. That’s one of the really cool things about Homestead; it’s all dependent on how your truck handles to where you can run on the race track.”

“I’m going into Homestead and trying to win the race. That’s been our goal since Daytona — we haven’t looked at the points and we haven’t focused anything on points. Just went out there and tried to win as many races as possible.”

Crafton’s Homestead-Miami Speedway Stats:
• 13 NCWTS starts since 2001 including two top-five and five top-10 finishes
• 38 laps led
• 1783 of 1789 laps completed (99.7%)
• Best start: 2nd (2004)
• Best finish: 2nd (2009)
• Average start: 13.2
• Average finish: 12.8
• According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, Crafton ranks:
  º 2nd in Laps in Top 15 (935)
  º 3rd in Fastest Laps Run (41)
  º 11th in Average Running Position (10.515)
  º 11th in Driver Rating (90.2)

Matt Crafton’s Homestead-Miami Speedway NCWTS Performance Profile:

Date Start Finish Laps Status Led
2001 15 26 164/167 Running 0
2002 10 9 133/134 Running 0
2003 17 15 133/134 Running 0
2004 2 5 134/134 Running 23
2005 10 10 134/134 Running 0
2006 21 12 134/134 Running 0
2007 31 12 137/138 Running 0
2008 23 17 137/137 Running 1
2009 7 2 136/136 Running 0
2010 7 6 134/134 Running 0
2011 11 19 119/119 Running 2
2012 9 12 140/140 Running 0
2013 8 21 148/148 Running 12

Matt Crafton 2014:
• After a second-place finish at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway, Crafton remains first in the NCWTS driver point standings by 25 markers over second-place Ryan Blaney
• Has been victorious twice – Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (3/29/14) and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (6/6/14)
• The first season in 14 years in the NCWTS that the ThorSport Racing driver has won multiple races in one season
• In 21 starts in 2014, has posted two wins, 13 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes
• Has led 298 laps, a personal best in one season
• Recorded a season-best second-place start four times; Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (5/16/14), Dover (Del.) International Speedway (5/30/14), Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (6/6/14), and Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway (11/7/14)
• Has completed 3075 of 3156 laps attempted (97.4%)
• Has an Average Start of 7.8
• Has an Average Finish of 6.9
• 14th full-time season in the NCWTS
• According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, Crafton ranks:
  º First in Average Running Position (6.469)
  º First in Laps in Top 15 (2959)
  º Second in Driver Rating (106.4)
  º Second in Fastest Laps Run (270)
  º Fourth in Laps Led (298)

Crafton’s Career Truck Series Stats:
• 337 starts since 2000
• Five wins
• 76 top-five finishes
• 191 top-10 finishes
• Seven poles
• 52,569 laps completed
• 918 laps led
• Average start:13.4
• Average finish: 11.8

ABOUT MENARDS:
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 JELD-WEN:
Jeld-Wen, with its headquarters in Klamath Falls, Ore., is a corporation founded in 1960 that currently has manufacturing and distribution locations across the United States and in more than 20 countries, with more than 20,000 employees worldwide. The business manufactures building products including windows, interior and exterior doors and garage doors. For more information go to www.jeld-wen.com or call (800) 535-3936.

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.

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