Crafton Likes His Odds for Talladega

2014 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) point leader and defending series champion, Matt Crafton, will tackle the 2.66-mile Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway for the ninth time in his career in Saturday afternoon’s fred’s 250 powered by Coca-Cola. Known as a track that produces wild, fender-to-fender racing and close finishes, it can be classified as one of the most anticipated races of the season.

Crafton, driver of the No. 88 Fisher Nuts/Menards Toyota Tundra, enters the 18th race on the 2014 NCWTS schedule with a 19-point lead over second-place competitor and teammate, Johnny Sauter. Although, the ThorSport Racing driver thinks racing on “Dega’s” high banks are like, “playing the lottery,” the seasoned veteran’s consistent craft is a recipe for success with only five races remaining on the 22-race schedule.

In his 14th full-time season in the series, Crafton is one of only two drivers that have competed in all eight NCWTS events at Talladega since 2006. In fact, Crafton also leads all active drivers in the most lead-lap finishes (7). Knowing that winning the lottery is a game of chance, Crafton likes his odds for Saturday afternoon’s fred’s 250.

Sounding off – Matt Crafton:
“Restrictor-plate racing for the fans is exciting, but as a driver, you are just stuck. It doesn’t matter how hard you push the pedal or what you do as a driver, you can’t do anything – you are just stuck in the middle of a pack of trucks. At a mile-and-a-half track a driver can make a difference, but at a place like Talladega, it is what it is. You are just waiting for someone to make a mistake that you are going to get caught up in – you have zero control. Racing at Talladega is just like going out and buying a lottery ticket — you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. There’s just no telling — but you’ve got to play the game.”

“We’ve just got to keep on doing what we’ve been doing, which is racing to win each and every week — being aggressive when we can be — but above all, being smart.”

Crafton’s Talladega Stats:
• Eight NCWTS starts since 2006 including one top-five and three top-10 finishes
• Seven laps led
• 698 of 757 laps completed (92.2%)
• Average start: 17.5
• Average finish: 15.5
• Best start: 7th (2009)
• Best finish: 4th (2010)
• According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, Crafton ranks:
  º First in Green Flag Passes (1196)
  º Second in Fastest Laps Run (26)
  º Third in Laps in Top 15 (278)

Crafton’s Talladega Superspeedway NCWTS Performance Profile:

Date Start Finish Laps Status Led
2006 29 18 94/94 Running 0
2007 21 18 94/94 Running 0
2008 12 16 94/94 Running 0
2009 7 10 98/98 Running 0
2010 11 4 95/95 Running 4
2011 12 31 35/94 Crash 1
2012 25 18 94/94 Running 1
2013 23 9 94/94 Running 1

Matt Crafton 2014:
• After a third-place finish at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway, Crafton remains first in the NCWTS driver point standings by 19 markers over ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter
• Has been victorious twice – Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth
• The first season in 14 years in the NCWTS that the ThorSport Racing driver has won multiple races in one season
• In 17 starts in 2014, has posted two wins, 10 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes
• Has led 268 laps, a personal best in one season
• Recorded a season-best second-place start three times; Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Dover (Del.) International Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth
• Has completed 2502 of 2583 laps attempted (96.9%)
• Has an Average Start of 8.9
• Has an Average Finish of 7.1
• According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, Crafton ranks
  º First in Average Running Position (6.51)
  º First in Laps in Top 15 (2443)
  º Second in Driver Rating (105.6)
  º Third in Fastest Laps Run (210)
  º Third in Laps Led (268)
• 14th full-time season in the NCWTS

Crafton’s Career Truck Series Stats:
• 333 starts since 2000
• Five wins
• 73 top-five finishes
• 188 top-10 finishes
• Seven poles
• 51,996 laps completed
• 888 laps led
• Average start:13.5
• 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 FISHER® NUTS:
Fisher® Nuts is a brand owned by John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc. (NASDAQ: JBSS), a company founded in 1922 that’s a leading processor, marketer and distributor of baking nuts, snack nuts and nut-based products that are sold in multiple distribution channels. Its products can be found under the Fisher®, Orchard Valley Harvest™ and Sunshine Country® brand names and a variety of private labels.

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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