Crafton – Ready to Rebound at Michigan, Reclaim the Points Lead

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Team Information:

2015 Driver Point Standings: 2nd (-11)

2015 Owner Point Standings: 2nd

Crew Chief: Carl “Junior” Joiner

 

Sandusky, Ohio (August 11, 2015) – Matt Crafton, driver of the No. 88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota Tundra, has been an “Ideal” candidate for consistency throughout the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season. The 15-year veteran has won back-to-back titles, led the series standings through nine of the first 12 races, leads all drivers with four wins, and has eight top-five and 10 top-10 finishes this season. Therefore, following his worst finish of the season at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (28th), which caused the defending series champion to lose his spot atop the point standings, you can count on the No. 88 team to rebound this weekend, and be a factor for victory lane in Saturday’s Careers for Veterans 200 at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) in Brooklyn.

 

In 2014, Crafton finished a track-best second at MIS, scoring his third top-five finish in 13 starts at the two-mile oval. In fact, the two-time and defending series champion is ranked first in Laps in the Top-15 (730) according to NASCAR’s Loop Data statistics, and has the most starts (13), and the most laps completed (1182) of any other driver entered in the 16th annual event. Furthermore, crew chief Carl “Junior” Joiner has chosen a two-time race winning chassis for Crafton’s 14th NCWTS start at MIS, chassis No. 35. The same chassis Crafton drove to victory lane at Kansas Speedway in 2013 and earlier this season.

 

Sounding off – Matt Crafton:

“I think Michigan will keep getting better and better as the years go on. Since the repave, it hasn’t been the best, but the groove will just keep widening out, and we’ll be able to move around. Last year was a little better, but the last three years have been really hard to move around, and search for a place where your truck is capable of running. We’ve only really had about a groove and a half to work with, and if your truck isn’t working on the bottom, you need to be able to move up and you haven’t been able to in the past. I know last year there were about two and a half grooves. Hopefully, the winter was hard on it, and there will be about three or four this year.”

 

News & Notes:

  • Chassis Chatter… The No. 88 ThorSport Racing team will unload chassis No. 35 for the 16th annual Truck Series event at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday. This particular chassis was last seen at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, KS earlier this season and has two wins to it’s credit, including Crafton’s second win of the season at the one-mile KS oval.
  • Michigan Minute… Crafton will be making his 14th NCWTS start at MIS on Saturday, and the ThorSport Racing driver is still looking for his first win at the 2-mile oval. In 13 previous starts, the ThorSport Racing driver has led 30 laps en route to three top-five and four top-10 finishes. In 2014, the Menards driver finished a track-best second.
  • 2015 Season Review… In 12 starts this season, Crafton has led 421 laps en route to four wins (Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Kentucky Speedway), eight top-five and 10 top-10 finishes. The reigning series champion has completed 1824 of 1829 laps attempted (96.6%), and has an Average Start of 8.6 and an Average Finish of 7.0.
  • Previous Race Recap… Crafton qualified a track-best third in his 350th NCWTS start in the Pocono Mountains 150 at Pocono Raceway, but was involved in a lap 5 incident, regulating the No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra to a 28th-place finish.

 

Crafton’s NCWTS stats at Michigan:

  • 13 starts since 2002
  • 1182 of 1304 laps completed (90.6%)
  • 30 laps led
  • Three top-five finishes
  • Four top-10 finishes
  • Best start: First (August 2011)
  • Best finish: Second (August 2014)
  • Average start: 11.9
  • Average finish: 16
  • According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, Crafton ranks:
    • First in Laps in the Top 15 (730)
    • Third in Laps Led (29)
    • Sixth in Driver Rating (91.1)

 

Crafton’s Michigan International Speedway NCWTS Performance Profile:

Year Started Finished Laps Status Led
2002 18 16 100/100 Running 0
2003 16 25 66/100 Engine 0
2004 4 12 100/100 Running 1
2005 28 22 100/100 Running 0
2006 6 5 102/102 Running 1
2007 23 34 40/100 Engine 0
2008 20 15 100/100 Running 0
2009 2 4 100/100 Running 0
2010 4 27 83/100 Engine 1
2011 1 21 91/100 Crash 20
2012 13 16 100/100 Running 0
2013 6 9 100/100 Running 0
2014 14 2 100/100 Running 7

 

Matt Crafton’s 2014 Highlights:

  • Won second consecutive NCWTS championship title to become the first driver in series history to win back-to-back titles
  • First career multi-win season with victories at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth
  • 10th consecutive full season in second stint with ThorSport Racing
  • Earned a series-leading 7.0 average finish
  • Career-best 13 top-five finishes and 298 laps led

 

Crafton’s Career Truck Series Stats:

  • 350 starts since 2000
  • Nine wins
  • 84 top-five finishes
  • 202 top-10 finishes
  • Seven poles
  • 54,527 laps completed
  • 1339 laps led
  • Average start: 13.2
  • Average finish: 11.6
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