Crafton Remains Point Leader After a 14th-Place Finish at Talladega

Matt Crafton, driver of the No. 88 Fisher Nuts/Menards Toyota Tundra entered Saturday afternoon’s fred’s 250 at Talladega Superspeedway with a 19 point lead in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) driver point standings. Although the defending champion endured an up and down kind of day, the ThorSport Racing driver left the “wild card race” with a 14th-place finish and an 16 point lead in the 2014 NCWTS driver point standings.

Starting a track-best third, Crafton maintained a position inside the top-five before coming down pit road for fuel only under the first caution for a five truck pile-up on the backstretch at lap 13. As the Menards driver was exiting his pit stall, contact with another competitor resulted in splitter and right front damage on the No. 88 Tundra. When racing resumed on lap 18, Crafton was scored 25th.

Crafton made his way up to the third position over the next 31 circuits before bringing his Tundra back down pit road at lap 49, under green, for a scheduled stop for right side tires and fuel. The Menards Tundra would return to the track scored ninth and remain inside the top-10 before being black flagged by NASCAR for push drafting. Crafton was forced to serve a pass through penalty on lap 55, ultimately causing the Tulare, California driver to lose the draft. Fortunately, the second caution flag was displayed four laps later for a stopped truck on the track, allowing the No. 88 machine to catch up with the lead pack.

Crew Chief Carl Joiner brought the Menards Tundra to pit road under caution several times to work on the right front and splitter area to fix the aerodynamics for the final 30 laps. Crafton returned to the 2.66-mile track scored 17th and opted run at the tail of the field for the next 15 laps to watch the “drama unfold.” With 10 laps remaining, Crafton hooked up with his teammate, Jeb Burton, and the two worked the draft to make it up to the top-10. As the race went into overtime, it was every driver for himself. Crafton was shuffled back on the final lap and credited with a 14th-place finish behind race winner, Timothy Peters.

Notes:
• Matt Crafton started a track-best third in the ninth annual fred’s 250 at Talladega Superspeedway
• The ThorSport Racing driver finished 14th, his 16th top-15 finish of 2014
• Crafton remains first in the NCWTS driver point standings, 16 markers ahead of second-place Ryan Blaney
• This is the eighth week during the 2014 season that Crafton has led the NCWTS driver point standings
• In 2014, Crafton has two wins, 10 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes
• Timothy Peters won the ninth annual NCWTS race at Talladega Superspeedway followed by Tayler Malsam (second), Spencer Gallagher (third), Tyler Reddick (fourth), and Ryan Blaney who rounded out the top-five finishers
• The NCWTS will head to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway for the Kroger 200 on Saturday, October 25.

Quote – Matt Crafton:
“We didn’t have the day we had hoped for, but it was a decent day for us points wise. We didn’t gain any points, but we didn’t lose many points. Talladega was marked as the wild card race on our calendars and I guess we survived it. It could have been a lot worse.”

Practice: 14th; 51.328 seconds/186.565mph
Qualifying: 3rd; 51.366 seconds/186.437mph

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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