Matt Crafton persevered through a frustrating night Thursday at Kentucky Speedway but in the end maintained his lead in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ championship standings with his ninth consecutive top-10 finish this season — 10th in the UNOH 225.
Crafton went to the line seventh in his No. 88 Ideal Door / Menards Toyota and actually maintained a position in the upper half of the top 10 for the first two-thirds of the race, while Darrell Wallace Jr. and his truck owner Kyle Busch dominated out front.
But in the race’s latter stages, Crafton fell to the tail end of the top-10 before he ultimately finished 10th, his worst finish in nine races this season.
“Our truck was terrible — just the handling,” Crafton said. “I don’t know what we missed. We started off OK and just got tighter and tighter. We took two tires and I don’t know what the deal was with it — it just wouldn’t turn for whatever reason it was.”
The outcome was frustrating for Crafton and his crew, who were ninth-best in the opening practice, with their best lap of 10 in 31.278 seconds, an average speed of 172.645 mph. Happy Hour was no revelation, as Crafton was mired back in 17th, at a slightly faster 31.272 seconds, 172.678 mph.
Crafton actually didn’t fall out of the top 10 in the running order until there were less than 40 laps remaining in the race. He made it back into the top 10, retaining his strong position in the standings, with less than 10 laps remaining.
Crafton still maintains a 22-point lead, 319-297, over rookie of the year leader Jeb Burton, who finished ninth.
Crafton mixed his day Thursday between practicing, qualifying and racing his Truck Series Toyota Tundra, while also practicing the No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Rheem / Menards car, which he qualified eighth for Saturday evening’s Feed the Children 300 for the Nationwide Series.
Crafton’s scheduled to race in the next Camping World Truck Series race at Iowa Speedway on July 13. His additional Nationwide starts for RCR are at Chicagoland and Kentucky later this season.