What was scheduled to be a night race for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) at Bristol Motor Speedway was delayed due to rain on Wednesday night, turning the UNOH 200 into a Thursday morning show. Several teams were not prepared for the conditions a day race presents, but the No. 88 ThorSport Racing team and driver Matt Crafton were up to the challenge. Not letting the rain dampen his spirits, Crafton braved the changing conditions and brought his Great Lakes Wood Floors/Menards Toyota Tundra home in the fourth position.
Starting from the 11th position, the Tulare, CA native made quick work of the field and moved solidly into the top-10 in the early stages of the 200 lap race. Crafton was fighting a loose Toyota Tundra but relayed to his crew he was confident they would find the handling he needed before the end of the event. By the lap 50 competition caution, the No. 88 machine was scored in the sixth position. Crew chief Carl Joiner brought the ThorSport Racing driver down pit road for four tires and Sunoco race fuel. The pit crew performed a flawless stop, gaining two positions and propelled the ThorSport Racing driver into the fourth position for the ensuing restart.
Crafton held steady inside the top-5 although he continued to battle a loose Tundra through the next portion of the event. Relief would come in the form of a caution at lap 118, and Joiner brought the No. 88 Tundra back down pit road for another set of Goodyear Eagles, Sunoco fuel, and a much needed air pressure adjustment. The adjustment helped Crafton’s loose problem, but pushed his Tundra to the tight side, which would plague the team for the remainder of the 200-lap event. Unfortunately, time would run out on the No. 88 driver to gain any more positions and Crafton would bring his Great Lakes Wood Floors/Menards Tundra home in the fourth position for his second consecutive top-5 finish in less than a week.
• Crafton’s fourth-place finish in the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway was his third top-five finish in 12 career starts at the .533-mile oval
• According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, Crafton ranked fifth in Average Running Position (5.345), fifth in Driver Rating (110.2), and first in Laps in the Top 15 (200) following the UNOH 200
• In 2014, Crafton has two wins, seven top-five and nine top-10 finishes
• The ThorSport Racing driver remains second in the 2014 NCWTS driver point standings, eight points behind leader Johnny Sauter
• Brad Keselowski won the 17th annual UNOH 200 at BMS
• Darrell Wallace, Jr. (second), Ron Hornaday, Jr. (third), Matt Crafton (fourth), and Johnny Sauter (fifth) rounded out the remaining top-five finishers
• Up next for the No. 88 ThorSport Racing team is the NCWTS 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park on Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014
Quote – Matt Crafton:
“We fought loose, loose the whole first run — on the very stop we put tires on it and we fought loose again. Made an adjustment on the last stop and we just stepped over the line, just got a little bit too tight, but it was pretty darned good. We just needed track position there at the end. If we could have gotten that outside rolling, I think we could have had something for them.”
Practice: 10th, 15.557 seconds (123.340mph)
Qualifying: 11th, 15.607 seconds (122.945mph)
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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.