Driver Points: 2nd (-7)
Owner Points: 2nd
Loudon, NH (September 26, 2015) – Matt Crafton, driver of the No. 88 Rip It/Menards Toyota Tundra entered Saturday’s UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) in Loudon, looking for redemption. The two-time and defending series champion began the 17th race on the 2015 NCWTS schedule third in the championship point standings, 11 points out of the lead. Following a track-best second-place finish in the 175-lap event, the ThorSport Racing driver is now second in the driver point standings, a mere seven points behind leader, Erik Jones.
Crafton, who showed strength in both NCWTS practice sessions on Friday afternoon, fought a “loose” Toyota Tundra in qualifying on Saturday morning, and settled for a 10th-place qualifying effort for the 18th annual event at the “Magic Mile.”
Crew chief Carl “Junior” Joiner brought the No. 88 machine to pit road twice during the 175-lap event at lap 37, under caution, and lap 113, under green, for four tires, fuel and adjustments. Fighting a Tundra that would swing from loose, to neutral, to tight, under a long green-flag run, Crafton maintained a position inside the top-10 throughout the race.
Following a cycle of green flag pit stops, just past the half-way mark, the Menards driver would find himself toying with fuel strategy late in the race, contemplating making it to the end on fuel. However, a pair of late-race cautions allowed the No. 88 team to make it to their fuel window, and contend for the win in the final laps. Working with teammate, Johnny Sauter, on the final restart, Crafton would cross the stripe in the second position, a track-best finish, behind race winner Austin Dillon in the series 500th race.
“It was a very eventful day without a doubt. We missed it in qualifying for sure. We didn’t qualify nearly as well as we wanted to, and just kept tuning on it all day. My restarts were beyond pathetic right there at the end. Johnny (Sauter) kept helping me get my feet off the ground on the last restart, but it still left something to be desired, for sure. All in all, it was pretty good day. I would say we had about the third-best truck here, and came out of here second. I’ll leave with that, and run.”
- Matt Crafton started 10th and finished second in Saturday’s UNOH 175 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway, a track-best finish for the ThorSport Racing driver
- In 13 starts at the “Magic Mile,” Crafton has four top-five and eight top-10 finishes
- In 2015, Crafton has four wins (Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, and Kentucky Speedway), one pole (Michigan), 10 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes
- The ThorSport Racing driver moved up to second in the 2015 NCWTS driver point standings following the 17th race of the season, seven points back from leader, Erik Jones
- Austin Dillon won the UNOH 175 at NHMS followed by Crafton (second), ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter (third), Timothy Peters (fourth), and John Hunter Nemecheck (fifth). Also, ThorSport Racing teammate Cameron Hayley finished 12th.
- In 355 career NCWTS starts, Crafton has nine wins, 86 top-five and 206 top-10 finishes
- Up next: The Rhino Linings 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, October 3, 2015