Matt Crafton and the No. 88 Ideal Door/Menards team entered the eighth race on the 2014 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) schedule at Kentucky Speedway looking for redemption following a season-worst 26th-place finish at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill. Crafton endured a “wicked loose” Toyota Tundra and a broken side skirt, which plagued the handling of the Menard’s yellow machine in the opening laps. The ThorSport Racing driver was able to persevere and rebounded in style with a sixth-place finish in Thursday night’s UNOH 225. The solid effort was the 2013 reigning series champions’ 11th top-10 finish at Kentucky Speedway, the most of any other driver in the series.
Starting 11th, Crafton was quickly plagued with issues when the side skirt on the left side of his Tundra sheared off in the opening laps, bringing out the first caution of the night for debris on the backstretch. Although the unfortunate circumstance dramatically hurt the down force and handling on the No. 88 machine, it didn’t hurt Crafton’s position on the race track and his drive to find victory lane for the third time this season.
Continuing to search for the edge he needed to drive to the front, Crafton eventually came down pit road on lap 61 under caution to repair the side skirt on his ThorSport Racing machine. Unfortunately, the handling didn’t improve, and Crafton was scored a race-low 15th just past the half-way mark in the 150-lap event. Crew chief Carl Joiner made one last attempt to improve on the Tundra when the fifth caution flag was displayed on lap 100. Crafton came down pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. Restarting sixth on lap 103, the Tulare, California native raced between fourth and eighth in the closing laps to cross the stripe sixth behind race winner Kyle Busch.
• Crafton spent 99.3% of laps attempted in the top-15 (149/150)
• Crafton’s sixth-place finish was his 11th top-10 at Kentucky Speedway
• In 2014, Crafton has led 222 laps en route to two wins, four top-five and five top-10 finishes
• The UNOH 225 was the 10th straight win for Toyota, dating back to Phoenix International Raceway (November 2013) when Erik Jones visited victory lane – marking the longest active win streak by any manufacturer in the NCWTS
• Crafton gained three points on teammate Johnny Sauter following his sixth-place finish at Kentucky Speedway and remain second in the 2014 NCWTS point standings
“I don’t know what it was, or where we missed it, but this Menards team never gave up. We made more changes on this truck tonight than ever before and made it better at the end; but we still weren’t close. It was a hard fought night and the damage to the left side definitely hurt our free-in handling condition we had battled most of the day. It wasn’t the night we wanted but we will take it and move on to Iowa in a couple weeks.”
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 IDEAL DOOR: Since 1963, Ideal Door has been an industry leader in sectional garage doors and the preferred choice of home owners, architects and builders for their current and future door needs. For more information, visit www.idealdoors.com.
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.