Started: 1st (based on rule book)
Driver Points: 1st (+20)
Owner Points: 1st
Sparta, KY (July 10, 2015) – Matt Crafton, driver of the No. 88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota Tundra, won the wreck-shortened UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta on Thursday night. The feat is the ThorSport Racing driver’s first win at the 1.5-mile track and the ninth of his career. The win also marked Crafton’s fourth win in six starts at an intermediate-style (1.5-mile) track this season.
For only the second time in series history, NASCAR cancelled Truck Series practice and qualifying due to weather, and the 31-truck field was set based on the rule book (2015 owner point standings), declaring Crafton as the polesitter for the 150-lap event.
The Menards driver led the field three times for 43 laps and crew chief Carl “Junior” Joiner brought the No. 88 Tundra to pit road four times at laps 22, 45, 100 and 127, respectively, taking four tires and fuel each stop, except for a last minute call on the final stop for two tires. The call allowed Crafton to restart fourth with 14 laps remaining. With help from Ryan Blaney on a lap 144 restart, the two-time champion would take the lead from Erik Jones moments before Ben Kennedy’s Tundra was launched into the catchfence, bringing out the eighth and final caution flag of the night. Extensive damage to the catchfence forced NASCAR to call the race five laps shy of the scheduled distance, declaring Crafton the race winner.
Thursday night’s victory allowed Crafton to gain eight points on second-place, Tyler Reddick, in the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) driver point standings. The two-time and defending series champion now leads by 20 points after 10 races.
“I have to thank Ryan Blaney, he was all about that restart. I know we had the best truck here when we got the track position. When I got the track position earlier and I drove away from everybody, and then we had a little problem on pit road when we were trying to get in our pit box on that green flag pit stop, and we lost the lead. I think that was the only reason we lost the lead, but this Menards Toyota Tundra was really, really good.”
“That final restart was everything. Track position was key. The last couple years we haven’t been too stellar here to say the least. Junior (Carl Joiner, crew chief) actually called me and was like, ‘What are we going to do about this place?’ I said this used to be one of my favorite race tracks. He said a few choice words because we’ve been so bad here. I had all the confidence in the world from what we had last year, the year before – Junior and them brought back 100 percent different setup. To go into that first corner and have 100 percent confidence in what these guys bring to the race track. I don’t know what we could have done to make it that much better. It was really, really good on the long run – really good on the short run, but it says a lot to these guys with what they bring to the race track each and every weekend. We roll off the trailer and 90 percent of the races we are really, really close and we just have to fine tune it.”
- Matt Crafton won Thursday night’s UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway, his fourth of the 2015 NCWTS season and ninth of his career
- In 17 starts at the 1.5-mile track, Crafton has one win, five top-five and 12 top-10 finishes
- Crafton led the field three times for 43 of the 145 laps Thursday night
- Crafton has now led 421 laps this season, leading at least one lap in each of the first 10 races. The feat is a personal best for the 15-year NCWTS veteran
- Crafton remains the NCWTS point leader following the 10th race of the season by 20 points over second-place, Tyler Reddick
- In 2015, Crafton has four wins, eight top-five and nine top-10 finishes
- In 348 career NCWTS starts, Crafton has nine wins, 84 top-five and 201 top-10 finishes
- Erik Jones (second), Ryan Blaney (third), Daniel Suarez (fourth), and Timothy Peters (fifth) rounded out the remainder of the top-five finishers
- Up next: The NCWTS will take a week off before heading to Eldora Speedway for the 1-800-CarCash Mudsummer Classic on Wednesday, July 22