Matt Crafton – 2016 Atlanta Motor Speedway Recap

2016 Toyota Camping World Truck PortraitsTeam Information:
Started: 1st
Finished: 30th
Laps: 111/130
Status: Accident
Driver Points: 18th
Owner Points: 19th

Quote:

What did you see that caused the accident?

“They said the 4 (Christopher Bell) just lost it, and hooked the 51 (Daniel Suarez) in the right rear – just turned him dead sideways into me. It was a pretty solid hit, but like I said, hands down to NASCAR for having all these SAFER barriers and everything around this race track. It’s a shame because this Menards Toyota Tundra was so, so fast.”

Notes:

  • The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) had three practice sessions on Friday afternoon in preparation for Saturday’s Great Clips 200. Matt Crafton, driver of the No 88 Menards Toyota Tundra, was third, fifth and second overall, respectively.
  • With a speed of 179.790 seconds, Crafton claimed his first NCWTS Keystone Light Pole award at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway (AMS) on Saturday morning – the 12th of his career.
  • Crafton led the field three times for a race-high 76 laps in the 130-lap event at AMS, but finished 30th due to a late-race accident on lap 113 of 130.
  • Starting on the pole, Crafton led the first six laps of the 130-lap event before surrendering the lead to the No. 4 truck on lap seven, complaining of a Menards Toyota Tundra that was, “too free at the beginning of the run.”
  • Crafton would assume the lead for the second time at lap 26 before bringing his No. 88 machine to pit road under the races first caution at lap 39 for four tires and fuel. Crafton would remain the leader for the lap 42 restart.
  • The Menards driver would lead the ensuing 19 laps before crew chief Carl “Junior” Joiner would bring the 88 machine to pit road under the races second caution at lap 61 for four tires and fuel. Crafton would once again lead the field to green at lap 68.
  • The ThorSport Racing driver would lead the next 23 laps, giving up the lead at lap 91 to the 4 truck complaining of a “tight” Toyota Tundra. Needing help through the center of the corner, “Junior” brought the Menards machine to pit road for the final time under the lap 107 caution for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. Solid work by the pit crew would allow the two-time champion to resume the lead for the third and final time during the Great Clips 200 for the lap 111 restart.
  • Just two laps later, on lap 113, Crafton would be swept up in a multi-truck accident on the backstretch that would bring out the red flag for over six minutes. Hard contact with the outside wall would eliminate the No. 88 machine from finishing the 130-lap event, and Crafton would be credited with a 30th place finish, 10 laps down to race winner John Hunter Nemechek.
  • In 15 starts at the Hampton, Ga. track Crafton has led 171 laps en route to one win (2015), four top-five and eight top-10 finishes
  • In 363 career starts, Crafton has 12 poles, 11 wins, 89 top-five and 211 top-10 finishes.
  • Crafton’s ThorSport Racing teammates finished second (Hayley), sixth (Rhodes), and 11th (Abreu)
  • Up next: The Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on Saturday, April 2, 2016
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