Matt Crafton – 2016 Eldora Preview

lat-levitt-TMS_0116-01659Team Information:
Crew Chief: Carl “Junior” Joiner
Manufacturer: Toyota
Engine: Triad Racing Technologies
2016 NCWTS Driver Point Standings: 2nd (-13)
2016 NCWTS Owner Point Standings: 2nd

Sounding Off – Matt Crafton:

You’ve had three top 10 finishes at Eldora. I know it’s not your favorite race track, but you’ve run well there. What’s the key to getting around the place?

“I just stay out of trouble, that’s one of the biggest things. I’ve run a lot better than just top-10 runs. Last year was just really, really disappointing, because I ran consistently inside the top-5 all night. I was third on the last restart, but for whatever reason they (NASCAR) said I was fourth, but I had been running third clearly the last couple laps before that. I had to start on the outside, and I think it was a green-white-checkered flag or something like that, and I got shuffled back. Then I got slammed into the wall, and everybody took their gloves off at that point and started running into each other, and I got shuffled back again. By time I got back down to where I had been running, I ended up only getting up to about ninth. So, needless to say, we ran a lot better than that. I mean, it’s a very fun race in some ways, but very discouraging to some of the owners when they go there and their trucks just get destroyed. It’s a lot of fun though, and it does put on a great show for the fans.”

News & Notes:

  • Chassis Chatter… The No. 88 ThorSport Racing team will unload chassis No. 46 for Wednesday night’s Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway. This is the same chassis Crafton piloted at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in 2015, finishing second.
  • Eldora Dirt… Crafton will make his fourth career start at Eldora Speedway on Wednesday night. In fact, the ThorSport Racing driver is one of five active series drivers that have participated in all three NCWTS races at the half-mile clay dirt track, the only driver to finish inside the top-10 in all three NCWTS races at the “Big E,” and has completed the most laps (457).
  • Dirt Trackin’… Crafton competed in the “Clair Cup” at Willamette Speedway, a 1/3-mile dirt oval in Lebanon, Oregon on July 3 in an IMCA Dirt Modified, finishing sixth.
  • Off-Weekend Fun… In addition to competing on the dirt at Willamette Speedway on July 3, Crafton competed in the Kevin Butzin Recycling 100-lap late model race on July 8 at Toledo Speedway in Toledo, Ohio, finishing second. Additionally, the Menards driver competed in the IWK 250 at Riverside International Speedway, a 1/3-mile high-banked asphalt short track in Antigonish, Nova Scotia on Saturday, July 16, finishing third.
  • In The Loop – Eldora… According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, Crafton ranks seventh in Average Running Position (9.5), seventh in Driver Rating (88.4), and second in Laps in the Top 15 (429).
  • Chase Status… Crafton is currently second in the 2016 NCWTS driver point standings after 10 races this season. As one of two drivers with multiple wins this season, the two-time NCWTS champion is all but guaranteed a spot in the eight driver chase which kicks off at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon on September 24.
  • In The Loop – 2016… According to NASCAR’s Loop Data statistics, Crafton ranks first in the following categories; Average Running Position (6.3), Fastest Drivers Late in a Run, Fastest Laps Run (212), Laps in the Top-15 (1583), Laps Led (398), and Mile Leaders (565.54). The two-time champion ranks second in Driver Rating (110.8).
  • Eldora Rewind – 2015 … The ThorSport Racing driver started 12th, ran as high as second, and finished ninth.
  • Race Rewind – Kentucky… Making his 18th career start at Kentucky Speedway in the NCWTS, Crafton started eighth, ran as high as fourth, and finished eighth.
  • Major Milestone…The Tulare, California native extended the NCWTS record for consecutive starts to 371 in the Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway, passing four-time NCWTS champion Ron Hornaday, Jr with 360 starts in the 2015 NCWTS season finale at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway. Crafton made his series debut at Auto Club Speedway in November 2000, and enters his 16th full-time season in the NCWTS, and his 15th full-time season with ThorSport Racing in 2016.

Crafton’s Eldora Stats:

  • 3 starts since 2013
  • 457 of 457 laps completed (100%)
  • 0 laps led
  • Top-5 Finishes: 0
  • Top-10 Finishes: 3
  • Best Start: 7th (2013)
  • Best Finish: 8th (2013)
  • Average start: 9.3
  • Average finish: 8.7

Crafton’s 2016 NCWTS Stats:

  • Starts: 10
  • Wins: 2
  • Top-5 Finishes: 4
  • Top-10 Finishes: 8
  • Poles: 1 (Atlanta)
  • Laps Led: 394
  • Laps Completed: 1635 of 1666 (98.1%)
  • Start: 8.7
  • Average Finish: 9.6

Crafton’s Career NCWTS Stats:

  • Starts: 371 since 2000
  • 13 wins
  • 93 top-five finishes
  • 218 top-10 finishes
  • 12 poles
  • 57,703 laps completed
  • 2083 laps led
  • Average start: 12.8
  • Average finish: 11.4
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