Matt Crafton – 2016 Martinsville Recap

MARTINSVILLE, VA - OCTOBER 29:  Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, races during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Texas Roadhouse 200 presented by Alpha Energy Solutions at Martinsville Speedway on October 29, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Race Information:
Started: 11th
Finished: 17th
Laps: 200/200
Laps Led: 0
Status: Running
2016 Chase Status: 5th
2016 Owner Points: 5th

Matt Crafton Race Recap:

Matt Crafton, driver of the No. 88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota Toyota, made his 30th career start at Martinsville Speedway in Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Texas Roadhouse 200 presented by Alpha Energy Solutions. Starting 11th, Crafton fought a “free-in, and free-off” Menards Toyota Tundra, and brake issues throughout the 200-lap event. With experience at a premium at the tough half-mile paperclip, Crafton was able to work his way inside the top-10 by lap 10, and the top-five by lap 70. With 50 laps to go, Crafton, who was running eighth, radioed into crew chief Carl “Junior” Joiner that he had no brakes and the left rear was on fire.” The ThorSport Racing driver brought his Menards Toyota Tundra to pit road twice under the lap 150 caution for four tires, fuel, and to go under the hood to repair a brake caliper. The two-time champion restarted 22nd, one lap down to the race leaders, and in the final 45 laps was able to work his way back onto the lead lap, and finished 17th behind race winner, Johnny Sauter.

Crafton, one of six NCWTS drivers to make Round 2 of the inaugural NCWTS Chase, is currently ranked fifth in the championship standings. Two more races remain in the semifinals of the NCWTS Chase. The top four drivers from Round 2 will advance to the final Round, which kicks off at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the final race of the season.

Matt Crafton Quote:

When did you start feeling you had a brake problem?
“Probably about lap 15. We started having a ton of pedal fade, and it made zero sense. Same truck we had at New Hampshire, and put all new master cylinders, and a bunch of stuff on it, and I guess we didn’t find quite the gremlin that we thought we had at New Hampshire. All in all, we’ll just move on, and go onto a couple really good tracks for us, Texas and Phoenix.”

How strong was your truck before the brake issue?
“I definitely felt we had a top-five truck. We could run in the top-five even though we were losing the brakes. It was 15 laps into a run, every run, that I started losing the brakes, and I would just have to sit there and ride so I had something to work with there at the end. I smelled it at one point, and kept feeling something going on with the brake pedal, and finally it went away.”

What did it mean to salvage a finish on the lead lap after the problem?
“The guys did a really, really good job getting the truck back together. Capping the left rear caliper off just so we had some kind of brakes – right there at the end we had two front brake calipers and a right rear, we had nothing on the left rear. Then to be able to pass a few trucks, and salvage what we did, it was a good day.”

News & Notes:

  • The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) had two practice sessions on Friday afternoon in preparation for Saturday’s Texas Roadhouse 200 presented by Alpha Energy Solutions at Martinsville Speedway. Matt Crafton was fourth, and 12th, respectively, in both sessions.
  • Making his 30th career start at Martinsville Speedway, Crafton started eighth, ran as high as fourth, and finished 17th, due to brake problems late in the 200-lap race.
  • In 30 starts at Martinsville Speedway, Crafton has led 279 laps en route to two wins, eight top-five, and 17 top-10 finishes.
  • In 20 starts in 2016, Crafton has one pole (Atlanta), two wins, and has led 421 laps en route to six top-five, and 13 top-10 finishes.
  • In 381 career NCWTS starts, Crafton has earned 12 poles, led 2110 laps en route to 13 wins, 95 top-five and 223 top-10 finishes.
  • Crafton’s ThorSport Racing teammates finished 11th (Hayley), 19th (Rhodes), and 24th (Abreu).
  • Up Next: The Longhorn 350 at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday, November 4, 2016.
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