Matt Crafton – 2016 Martinsville Speedway Preview

2016 Toyota Camping World Truck PortraitsTeam Information:
Crew Chief: Carl “Junior” Joiner
Manufacturer: Toyota
Engine: Triad Racing Technologies
2016 NCWTS Driver Point Standings: 18th
2016 NCWTS Owner Point Standings: 19th

Sounding Off – Matt Crafton:

Is Martinsville Speedway a mentally draining track for drivers?

Oh absolutely. Goodyear always brings a great tire to Martinsville and that’s another track, much like Atlanta, where you have to be able to manage your tires. You can run as hard as you want to at the start of a run, but you’re going to pay the price at the end, you’ve gotta be there. The hard part is you are always in traffic at Martinsville. You’ve just got to keep your nose clean, and be there at the end. I guess Martinsville is a lot like a Daytona or Talladega, really, you just have to manage your stuff and put yourself in position to be there at the end. We’ve had some very fast trucks there in the past, so hopefully we can pick up where we left off there last year.”

What have been the keys to your success at Martinsville?

“It’s just short track racing, what we grew up doing, which is all I’ve ever known until I started racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. I worked with Junior (Carl Joiner, crew chief) in the Southwest Series, racing on all those short tracks, so that’s what we know, and we work well together, and communicate well on what we need.”

News & Notes:

  • Chassis Chatter… The No. 88 ThorSport Racing team will utilize chassis No. 43 for Saturday’s Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. This is the same chassis that Crafton piloted at both Martinsville Speedway races in 2015, including a second-place finish in the spring and a win in the fall race. Additionally, Crafton finished second at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (September). Collectively, Crafton has led 163 laps with this particular chassis.
  • Martinsville Minute… Among active series drivers, Crafton has the most starts (28), is tied with Johnny Sauter for the most wins (2), has the most top-five finishes (8), the most top-10 finishes (10), and has completed the most laps (6210) at Martinsville Speedway.
  • In The Loop – Martinsville… According to NASCAR’s Loop Data statistics, Crafton is scored first in Green Flag Passes (621), first in Laps in the Top 15 (3770), second in Average Running Position (10.22), second in Driver Rating (97.3), second in Laps Led (279), and third in Fastest Laps Run (152).
  • Martinsville Rewind… In the series’ last stop at the half-mile paperclip, Crafton started 13th, led the final 63 laps of the 200-lap race, and brought home his second Grandfather Clock.
  • Spring Break Fun… On Saturday, March 19, 2016 Crafton, crew chief Carl “Junior” Joiner, and his No. 88 ThorSport Racing team attended the Monster Energy Supercross event at Ford Field. All are huge fans of the sport.
  • Atlanta Review… Crafton earned his 12th career pole at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway (his first at the 1.5-mile track), and led a race-high 76 laps, but fell victim to a late-race multi-truck accident while leading, and was relegated to a 30th-place finish.
  • Triad Power… In 2015 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Crafton earned Triad’s 100th win, and in 2016 at the 1.5-mile Hampton, Ga. track, the two-time champion earned Triad’s 88th pole. The duo’s power is all in the numbers.
  • Major Milestone…The Tulare, California native extended the NCWTS record for consecutive starts to 363 following the 2016 Great Clips 200 at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor 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.
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Crafton’s Martinsville Speedway Stats:

  • 28 starts since 2001
  • 6210 of 6381 laps completed (97.3%)
  • 279 laps led
  • Wins: Two, March (2014), and October (2015)
  • Eight top-five finish
  • 16 top-10 finishes
  • Best start: 1st (October, 2011)
  • Average start: 13.0
  • Average finish: 10.8

Crafton’s Career Truck Series Stats:

  • 363 starts since 2000
  • 11 wins
  • 89 top-five finishes
  • 211 top-10 finishes
  • 12 poles
  • 56,279 laps completed
  • 1770 laps led
  • Average start: 12.9
  • Average finish: 11.5

Crafton’s 2015 Highlights:

  • Earned a career-best six wins in one season – Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, and Homestead Miami Speedway
  • Earned a career-best four poles in one season – Michigan International Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway
  • Led a career-best 771 laps in one season
  • Extended the Truck Series record for consecutive starts to 361, since his season debut at Auto Club Speedway in November 2000
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