Sounding Off – Matt Crafton:
Now that you have run two races on NASCAR’s new Stage format, how do you like it?
“I’m very happy with the new stages format. I’ve been saying all along that NASCAR needed to do something like this – especially in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, since their races are so much longer. It helps add some excitement throughout the race for fans, and gives the drivers and teams some incentive to run hard every lap throughout the race, instead of saving their equipment for the end. In the Truck Series, I think we run hard each and every lap anyway, because our races are so much shorter, but those stage points are so valuable during the regular season, and the chase, so it’s huge to win those segments.”
News & Notes:
- Chassis Chatter… The No. 88 ThorSport Racing team will unload chassis No. 63 for Saturday’s Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. This particular chassis made its debut at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon in 2016, finishing third, and was most recently run at Martinsville-2, finishing 17th.
- Martinsville Minute… Two-time Martinsville winner, Matt Crafton will make his 31st career start at the .526-mile paperclip on Saturday. Among active series drivers, the ThorSport Racing driver enters the 250-lap event with the Most Starts (30), is tied with Timothy Peters on the Most Top-Five Finishes (8), has the Most Top-10 Finishes (17), is one of six drivers with a pole, and has completed the most laps (6665).
- Daddy/Daughter Dance… On Friday, March 10, Crafton attended his first daddy/daughter dance with daughter Elladee at her Elementary school in Owensboro, KY.
- Dirt Trackin… Crafton competed in the 9th Annual Ed Gibbons Memorial at Fayetteville Motor Speedway, a 4/10-mile dirt oval, in his No. 88 SealMaster DIRTcar UMP Modified on Saturday, March 25. The two-time champion finished third.
- Take Me Back – Martinsville-1, 2016: The Menards driver started 10th, ran as high as second and finished seventh.
- Martinsville Stages… The Alpha Energy Solutions 250 will feature three stages (Stage 1 – 70 laps, Stage 2 – 70 laps, Final Stage – 110 laps), with approximately a five-minute break in between.
- Rearview Mirror – Atlanta…Making his 16th career start at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway, Crafton started seventh, led the field for two laps, and finished second in the 130-lap event.
Crafton’s Martinsville Speedway Stats:
- Starts: 30, since 2001
- Wins: 2 (Spring, 2014 & Fall, 2015)
- Poles: 1 (Fall, 2011)
- Top-Five Finishes: 8
- Top-10 Finishes: 17
- Laps Completed: 6665 of 6836 (97.5%)
- Laps Led: 279
- Average start: 12.8
- Average finish: 10.8
Crafton’s Career Truck Series Stats:
- 386 starts since 2000
- 13 wins
- 98 top-five finishes
- 227 top-10 finishes
- 12 poles
- 59,529 laps completed
- 2138 laps led
- Average start: 12.7
- Average finish: 11.4
2016 NCWTS Driver Point Standings: 5th
2016 NCWTS Owner Point Standings: 7th
Date: Saturday, April 1
Time: 3:00pm ET
Track: .526-mile oval
Distance: 250 laps/131.5-miles
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