Driver Points: 3rd (-15)
Owner Points: 3rd
Homestead, FL (November 21, 2015) – Making his 361st career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) start in Friday night’s NCWTS 200 at Homestead-Miami (Fl.) Speedway (HMS), Matt Crafton, driver of the No. 88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota Tundra, closed out the 23-race season in dominating fashion. The two-time and defending series champion led the field to the green for the fourth time in 2015, led a race-high 93 laps, and won the NCWTS season finale. Crafton’s win at the 1.5-mile track was his first at HMS, his sixth of the season, and his fifth at a mile-and-a-half track in 2015.
Starting from the pole, Crafton led the field for the first 30 laps, complaining of a Toyota Tundra that was, “tight through the center of the corner, and off.” Falling as far back as third in the running order, crew chief, Carl “Junior” Joiner, brought the No. 88 machine to pit road under green at lap 47, and under the second caution at lap 62, for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment.
Restarting second at lap 66, Crafton would exchange the lead with the No. 8 truck of John Hunter Nemechek over the next 17 circuits, and eventually relinquish the lead at lap 84 to come down pit road, under caution, for four tires, and fuel. Varied pit strategies would force the No. 88 machine to restart seventh when the field went back to green on lap 88, but fresh tires proved to be the race winning strategy. Crafton was able to take over the top spot just one lap later, on lap 89, leading the field for the remaining 46 circuits before taking the checkered flag for the 11th time in his career.
In 23 starts in 2015, Crafton led 771 laps, a career-best in one season en route to four poles (Michigan International Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway – October, and Homestead-Miami Speedway), a career-best six wins in one season (Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, and Homestead-Miami Speedway), 13 top-five, and 18 top-10 finishes. The reigning series champion has completed 3365 of 3455 laps attempted (97.4%), and has an Average Start of 6.6, and an Average Finish of 7.7.
On the race:
“It was a lot of fun. A lot of fun. A little bit off on the first run. Just got a little bit tight through the center of the corner, and Junior (Joiner) just made all of the right calls, and just kept working and communicating and making it a little bit better each and every time. On that last stop, the guys did a really good job, and this thing was really, really good on that last run.”
On the season:
“It’s just that one column – the DNF column, where we’ve made those mistakes. I’ve made mistakes, and I’ve wrecked us, and we’ve run out of fuel, and we’ve done just about everything this year. Just had stupid stuff get on the grill at Talladega, and we had a truck to win the race there. If you look at the last five races, with how many laps we’ve led, we just had a monkey on our back. We’d get it off and we’re like, ‘We’re alright, we’re going to run this down.’ And then, ‘Nope, it’s on our back.’ I’m just having a blast, to be able to say we won six races and led 700 and some laps. It’s a dream season, and great to be up here in victory lane getting another trophy.”
- Matt Crafton was fourth-quick in the lone NCWTS practice session on Friday morning at Homestead-Miami Speedway (HMS)
- The ThorSport Racing driver claimed his first pole at HMS for the 134-lap event, his fourth of the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season, and the 11th of his career
- Crafton won Friday night’s NCWTS 200 at HMS, leading a race-high 93 laps
- In 15 career starts at the 1.5-mile track, Crafton has earned one pole (2015), and led 131 laps en route to one win (2015), three top-five and seven top-10 finishes
- Crafton led the field six times for 93 of the 134 laps in Friday night’s NCWTS race at HMS. The ThorSport Racing driver has now led 771 laps in 2015, a career-high for one season
- The two-time and defending series champion broke a record for career starts in Friday night’s NCWTS 200. Crafton has made 361 career NCWTS starts – passing four-time champion, Ron Hornaday, Jr with 360
- In 2015, Crafton has six wins (Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, and Homestead-Miami Speedway), four poles (Michigan International Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway – October, and Homestead-Miami Speedway), 13 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes
- The ThorSport Racing driver finished third in the 2015 NCWTS driver point standings, seven points behind second-place Tyler Reddick, and a mere 15 points behind champion, Erik Jones
- Crafton won the 20th annual NCWTS 200 at HMS followed by John Hunter Nemechek (second), Tyler Reddick (third), Ben Kennedy (fourth), and Timothy Peters (fifth)
- In 361 career NCWTS starts, Crafton has led 1689 laps, and earned 11 poles en route to 11 wins, 89 top-five and 210 top-10 finishes
- Toyota clinched the eighth NCWTS manufacturer’s championship since entering the series in 2004 last weekend in Phoenix