“Trying Day” Yields A Top-10 Finish For Matt Crafton At Michigan

TSR-Crafton-Web-NewsPgStats:

Started: 1st
Finished: 6th
Laps: 100/100
Status: Running
Driver Points: 2nd (-8)
Owner Points: 2nd

Brooklyn, MI (August 15, 2015) – Matt Crafton, driver of the No. 88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota Tundra, had the type of day that championships are characterized by. Starting on the pole for Saturday’s Careers for Veterans 200 at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) in Brooklyn, the two-time and defending series champion, overcame a broken windshield and spin in Turn 4 late in the 100-lap event to finish sixth, his fourth top-five finish in 14 starts at the two-mile D-Shaped oval.

Showing speed in both practice sessions on Friday, Crafton backed up his times in qualifying on Saturday morning, posting a fast lap of 39.02 seconds/184.502mph, and claimed his second pole at MIS, and the eighth of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) career.

Starting on the inside of row one, Crafton fell back to third early in the 100-lap event, reporting that his Menards Toyota Tundra was sideways in traffic. Additionally, before the race’s second caution, Crafton reported that a bolt popped out of his windshield and there was a threat of it caving in. Crew chief, Carl “Junior” Joiner, brought the No. 88 machine down pit road three times, under the lap 26 caution, to make repairs to the windshield. Crafton would restart 17th when the field went back to green at lap 30, posting lap times faster than the leaders.

As the race approached the half-way mark, Crafton made his way inside the top-10. At lap 67, the ThorSport Racing driver entered the top-five, scored fourth, following a series of green-flag pit stops, in which the No. 88 machine came down pit road for four tires and fuel. As the laps wound down, Crafton worked his way inside the top-three. Unfortunately, the No. 05 truck made contact with Crafton’s left rear quarter panel on the entry to Turn 4. The chain of events had the Menards Tundra turned at a 45-degree angle, but quick-work by the championship-caliber driver allowed Crafton to save his Tundra, but lost valuable track position. “Junior” would bring the No. 88 machine to pit road under the lap 92 caution for two tires and fuel, and with no damage, Crafton restarted at lap 94 in the 14th position. In the final six laps, Crafton gained eight positions on track to finish sixth behind race winner, Kyle Busch.

The solid run allowed Crafton to gain three points on the NCWTS driver point leader following the 13th race of the season. The No. 88 is currently second in the 2015 NCWTS driver point standings, eight points behind leader, Tyler Reddick.

Quote:

“That was pretty amazing – how often do you see a windshield break in half? The left side windshield broke in front of me, and it would completely cave in on me going down the front straightaway when I was in dirty air. It actually started breaking loose from the roof and I said, ‘Hey folks, this is going to be huge when it comes in, it’s going to come in on me.’ It was pretty amazing what these guys did to fix it – there was a piece of bare bond stuck on the windshield, and it kind of went just in the right spot. It was kind of like a blind spot, because it was hard to see with all of it stuck on the windshield. All in all, it was a very trying day. To come out with a top-10, after we had to go from the back to the front, and back to the front again.”

Notes:

  • Matt Crafton started on the pole and finished 6th in Saturday afternoon’s Careers for Veterans 200 at Michigan International Speedway
  • Crafton claimed his second pole in 14 starts at MIS, and the eighth of his career on Saturday at MIS
  • In 14 starts at MIS, Crafton has four top-five and five top-10 finishes
  • Running as high as 2nd, and as low as 22nd, the Ideal Door/Menards driver maintained an Average Running Position of 7.9 throughout the 100-lap event
  • In 2015, Crafton has four wins, eight top-five and 11 top-10 finishes
  • The ThorSport Racing driver remains second in the 2015 NCWTS driver point standings following the 13th race of the season
  • Kyle Busch won the Careers for Veterans 200 followed by Ryan Blaney (second), Erik Jones (third), Johnny Sauter (fourth) and Austin Dillon (fifth). Fellow ThorSport Racing teammate, Cameron Hayley finished 10th
  • In 351 career NCWTS starts, Crafton has nine wins, 84 top-five and 203 top-10 finishes
  • Up next: The UNOH 200 Presented by zLoop at Bristol (Tn.) Motor Speedway on Wednesday, August 19
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