Crafton Again Extends Point Lead, at Dover

May 31, 2014

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Matt Crafton’s adventuresome, but consistently out-front NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season continued Friday at Dover International Speedway with a second-place finish to Kyle Busch in the Lucas Oil 200.

Crafton’s sixth top-10 finish this season in as many Truck Series races for his No. 88 Goof Off / Menards Toyota fielded by ThorSport Racing enabled him to open a 30-point lead in the championship over Jed Burton — but that was far from Crafton’s mind Friday.

“I’m not even thinking about the championship until later on — way later in the season,” Crafton said firmly. “We’ve just got to keep on doing what we’ve been doing, contending to win races and the points will come. You can’t sit there and points race six races into the season, that’s crazy.

“At the end of the day you’ll look at it and say ‘we had a good day,’ but te last thing you’re going to do is get too excited about where things are sitting right now. We’re just going to go out there and try to win some more races…”

Crafton’s team did a great job of that Friday. His truck wasn’t good in practice Thursday but he qualified seventh, and sharp work by his ThorSport crew, including beating Busch out of the service alley by a nose on the critical final stop, was key.

“It was a great day for the whole ThorSport organization,” Crafton said. “Our Menards Toyota Tundra was decent on the short run. We showed our strength on the long runs, but Kyle just had the speed on the short run.

“All in all, not a terrible day and I can’t thank Junior (Joiner, crew chief) and these guys enough. They did it in Kansas (where Crafton won after suffering in practice) and they did it here – they changed everything on our Tundra from practice to the race.”

That enabled Crafton to lead and gain a critical bonus point on Burton, who didn’t lead.

“At the beginning we fought a little tight late up out of the corner,” Crafton said. “I actually left a little bit from our qualifying setup in it because we thought the track was going to go that free and it didn’t go quite as free as we thought it was.

“We made very small changes because usually this track, as the race moves on, it makes you more free. We were making two-tenths of a pound of air pressure changes to it and on that second to last run, we finally got it better, but we started off on that run on the splitter and once we got off the splitter, we were really, really loose for about four or five laps and I hated to see the yellow come out.

“I was inching in on (Busch) and I just wanted to be able to have a shot on the long run, I knew he had me on the short run.”

Crafton next leads the series to Texas Motor Speedway for a Friday night race.