Driver Points: 1st (+25)
Owner Points: 1st
Fort Worth, TX (June 6, 2015) – Matt Crafton, driver of the No. 88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota Tundra, outdueled Toyota Racing teammate, Daniel Suarez, following a pair of late-race restarts to claim his third win of the season in Friday night’s WinStar World Casino 400k at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The victory marked the defending series champion’s second win in 29 starts in the Lone Star State.
Starting second for the 19th annual event, Crafton continued his 2015 domination on intermediate racetracks by leading a race-high 77 laps. Crew chief Carl “Junior” Joiner brought the defending race winner to pit road three times during the 167-lap event at lap 21, under caution, and laps 73, and 120 under green, for four tires and fuel. The ThorSport Racing driver even pulled away with over a six second lead on second-place, late in the race.
With less than 20 laps remaining in the scheduled distance, Crafton was forced to give up his hefty lead when the field was slowed for the fourth time for fluid on the track at lap 149. Opting to stay out, the Menards driver would choose the outside lane for the lap 153 restart, but lose ground to Suarez early. Crafton would eventually prevail, in a strong battle for the lead, and take back over the top spot by lap 155. Unfortunately, the field was slowed for a fifth and final time at lap 162 for a spin off Turn 2, setting the race up for a two-lap shootout to the finish.
On the final restart, Crafton would use the outside lane to power around the No. 51 Tundra, exiting Turn 4, and never look back. The ThorSport Racing driver would claim his third win of the season, and the eighth of his career.
The solid performance allowed Crafton to gain momentum in a quest for a “three-peat” championship season. The ThorSport Racing driver is now 25 points ahead of second-place following the seventh race on the 2015 NCWTS schedule.
“I had a blast racing with Daniel (Suarez) there at the end. We were literally running the center of the racetrack and up against the wall in Turns 3 and 4, and you really have to work the throttle, and drive the thing.”
“Those restarts were hairy; I spun the tires so bad on the restart before that. I have to thank Johnny Sauter, my teammate, he gave me a good push on the second to last restart and we finally got a pretty good restart on that last one. Man, it’s like you’re running side-by-side-by-side, but these guys never gave up working on this Menards Toyota Tundra, and it’s all about these guys building me good trucks.”
“We’re happy for sure – we’re definitely not satisfied. We’ll be satisfied when we get to Homestead and we see where we are there. I can’t thank these guys enough. This Menards Toyota Tundra was very, very good. We were a little off and that second to last run we got really loose for whatever reason and Junior (crew chief) made a couple adjustments on that pit stop and tuned it right up for me again.”
• Matt Crafton won the WinStar World Casino 400k on Friday at Texas Motor Speedway
• Crafton’s win in Texas marked his third of the season – winning at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway earlier this season. This is also the first year in 15 seasons Crafton has three wins
• Crafton has two wins, 10 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes in 29 starts at the Fort Worth, TX track
• The ThorSport Racing driver led seven times for 77 of the 167 laps – a race high
• Crafton has led 296 laps this season, leading at least one lap in the first seven races of the season
• Crafton had an Average Running Position of 1.9, and a Driver Rating of 145 following the 167-lap event
• Crafton remains the NCWTS point leader following the WinStar World Casino 400k, 25 points ahead of second-place Tyler Reddick
• In 2015, Crafton has three wins, six top-five and seven top-10 finishes – he is the only NCWTS driver with a top-10 finish in all seven starts this season
• In 345 career NCWTS starts, Crafton has eight wins, 82 top-five and 199 top-10 finishes
• Fellow Toyota Racing teammate, Daniel Suarez finished second followed by John Wes Townley (third), ThorSport Racing teammate, Johnny Sauter (fourth), and Austin Theriault (fifth)
• Up next: The Drivin for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park on Saturday, June 13