Eldora Speedway, the historic half-mile clay oval seated in Rossburg, Ohio, plays host to some of the largest dirt racing events in the country, including the Prelude to the Dream, Dirt Late Model Dream, Kings Royal and World 100. In 2013, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) wrote yet another chapter in the track’s 60-year-old history when the inaugural Mudsummer Classic made its debut. It was the first NASCAR-sanctioned National touring event held on dirt since Richard Petty’s Sprint Cup Series win at the N.C. State Fairgrounds in 1970.
Matt Crafton, who is looking to make history as the first driver to win back-to-back NCWTS championships, wouldn’t mind if history repeated itself in Wednesday night’s 2nd annual 1-800-CarCash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora. Following a solid eighth-place finish in the inaugural event, Crafton left the Tony Stewart-owned track with the championship point lead. Currently, the NCWTS reigning champion has a two point lead over second-place Ryan Blaney, and he’s not afraid to get down and dirty in the dirt to keep a tight grip on his lead in the 2014 standings.
Sounding off – Matt Crafton:
“I don’t have a lot of dirt racing experience so I’ve been running some dirt late model races to get ready for Eldora. To be honest though, you can’t use much of what you learn in a dirt late model to help you with these Toyota Tundra’s, it doesn’t correlate. The only thing it will help you with is learning the dirt. The dirt surface is constantly changing; you have to be able to change with it. Throw everything you knew about driving a truck out the window when driving on dirt. We were points racing last year at Eldora, so we had to take what we can get, this year we are going for broke.”
Crafton’s Eldora Stats (2013):
• Finished second after starting third in Heat Race #2
• Finished eighth in the 2013 Inaugural Mudsummer Classic after starting seventh
• According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, Crafton ranks:
º Third among Laps in Top-15 (152)
º Fourth in Fastest Laps Run (4)
º Fifth in Average Running Position (10.614)
º Fifth in Driver Rating (83.0)
Matt Crafton 2014:
• After a third-place finish in the American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Crafton takes over the NCWTS driver point lead for the fourth week in 2014
• Has been victorious twice – Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth
• The first season in 14 years in the NCWTS that the ThorSport Racing driver has won multiple races in one season
• Has posted five top-five finishes, six top-10 finishes and 222 laps led
• Recorded a season-best 2nd-place start three times; Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Dover (Del.) International Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth
• Has completed 94.7% of laps attempted (1453/1534)
• According to NASCAR’s Loop Data statistics, Crafton ranks:
º First in Driver Rating (106.7)
º First in Laps in the Top-15 (1425)
º Second in Average Running Position (6.724)
º Second in Laps Led (222)
º Third among Fastest Laps Run (119)
Crafton’s Career Truck Series Stats:
• 325 starts since 2000
• 5 wins
• 68 top-5 finishes
• 181 top-10 finishes
• 7 poles
• 50,947 laps completed
• 842 laps led
• Avg. Start: 13.5
• Avg. Finish: 12.0
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ABOUT THORSPORT RACING:
ThorSport Racing, based in a state-of-the-art 100,000-square-foot facility in Sandusky, Ohio, is the longest-tenured NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team. ThorSport, which has run in the Truck Series since 1996, in 2014 will run the No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra driven by 2013 drivers’ champion Matt Crafton, the No. 98 Nextant Aerospace/Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff/Carolina Nut Co./Curb Records Toyota Tundra driven by Johnny Sauter and the No. 13 Carolina Nut Co. Toyota Tundra driven by Jeb Burton in the Truck Series and the No. 13 Toyota Camry in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.