Crafton Looking For Texas-Sized Gains En Route To A “Three-Peat”

Nov 2, 2015

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TSR-Crafton-Web-NewsPgTeam Information:
2015 Driver Point Standings: 2nd (-10)
2015 Owner Point Standings: 2nd
Crew Chief: Carl “Junior” Joiner

Sandusky, Ohio (November 2, 2015) – “Consistent Crafton” has had a season for the history books in 2015 – leading a career-high 636 laps, and winning a career-high five races in one season, including last weekend’s Kroger 200 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. In fact, the ThorSport Racing driver leads both championship contenders, Erik Jones and Tyler Reddick in wins, top-five and top-10 finishes, over the first 20 races of the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season. Although the two-time, and defending series champion has two DNF’s (Gateway Motorsports Park in St. Louis, and Pocono (Pa.) Raceway), that some would agree, put him out of contention for a “three-peat,” Crafton is still in the hunt for his third straight title.

Entering the 20th race on the 2015 NCWTS schedule at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway last weekend, Crafton’s championship hopes seemed to be dwindling – with a 23-point deficit on the current leader. However, Crafton was quoted with confidence, “our goal is to go out and win the final four races, and just see what happens with the points. I’m not worried about it,” and the Menards driver did just that, winning for the second time in his career at the half-mile “paperclip.” The victory allowed Crafton to to gain 13 points on Jones, one position in the point standings, and now sits a mere 10 points outside the lead, entering this weekend’s WinStar World Casino 350k at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, a track where the “Champ” has dominated.

Can Crafton win the last three races of the season? That’s to be determined, but the Menards driver has two wins at the “No Limits Asphalt Circus,” including a win earlier this season. Furthermore, among active series drivers entered in the field, Crafton has the most starts (29), is tied with the most wins (2) with teammate, Johnny Sauter, has the most top-five finishes (10), the most top-10 finishes (18), has completed the most laps (4438), and has the most lead laps finishes (20).

When it comes to making Texas sized gains en route to a “three-peat,” (wins and a title) don’t count out Matt Crafton, driver of the No. 88 Damp Rid/Menards Toyota Tundra, and his ThorSport Racing team for victory lane in Friday night’s 147-lap event at the 1.5-mile track.

Sounding off – Matt Crafton:
Are you looking forward to Texas next weekend being back in the championship hunt?
“I’m looking forward to it, I’m looking forward to the next three, they’re very, very good race tracks for us, and we won the spring race there this year, and we won there last year as well. We’re bringing back the same truck. I’m looking forward to to it, and if the cards fall in our favor, and we have good luck, maybe we’ll have something for them at Homestead. If it’s meant to be, it will be, and if not, we’ll go onto next year.”

Compare the Texas race in the spring to the Texas race in the fall.
“The Texas race in June, to the Texas race in November, is drastically different. In the spring, it’s so much hotter, and you have a bigger fall off on tires. In November, it’s so much cooler. I remember last year, we were so good in the June race, and thought we would go on to November and be just as good, but we didn’t have near the fall-off, even with the same tire. I’m sure we will probably see the same thing happen this year. I personally like when we have more tire fall-off. It’s so much fun to slide something going 170 to 180 mph, dancing around, but yet still in control.”

When will you start to look at the points?
“I’ll look at it at Homestead, and see where we need to finish there. If we go out and execute, and do the same thing we did today (at Martinsville), and the same thing we’ve done the last two races, and have luck on our side, and not have any problems like we did at Talladega, and not have any problems like we did at Las Vegas, we can win the championship. If not, then we’ll come back next year and fight strong.”

News & Notes:
Chassis Chatter… The No. 88 ThorSport Racing team will unload chassis No. 48 for Friday’s 147-lap race at TMS. This chassis has been utilized three times in 2015 at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway (March, 2015), dominating the field, leading 85 laps en route to victory lane, Texas Motor Speedway (June, 2015), leading 77 laps en route to his second win at the Fort Worth track, and Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway (October, 2015), earning his ninth career pole, leading 69 laps, and finishing eighth, due to fuel mileage.
Texas Sized Stats… Crafton will make his 30th NCWTS start at TMS on Friday. In 29 previous starts, the ThorSport Racing driver has led 243 laps en route to two wins, 10 top-five, and 18 top-10 finishes. In fact, among active series drivers entered in the field, Crafton has the most starts (29), is tied with the most wins (2) with teammate, Johnny Sauter, has the most top-five finishes (10), the most top-10 finishes (18), has completed the most laps (4438), and has the most lead laps finishes (20).
2015 Season Review… In 20 starts this season, Crafton has led 636 laps, a career-best in one season, en route to two poles (Michigan International Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway), a career-best five wins in one season (Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, and Martinsville Speedway), 11 top-five, and 16 top-10 finishes. The reigning series champion has completed 2954 of 3024 laps attempted (97.7%), and has an Average Start of 7.3, and an Average Finish of 7.4.
• Previous Race Recap…Crafton started 13th, earned the lead at lap 137 of 200, leading the final 63 laps, en route to his second win at Martinsville Speedway in Saturday’s Kroger 200.

Crafton’s NCWTS stats at Texas:
• 29 starts since 2001
• 4438 of 4579 laps completed (96.9%)
• 243 laps led
• Two wins (June, 2014 & June, 2015)
• 10 top-five finishes
• 18 top-10 finishes
• Best start: First (November 2009 & 2010)
• Average start: 13.9
• Average finish: 9.9

Matt Crafton’s 2014 Highlights:
• Won second consecutive NCWTS championship title to become the first driver in series history to win back-to-back titles
• First career multi-win season with victories at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth
• 10th consecutive full season in second stint with ThorSport Racing
• Earned a series-leading 7.0 average finish
• Career-best 13 top-five finishes and 298 laps led

Crafton’s Career Truck Series Stats:
• 358 starts since 2000
• 10 wins
• 87 top-five finishes
• 208 top-10 finishes
• Nine poles
• 55,657 laps completed
• 1554 laps led
• Average start: 13.0
• Average finish: 11.5

Race Information:
Date: Friday, Nov. 6, 2015
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1
Track Details: 1.5-mile oval
Distance: 164 laps/220.5 miles