Crafton Ready to Move on in Iowa Sunshine

Sep 7, 2013

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Matt Crafton’s riding a wave in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series that includes a top-10 finish earlier this season under the lights at Iowa Speedway. So Crafton sees no reason the positive roll won’t continue Sunday afternoon with his No. 88 Jeld-Wen / Menards Toyota in the Fan Appreciation 200 presented by New Holland.

“My guys have been so solid that I’m really psyched to get to the racetrack every week,” Crafton said. “Our night race earlier this summer wasn’t quite what we wanted — but it was a top-10 and that’s what’s put us in the position we’re in.

“I’ll guarantee you this — Junior (crew chief Carl Joiner) and my team will have things in-line when we unload and we’ll take it from there.”

A couple races ago, Crafton’s lead in the Truck Series championship was more than 50 points. Defending series champion James Buescher has gone on a roll of his own that’s closed him to within 47 points of Crafton with eight races to go. But the point leader’s undaunted.

“We’re racing more than just James — but it’s in our control what we do with it,” Crafton said. “We got ourselves in the position we’re in now racing smart, with solid Menards Tundras and I don’t see anything changing there. But it’s up to us to keep doing the right things.”

Iowa makes that easier for Crafton because it’s arguably his best track on the series. Crafton has a career string of six consecutive top-10 finishes on the .875-mile showplace, including his second career Truck Series victory, in 2011.

Crafton has the series’ best average finish at Iowa, 4.7, among series regulars to go with a 9.8 average start.

“Drivers like tracks you have to drive and that’s what makes Iowa so enjoyable,” Crafton said. “You have options if your truck isn’t working and it’s up to you and your crew chief to find them. We’ve managed to do a good job with that so far.”

Crafton’s career streak at Iowa is matched by what he’s done this season, in which he’s the only Truck Series competitor to score a top-10 finish in all 14 races run to date. And Crafton will extend his series-leading string of consecutive starts to 309 when he takes the green flag Sunday afternoon.

There will be a single Truck Series practice on Saturday, from 11 a.m. – 1:20 p.m. CT. A public autograph session featuring Truck Series drivers is scheduled in the infield fan zone from 4:15-5 p.m. Coors Light Pole Qualifying to set the starting lineup is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.

The 200-lap, 175-mile Fan Appreciation 200 presented by New Holland will be telecast live on FOX Sports 1 at 1 p.m. CT, preceded at 12:30 p.m. by The Setup pre-race show. MRN Radio’s live broadcast begins at 1. Live timing & scoring is available at”