Matt Crafton – 2016 Phoenix Preview

Nov 8, 2016

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FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 04:  Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 DampRid/Menards Toyota, stands on the grid during Salute to Veterans Qualifying Fueled by Texas Lottery for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Striping Technology 350 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 4, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Team Information:
Crew Chief: Carl “Junior” Joiner
Manufacturer: Toyota
Engine: Triad Racing Technologies
2016 Chase Standings: 4th
2016 NCWTS Owner Point Standings: 4th

Sounding Off – Matt Crafton:
“Phoenix is one of the tracks I’d really like to win at, and we’ve had some good runs there. I’ve always had the track circled on the schedule. It would be really nice to go out west and win one in front of a lot of friends and family. We were pretty decent there last year, qualified well, we were fast in the race, led some laps, just got loose under Erik (Jones) late in the race, and cost us both a good finish. We know what we have to do this weekend to advance to Homestead. So, God willing, and we do our jobs, we will have a shot next week.”

News & Notes:

  • Chassis Chatter… The No. 88 ThorSport Racing team will unload chassis No. 48 for Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR). This is the same chassis Matt Crafton took to victory lane in Dover earlier this season.
  • Phoenix Profile… Among active NCWTS drivers, Crafton is tied for the most starts (15), and the most top-five finishes (5), has the most top-10 finishes (10), has completed the most laps (2212), and has the most lead lap finishes (13).
  • Back To Where It All Began… Although the central California town of Tulare, is more than 500 miles from PIR, the ThorSport Racing driver calls the one-mile oval a “hometown” race. Crafton, who got his start in the Featherlite Southwest Tour, a highly competitive regional series, made 12 starts at PIR between 1997 and 2006, and his success at the Avondale, Ariz. track included two poles (2000, 2001), a win (2006), and three top-five finishes. Crafton’s four-year tenure in the series produced a championship title in 2000, and opened the door to his career in NASCAR, racing for Duke and Rhonda Thorson at ThorSport Racing in 2001.
  • Phoenix Rewind – 2015…The ThorSport Racing driver started fourth, led the field three times for 15 laps, and finished 23rd due to a late-race incident on lap 130 of 150.
  • The Chase is On… Crafton, a two-time NCWTS champion, is one of six drivers to make it into Round 2 of the inaugural Chase, and is currently ranked fourth in the 2016 Chase standings. Friday nights 200-lap event at PIR is the third of three races in Round 2. Following Phoenix, the top-four drivers will advance to Round 3, which kicks off at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the final race of the season.
  • In The Loop – 2016… According to NASCAR’s Loop Data statistics, Crafton ranks first in the following categories; Fastest Laps Run (250), Laps in the Top-15 (2753), and Fastest Drivers Late in a Run. Crafton ranks second in Average Running Position (8.33), Driver Rating (99.4), Fastest Drivers Early in a Run, and Laps Led (440).
  • Race Rewind – Texas… Making his 32nd career start at Texas Motor Speedway in the NCWTS, Crafton started seventh, led the field once for 15 laps, and finished second.

Crafton’s Phoenix NCWTS Stats:

  • Starts: 15
  • Laps Completed: 2212 of 2241 (98.7%)
  • Lap Led: 15
  • Wins: 0
  • Top-5 Finishes: 5
  • Top-10 Finishes: 10
  • Poles: 0
  • Best Start: 2nd (2007, 2010, 2014)
  • Best Finish: 2nd (2014)
  • Average start: 8.1
  • Average finish: 9.7

Crafton’s 2016 NCWTS Stats:

  • Starts: 21
  • Wins: 2
  • Top-5 Finishes: 7
  • Top-10 Finishes: 14
  • Poles: 1 (Atlanta)
  • Laps Led: 436
  • Laps Completed: 2948 of 3155 (93.4%)
  • Average Start: 10.4
  • Average Finish: 11.4

Crafton’s Career NCWTS Stats:

  • Starts: 382 since 2000
  • Wins: 13
  • Top-5 Finishes: 956
  • Top-10 Finishes: 224
  • Poles: 12
  • Laps Completed: 59,016
  • Laps Led: 2125
  • Average start: 12.8
  • Average finish: 11.5

Race Information:
Date: Friday, November 11, 2016
Time: 10pm ET on FOX, MRN Radio & SiriusXM Channel 90
Track: 1-mile oval
Distance: 200 laps/200 miles