Matt Crafton – 2016 Texas Preview

Nov 1, 2016

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TALLADEGA, AL - OCTOBER 22:  Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Shasta/Menards Toyota, stands on the grid prior to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series fred's 250 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 22, 2016 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

Team Information:
Crew Chief: Carl “Junior” Joiner
Manufacturer: Toyota
Engine: Triad Racing Technologies
2016 Chase Standings: 5th
2016 NCWTS Owner Point Standings: 5th

Sounding Off – Matt Crafton:
Texas is a track where you’ve had some success. Do you feel confident you can make some ground in the Chase standings this weekend?

“I keep saying it, but I firmly believe it – if it’s meant to be, it will happen. We’ve won a couple times there, and have always run well there, so it’s a track we definitely have the potential to make-up some ground. I think it will take winning, especially given what happened at Martinsville. I entered Martinsville saying, I didn’t think you were going to be able to advance with a mulligan, we had ours last weekend. That’s the glory of this chase though, all you have to do is win, and your in. We’ve been able to do that in the past at Texas, so I firmly believe if we do our jobs, and have a little bit of luck on our side, we can get it done.”

Is Texas Motor Speedway a track you enjoy racing at?
“Texas is just another one of the mile-and-a-half tracks that we get to move around a ton. We can run all over on that race track. The last few races we have been really, really dominant, and have been really good on the bottom of the race track. Rico (Abreu) and William (Byron) moved up top in the spring, and both of them drove by me at the end of the race, on the top side. I might have to start searching for a different grove if they get that top side working again like they did in the spring.”

News & Notes:

  • Chassis Chatter… The No. 88 ThorSport Racing team will unload chassis No. 54 for Friday night’s Longhorn 350 at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS). This is the same chassis Crafton piloted to his first win of the 2016 season at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and two runner-up finishes at Kansas Speedway, and Texas Motor Speedway earlier this season. Most recently, the ThorSport Racing driver finished eighth with this chassis at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In five starts in 2016, this chassis has led the field for 260 laps en route to two top-five and three top-10 finishes.
  • Texas Sized Stats… Among active NCWTS drivers, Crafton has the most starts (31), the most top-five finishes (12), the most top-10 finishes (20), is tied for the most poles (3), has completed the most laps (4752), has led the most laps (403), and has the most lead lap finishes (22) than any other driver entered in Friday night’s Longhorn 350 at TMS.
  • Intermediate Track Facts… No current NCWTS driver is better at Intermediate tracks than Crafton. Dating back to 2014, Crafton has finished in the top-10 in 21 of the last 24 races at ovals measuring 1.5 or 1.54 miles. Included in that stretch are seven wins, and five runner-up finishes.
  • Texas Rewind – June, 2016… Making his 31st career start at TMS, Crafton started fourth, led the field five times for a race-high 133 laps, and finished second.
  • 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 fifth in the 2016 Chase standings. Friday nights 147-lap event at TMS is the second of three races in Round 2, and Crafton is in a must win situation. Luckily for the No.88 Menards team, Crafton has two wins at the 1.5-mile track. 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 (240), Laps in the Top-15 (2606), and Fastest Drivers Late in a Run. Crafton ranks second in Average Running Position (8.47), Driver Rating (98.9), Fastest Drivers Early in a Run, and Laps Led (425).
  • Race Rewind – Martinsville… Making his 30th career start at Martinsville Speedway, Crafton started eighth, ran as high as fourth, and finished 17th due to brake problems late in the 200-lap race.
  • Major Milestone…The Tulare, California native extended the NCWTS record for consecutive starts to 381 in the Texas Roadhouse 200 at Martinsville Speedway, passing four-time NCWTS champion Ron Hornaday, Jr with 360 starts in the 2015 NCWTS season finale at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway. Crafton made his series debut at Auto Club Speedway in November 2000, and enters his 16th full-time season in the NCWTS, and his 15th full-time season with ThorSport Racing in 2016.

Crafton’s Texas NCWTS Stats:

  • 31 starts since 2001
  • Laps Completed: 4752 of 4893 (97.1%)
  • Lap Led: 403
  • Wins: 2 (Spring, 2014 & Spring, 2015)
  • Top-5 Finishes: 12
  • Top-10 Finishes: 20
  • Poles: 3
  • Average start: 13.2
  • Average finish: 9.4

Crafton’s 2016 NCWTS Stats:

  • Starts: 20
  • Wins: 2
  • Top-5 Finishes: 6
  • Top-10 Finishes: 13
  • Poles: 1 (Atlanta)
  • Laps Led: 421
  • Laps Completed: 2801 of 3008 (93.1%)
  • Average Start: 10.6
  • Average Finish: 11.9

Crafton’s Career NCWTS Stats:

  • Starts: 381 since 2000
  • Wins: 13
  • Top-5 Finishes: 95
  • Top-10 Finishes: 223
  • Poles: 12
  • Laps Completed: 58,869
  • Laps Led: 2110
  • Average start: 12.8
  • Average finish: 11.5

Race Information:
Date: Friday, November 4, 2016
Time: 8:30pm ET on FOX, MRN Radio & SiriusXM Channel 90
Track: 1.5-mile oval
Distance: 147 laps/220.5-miles