Matt Crafton – 2018 Daytona Preview

Team Info/Stats:
Crew Chief: Carl “Junior” Joiner, Jr.
2017 Driver Point Standings: 3rd
2017 Owner Point Standings: 3rd
2017 Playoff Position: 3rd
Spotter: Stevie Reeves
 
News and Notes:
  • This Week’s No. 88 Fisher Nuts/Menards Ford F-150… The No. 88 ThorSport Racing team will unload chassis No. 40 for Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway (DIS). This particular chassis has been raced at both DIS and Talladega Superspeedway every year since 2015 by Matt Crafton.
  • The Down Low on Daytona… Although Crafton has more starts, including consecutive starts (17), has completed more laps (1724), has the mosttop-10 finishes (7), and has the most lead lap finishes (9) than any other driver in the NCWTS at DIS, the two-time champion is still looking for his first win at the 2.5-mile superspeedway. In 17 starts since 2001, Crafton has led eight laps en route to one top-five and seven top-10 finishes, with a track-best start of second (2009), and a track-best finish of fifth (2010).
  • Eye in the Sky... Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series spotter, Stevie Reeves, who spots for fellow Menards driver, Paul Menard, will join the No. 88 team for the 2018 season.
  • Ford Flashback… Crafton won five races, two poles and the NASCAR Southwest Series championship in 2000 behind the wheel of a Ford.
  • Down and Dirty…In advance of the NextEra Energy Resources 250 on Friday night at DIS, Crafton has been racing at Volusia SpeedwayPark in his No. 88 SealMaster DIRTcar UMP Modified in the DIRTcar Nationals. The 2017 Eldora Speedway winner competed under his own entry with the help of his father, Danny Crafton, for the second consecutive year.
  • 2017 Review… The two-time NCWTS champion, who finished third in the championship point standings, his 11th consecutive year inside the top-10, earned one pole (Michigan), and led 321 laps en route to five top-five, and 16 top-10 finishes.   
  • Catch Crafton at Daytona… Crafton will join his fellow ThorSport Racing teammates for the NCWTS autograph session, in the Infield Fan Zone at DIS, from 3:00-3:45pm ET on Friday, Feb. 16.
Chatting with Matt Crafton…
How do you feel about the move to Ford?
“We’re looking forward to working with Ford – they’re what I started with in NASCAR.  In my old Southwest Tour days in 1997 I started racing a Ford out west and that’s all my dad has ever owned and raced, so it’s very exciting for him because he always said whenever I first started racing another manufacturer, ‘I don’t know if I can root for you because I’ve only driven a Ford and you’ve only driven a Ford,’ so I guess now I’ve got a new fan in my dad.”
What’s your favorite memory from the Southwest Tour days in a Ford?
“Winning the Southwest Tour championship and just me and my dad working together.  We used to literally build our own chassis and every component on that race car we did, so it was very sweet and now to see that we’re back with Ford it’s an awesome deal for me and my dad as well.”
Do you feel this puts you in a good position – being the lone Ford team in the Truck Series?
“I’m in a very, very good position to be able to win more championships without a doubt. We won two in the past and there’s no reason why I can’t go for three, four, or five more. We have to be able to keep all the right people at ThorSport and I know we’ve got the right sponsor, the right manufacturer in Ford, and all the right people right now to make it happen. I feel we can this year.”
 
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