Matt Crafton No. 88 Menards/Herculiner Chevrolet Preview: Daytona Sandusky, Oh. (February 9, 2010) -- Matt Crafton is anxious to get back in the seat of the No. 88 Menards/Herculiner Chevrolet to kick off the 2010 NASCAR Camping World Truck...
Matt Crafton No. 88 Menards/Herculiner Chevrolet Preview: Daytona
Sandusky, Oh. (February 9, 2010) -- Matt Crafton is anxious to get back in the seat of the No. 88 Menards/Herculiner Chevrolet to kick off the 2010 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. Crafton accomplished much in 2009, scoring two poles, eleven top-five finishes, 21 top-ten finishes and a career-best second-place finish in the series championship standings. But victory lane eluded him -- something he's anxious to change in 2010.
How driven are you to get back into victory lane in 2010? "It's everything for us. We want to win with everything we have. As a team we did a lot last year; we ran up front and had a ton of top fives and top tens and we were really consistent. But the one thing that was missing was that win. I think some of that was out of our hands because of the pit road rules we used last year. The Chevrolets had a ton of power all season long but we just didn't get the mileage that the other manufacturers had so when they could come down late in the race and pit for just tires, we'd have to come in for tires and the next lap come back in for fuel too. I know we gave a couple races away with the pit rules, and I am really happy we're going back to the normal pit road rules this year. There's a lot of pressure on my shoulders to get us another win, but the way both ThorSport trucks ran last season I think you'll see us get our share of wins this year."
Do you enjoy the racing at Daytona -- big drafting packs, racing at high speeds inches apart for 250 miles? "Last year I went up and led a lap early then dropped to the back and just rode around. I was a straightaway behind the lead pack just logging laps. That's what you have to do to make it to the end at Daytona and Talladega. You can get up there and run at the front all day where they are beating and banging on each other, but you know there's going to be a big crash that's going to take half of you out. That's what happened to (teammate) Johnny Sauter last year. He didn't do anything wrong but was in the wrong place at the wrong time and got taken out. It looks cool from the grandstands and on TV but it's not a lot of fun out there in that big pack like that. We'll do it when we have to, but I'd rather drop to the back and log some laps and know I am going to make it to the end."
After a career-best year in 2009, what can you and the team do in 2010 to perform even better? "The guys have worked all winter long on every aspect of our program. They've torn down every truck in the shop and rebuilt them from the ground up. The mile and a half program has been really strong for a couple years and they're still working on making it even better. We need to get our short track program a little better. I don't think we were there on the short tracks last year so I know the guys are putting a ton of effort into getting our short track trucks up to speed."
Matt Crafton at Daytona: Matt has started nine NCWTS races at Daytona, with two top-ten finishes in his past three attempts. His best finish is a pair of eighth-place finishes, coming in 2007 and 2009. He has completed 800 of 912 possible laps (87.7%) and has led one lap in competition at Daytona, that being in 2009. He started outside the front row in 2009, his best qualifying effort at Daytona. His average start at Daytona is 18.4 and his average finish is 17.6.
Crafton's Daytona Truck: The truck Crafton will pilot at Daytona is ThorSport Racing Chassis No. 24. It's the truck Crafton drove at both Daytona and Talladega in 2009, qualifying second and finishing eighth at Daytona and qualifying seventh and finishing tenth at Talladega.
ThorSport now the longest-tenured team in the NCWTS: With the departure of the Roush Fenway Racing organization from the Camping World Truck Series following the 2009 season, ThorSport Racing is now the longest tenured team in the series. The team made its debut in the series at Milwaukee in 1996, and has entered at least one truck in 315 races. The Daytona race will be the No. 88 truck's 298th consecutive NCWTS race.
Crafton's consecutive starts streak now the longest: Matt Crafton has the longest active streak of consecutive starts in the Camping World Truck Series. Crafton has started 222 consecutive races dating to his series debut at the season-ending race at California Speedway in 2000. Crafton has been in every NCWTS race since.
Kitrick Schrader on the mend: ThorSport Racing crew member Kitrick Schrader's recovery from injuries in an early January snowmobile accident is continuing. Schrader has been released to his home to continue therapy and recently visited the team shop, supervising some last minute preparations on the two TSR Daytona trucks.