Patience the Keyword for Crafton as He Scores Top-Five at Daytona Daytona Beach, Fla. (February 13, 2010) -- Despite losing his two teammates and drafting partners in a lap one crash, Matt Crafton played his strategy perfectly to score a ...
Patience the Keyword for Crafton as He Scores Top-Five at Daytona
Daytona Beach, Fla. (February 13, 2010) -- Despite losing his two teammates and drafting partners in a lap one crash, Matt Crafton played his strategy perfectly to score a fifth-place finish in the No. 88 Menards/Herculiner Chevrolet at the season-opening NextEra Energy Resources 250 for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Daytona International Speedway.
Crafton patiently spent much of the race several seconds behind the lead pack, preferring to ride outside the danger zone at the front of the field while the pack was constantly whittled down by numerous accidents. In all, more than two-thirds of the field was involved in the seven cautions that slowed the 250-mile race, including ThorSport Racing teammates Johnny Sauter and Landon Cassill.
"We ran at the back of the pack on purpose," Crafton said. "That was one of the hardest races I've ever driven to just sit back there and ride around. But we had two trucks wiped out on lap one because of someone else's mistake. Our whole plan was to get the three of us lined up and ride and then be there with ten laps to go and it was out the window on lap one. I kept telling Bud (crew chief Bud Haefele) and the guys that we had a good truck and I knew we'd be able to race up to the front, but I didn't want to be up in that pack and get wrecked. Every time the green would come out and we'd drop back we had to wonder if that was the last caution but as wild as it was out there we knew there would be more.
"We had a restart with about 13 laps to go and that was when it was time to go racing. We tried to get something going in the outside lane at the end but couldn't get any help so I worked down to the bottom and that's when we were able to get a little closer to the front. I saw those guys bumping like crazy on the last lap and thought we might have a chance to win if they took each other out but they all held on to their trucks until after the checkered and then they wrecked. I'm disappointed for our team that we had two trucks get wrecked, but I am really happy to come out of here with a top five finish and our Menards/Herculiner Chevy in one piece."
Crafton leaves Daytona unofficially in fifth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship standings, 30 points behind leader -- and race winner -- Timothy Peters.
The next race for Crafton and the ThorSport Racing No. 88 Menards Chevrolet is the Atlanta 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 6.