Kansas: Matt Crafton preview

Matt Crafton Crafton Looks to End Kansas Curse HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (June 29, 2004) - The violent storm that once blew Dorothy and Toto out of Kansas is similar to the one that has swept up Matt Crafton, driver of the No. 6 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet...

Matt Crafton
Crafton Looks to End Kansas Curse

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (June 29, 2004) - The violent storm that once blew Dorothy and Toto out of Kansas is similar to the one that has swept up Matt Crafton, driver of the No. 6 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Silverado, when he has visited Kansas Speedway. During his last two attempts at the 1.5-mile tri-oval, the Tulare, Calif., native has been swept up in clouds of smoke from blown engines and sent home with two DNF's.

As the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) descends on the speedway for Saturday's running of the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250, the 28-year old is looking to end his streak of bad luck at the state-of-the-art facility. Although Crafton has seven top-10 finishes on the circuit this year, his record at Kansas is dismal, with only one top-10 finish and two outside the top-15.

"I've run pretty well here in the past, but just don't have the finishes to show for it," says Crafton. "I have blown up two out of three times there. Despite that misfortune, I hope to end the curse this weekend and I know with backing from GM Goodwrench and KHI, this is my best chance."

Crafton considers this one of his favorite tracks, and with the resources they have at Kevin Harvick, Inc. (KHI), he is more than confident than ever that he will be in a position at the end, vying for a top-five spot and weathering the storm.

No. 6 GM Goodwrench driver Matt Crafton on Kansas...

What are your thoughts on Kansas Speedway?

"Kansas is a nice facility. The surface is really smooth but not quite old enough yet because it is still more of a single groove race track. It is a really fast race track; however, and is a place you have to lift. You are not going to be able to run wide open. Down in turn 1 you have to lift just a little bit and in turns 3 and 4 you have to lift quite a bit and let the truck roll before you get back into the throttle."

With its single groove, how important will pit stops be?

"Pit stops and qualifying are going to be big this weekend. The first pit stop we had in Milwaukee was pretty good, but we lost a couple of spots after the second stop, so the guys have been working on improving our stops back at the shop. We also need to work on our qualifying effort. Wally (Rogers, crew chief) and I realize that we need to qualify in the top-10 every weekend so we can contend for a win."

No. 6 GM Goodwrench crew chief Wally Rogers on Kansas...

How have you prepared for this weekend's race?

"We made some aero changes to the truck that we are trying this weekend. We think we made some pretty good improvements to it, but obviously only the track will tell. We worked on our pit stops a bit this week to see if we can improve in that department. With the single groove this weekend the race can be won or lost in the pits especially as aero dependent as the trucks are these days. Also, as hot as it's going to be, the trucks are going to slip and slide a lot. Whoever can slip and slide the best with the combination of good pit stops is going to end up winning the race."

Points of Interest...

* Team GM Goodwrench will take chassis No. 004 to Kansas Speedway for the 250-mile race. This chassis brought home Crafton's fifth top-10 of the year at Texas Motor Speedway in June.

* In 2004, Matt Crafton has seen his career-best start and career-best finish take place in a matter of nine events. His career-best start of fourth came in May at Lowe's Motor Speedway and his career-best finish of fifth came in March at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

* Start time for this Saturday's 167-lap event is 3:00 p.m. EDT. TV coverage will begin on SPEED at 3:00 p.m. EDT, with radio coverage on MRN beginning at 2:30 p.m. EDT. Remember dates and times of the race may change so check your local listings.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Matt Crafton