Las Vegas: Matt Crafton race notes

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Matt Crafton finished ninth in the Las Vegas 350 NASCAR Truck Series race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Saturday, September 27. Brendan Gaughan won the event. Crafton, who started 16th in the Menards/Enzyme Magic...

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Matt Crafton finished ninth in the Las Vegas 350 NASCAR Truck Series race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Saturday, September 27. Brendan Gaughan won the event.

Crafton, who started 16th in the Menards/Enzyme Magic Chevrolet, ran as high as fifth in the 146-lap event at the 1.5-mile oval. He was outside the top-10 and a lap behind Gaughan before a caution period around lap 100. Per new NASCAR regulations, Crafton was returned to the lead lap during the caution period, the result of being the first truck one lap in arrears.

"We had just gotten around Randy LaJoie when the caution came out," Crafton said. "The guys had been telling me that we needed to get around him to get in position to get the lap back. It really worked out well for us."

By regaining the lap, Crafton was able to race his way back into the top-10. Another caution in the final 10 laps set up a five-lap dash to the finish. Crafton pitted for tires, but was unable to gain any ground as the race concluded.

"I don't think I got the tires cleaned up enough for that last dash," Crafton said. "We went for tires thinking we might get one or two more positions. It didn't turn out that way. That's a shame, but we got another top-10 and had a good points night."

The performance was Crafton's 11th top-10 finish of the season but his first in three career starts at the Las Vegas track. He finished on the lead lap for the 14th time in 20 races this season.

Crafton closed to within 23 points to Chad Chaffin for 10th in the series drivers' point standings. Five races remain in the 2003 campaign.

The circuit continues with an October 4 event in South Boston, Va.

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Series NASCAR-TRUCK