Matt Crafton preview

Event: Darlington

Consistency, Championships & Long-Term Relationships

Matt Crafton, NCWTS Points Leader

Sandusky, OH - March 10, 2011 - Matt Crafton will make his 250th consecutive start this Saturday at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Too Tough to Tame 200 at Darlington Raceway. The Tulare, Calif. veteran, driver of the No. 88 Menards/Tarkett Chevrolet Silverado, holds a single-point lead in series point standings over Clay Rogers. Driving for the series' longest tenured active owner, ThorSport Racing will make its 343rd and 344th starts over the weekend (along with championship-contending teammate Johnny Sauter in the No. 13 Safe Auto/Curb Records Chevrolet Silverado). Crafton also has the longest-running consecutive sponsor relationship in the NCWTS, with Menards, Inc. for the past ten years.

Pit stop for Matt Crafton, ThorSport Racing Chevrolet
Pit stop for Matt Crafton, ThorSport Racing Chevrolet

Eric Gilbert

Crafton finished seventh at Phoenix International Raceway just two weeks ago to rank among the top 10 in points for the 74th consecutive race - a streak that stands fourth in series history. ThorSport Racing continues to dominate with its teams, finishing among the top 10 in points seven times with both trucks in 2009-2010. ON THE RACETRACK:

"I'm not going to lie, Darlington is not my favorite race track to run. You definitely race the track - it's not about the competition around you, and that will play mind games on you. I was running as high as third last year, and I realized you just can't go side by side here. It's miserable to pass, and that's just being honest! You won't see much passing going on by the veterans - it's just tough and the track is not very wide. You really have to trust your instincts and what you feel in the truck on the track, rather than go for position against your competitors."

ON LEARNING FROM OTHERS:

"It's funny, I don't normally say that I learn a lot from other drivers - this is my 10th year in the NCWTS. Hopefully, I know what I need to improve upon since I'm my own worst critic. But last year, Bodine passed me at a pivotal point in the race. I remember saying to myself at that point, 'Wow. That just helped me. I'm doing that next lap.' So he's the one to watch here, and he just performs so well at this track. If I learn anything, it will probably be from Todd."

ON PREPARATION: "It's mental. I do TiVo races, and Darlington is definitely one I'll be watching this week (the race from 2010). That was an exciting race, but a lot of veteran drivers got taken out. Since the repave, it's a lot like Daytona when you're talking about surface. I loved the old pavement, it was just enough grip. Now, it's so much grip that it gives a false sense of security. It's still an amazing track that we as drivers have to respect - I mean, it IS Darlington after all."

ON BEING FIRST IN DRIVER POINTS: "Talk to me in ten weeks! When we have ten races to go, or even five races to go, I'll really care. Yes, I'm happy to be at the top of the boards, but no, it doesn't mean anything right now with all the racing we have left this season. It is unreal, the competition this year in our Series. I love it. What I will tell you is that I'm proud that we're ahead of the game already this year. Last year, we started having some challenges right about this time - it was Atlanta for us. I think our energy is high coming into Darlington - the whole team- so it makes a huge difference. We have to keep it up!"

CHASSIS INFORMATION: Chassis No. 30. Last used in Homestead, Florida in 2010 where Crafton qualified in seventh position and finished sixth.

-source: thorsport racing

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Series NASCAR-TRUCK
Tags crafton, darlington, menards, thorsport