Engine ends Crafton's Michigan race

BROOKLYN, Mich. - Engine failure after 66 laps ended Matt Crafton's run in the Sears 200 NASCAR Truck Series event at the Michigan International Speedway Saturday, July 26. Crafton finished 25th in the event, which was won by Brendan Gaughan.

The engine malady ended a run which opened with great promise. Making his 60th career truck start, Crafton charged from the 16th starting position to eighth before a pit stop on lap 29. He remained in the top-10 after the stop, which came during the only caution period of the race, and raced there for several more laps before starting to fade.

"The engine starting laying down right before that first caution," Crafton said. "It was still good enough to run with the leaders for a few more laps, but it kept getting weaker and weaker. It finally just blew up."

The Sears 200 marked the third time in 13 races this season that Crafton has experienced engine failure in the Menards/Enzyme Magic Chevrolet Silverado. He slipped to 12th in the series point standings.

"We were running pretty well there early on," Crafton said. "We were pretty much the class of the Chevrolets for the first 30 laps or so. On tracks like this, it's all Dodge and a little Ford. It's hard to be a Chevy and be competitive right now."

Gaughan drove to victory in a Dodge, leading a sweep of the top-four positions by the make. Two Chevrolets cracked the top-10, led by Travis Kvapil in seventh position.

A Chevrolet has won only twice in the season's first 13 races, both on short tracks. The brand hasn't posted a finish of better than third on tracks one mile or larger since Kvapil took runner-up honors at the season-opening event in Daytona Beach, Fla.

The circuit continues with a race at the Indianapolis Raceway Park short track on Friday, August 1.

"I'm excited about going to Indy next," Crafton said. "We've run well there the last two years, and it's a short track. You can throw all this aero stuff away, put the driver in the seat and race. I'm looking forward to that."