Richmond: Matt Crafton preview

Matt Crafton KHI and KISS Set to Kick-off Chevy Rock n' Roll Weekend HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (September 7, 2004) -Kevin Harvick, Inc.'s (KHI) No. 6 Chevrolet Silverado will don the special paint scheme of America's hottest legendary rock band,...

Matt Crafton
KHI and KISS Set to Kick-off Chevy Rock n' Roll Weekend

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (September 7, 2004) -Kevin Harvick, Inc.'s (KHI) No. 6 Chevrolet Silverado will don the special paint scheme of America's hottest legendary rock band, KISS, in Thursday night's running of the Kroger 200 at Richmond International Raceway. Matt Crafton, driver of the No. 6 GM Goodwrench truck for KHI, will be the first of three drivers to continue the relationship between KISS, Chevrolet, and GM Goodwrench throughout the weekend. Team owner and NEXTEL Cup star, Kevin Harvick, along with NASCAR Busch Series driver, Ron Hornaday, will also run special KISS paint schemes in each of their respected series.

"KISS has been involved with NASCAR since the fall of 2001," explains lead singer, Paul Stanley. "It is a great American sport and it has been great for us to be involved with Chevrolet. We couldn't be more pleased to continue our partnership with a company like Chevrolet and be affiliated with Richard Childress Racing and Kevin Harvick, Inc. We will be represented in all three series, which is something we have never done before, so we intend on going out there to win and expose more people to racing and rock n' roll, which go hand in hand. We are really proud to be a part of this."

"This is awesome," adds Crafton. "I met Gene (Simmons) and Paul (Stanley) at our Chevrolet unveiling of the KISS paint schemes and then got to see them in action when they came to play at Charlotte. It is an honor to have such a legendary rock band supporting us this race. In high school, I used to listen to them quite a bit so it's kind of weird to have a one-off paint scheme with a band you were a fan of and listened to for so long. I have always liked the one-off paint schemes that teams come out with and now I get to be a part of one."

Crafton's record at Richmond is discouraging with two DNF's and a 14th place finish in three attempts. However, the Tulare, Calif., native is coming off his career-best finish of third at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and continues to lead the series with the most top-10 finishes with 13. His sights are set on keeping consistent and chipping away at his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series win.

"This has been my best year ever in the Truck Series," further comments Crafton. "And when I approach a track that has not been too good to me in the past, I just put it in the back of my head. I am confident that Wally (Rogers, crew chief) and all the guys at KHI have worked hard to give me what I need. So far this entire year I have overcome tracks that I struggled with in previous years and that is what I plan on doing Thursday night behind the wheel of the No. 6 KISS/GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Silverado. Hopefully we can continue to be consistent and run up front to give KISS and all our GM Goodwrench employees and fans a good show."

Points of Interest...

* Runnin' It...Team GM Goodwrench will take chassis No. 007 to Richmond International Raceway for this weekend's 150-mile race. This chassis is brand new and was just tested at Caraway (N.C.) Speedway on Monday.

* Career-Bests...In 2004, Crafton has seen his career-best start and career-best finish take place. His career-best start of fourth came in May at Lowe's Motor Speedway and he most recently tied that mark at Nashville Superspeedway. His career-best finish of third came at Bristol Motor Speedway one race ago.

* Sights are set...Crafton's series leading 13 top-10 finishes in 2004 surpasses his total top-10 finishes in 2003 and with 9 races to go, his sights are set on knocking down his top-5 finishes and capturing that first win.

* Movin' on up...In 2004, Crafton's average starting and finishing positions have decreased substantially since he began in the series in 2001. He has improved his average starts from 17.0 to 11.8 and his average finishes have improved from 16.3 to 9.6.

* Birds eye view...Veteran NASCAR driver Rick Carelli has been on the spotter stand since Texas in June and has helped steer Crafton to three of his four top-five finishes and nine of his 13 top-10 finishes.

* All in the family...Crafton's father works at Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR). Danny Crafton has worked at MWR for the last two years and his shop duties include mechanical and electrical work.

* Start time...for Thursday's Kroger 200 is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. EDT. TV coverage of the 200-lap event on SPEED starts at 8:00 p.m. EDT, with radio coverage on MRN beginning at 7:30 p.m. EDT. Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings.

No. 6 GM Goodwrench driver Matt Crafton on Richmond Int'l Raceway...

Describe your last three attempts at Richmond.

"Richmond hasn't been too good to me, but I do like the racetrack a lot. I blew a right front tire my first year that put us out. The second year I got turned around in turn 1 and hit driver-side which ended our night, and last year we were running in the top-10 when I hit the fence coming off of turn 4 that pushed in the wheel causing a really bad vibration. I ended up a lap down under a long green flag run, but managed to get the lap back and finish 14th."

What is the racing like at Richmond?

"Richmond is an awesome track. It is really fast and really racy, but I just do not have any results to show that I like the place. In the past, it has been a multi-groove racetrack when they sealed it and then the sealer began to wear away causing you to go search for new lines. They have re-paved the track this year so it will be interesting to see how the new surface will come in to play. The Cup and Busch cars ran there this year and seemed to get back to two-wide racing once some rubber got laid down, so I think you are going to see another exciting Truck race. Beating and banging under the lights always adds some energy."

No. 6 GM Goodwrench crew chief Wally Rogers on Richmond Int'l Raceway...

What is the key set-up to get around Richmond?

"You have to get the truck to turn really well in the center to be able to carry your drive up off. The key is not getting too loose getting into turn 1. I have always run well at Richmond, but haven't been able to finish well so hopefully our brand new KISS/GM Goodwrench Chevy and Crafton can change that. I was involved in the Looney Tunes truck last year, but other than that, I have never been involved with the special paint schemes. I'm definitely a fan of KISS so I am really looking forward to Thursday night's race. I would love to get my first win with KISS on our truck."

-khm-

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