Texas II: Matt Crafton preview

Crafton Hopes to Turn Bad Luck Around at TMS Huntersville, N.C. (October 12, 2004) - For the fifth time in as many tries, Matt Crafton, driver of the No. 6 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Silverado, hopes the bad luck monkey that has climbed aboard Team...

Crafton Hopes to Turn Bad Luck Around at TMS

Huntersville, N.C. (October 12, 2004) - For the fifth time in as many tries, Matt Crafton, driver of the No. 6 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Silverado, hopes the bad luck monkey that has climbed aboard Team GM Goodwrench's back gets left behind when Crafton and crew hit Texas Motor Speedway this Saturday, October 16th, for the Silverado 350K.

"This monkey has become a gorilla," explains Crafton. "After the Bristol race when I finished third, we really thought we had the perfect momentum to continue to knock down our top-fives and ultimately capture our first win. But, for whatever reason, every time we think we are on a roll something has gone wrong. We have run better than our finishes show right now, so hopefully we can finish one off this weekend in Texas."

Team GM Goodwrench hopes that a two-day test session completed on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway in preparation for this weekend's race helps them find exactly what they need to get back to their championship contending ways.

"With five races to go, we can't afford to drop anymore points in the championship standings so, we decided to test Atlanta in preparation for this weekend's race," comments crew chief Wally Rogers. "Atlanta and Texas share the same characteristics and we were able to compile some great notes that we can carry over to Saturday's race. Everything we have worked hard for all season long has slowly begun to fall apart over our last four races and it must stop at Texas."

No. 6 GM Goodwrench driver Matt Crafton on Texas Motor Speedway...

On racing at Texas Motor Speedway...

"We didn't qualify very well earlier this year. We were a top-10 team, but I feel now that we can go back and run in the top-five and compete for the win. We struggled a bit to get our truck to run good on new tires. Wally (Rogers) and I have been trying to really figure out our truck on new tires. The truck is great on old tires, so hopefully we can get it to run on new tires to enable us to qualify better and put us in a position to run up front from the start. The asphalt is starting to age and I definitely think there will be a second groove this time. When we raced in June we started running two-wide, but the bottom groove was definitely better. The Cup cars have been there since we raced so they may have widened the second groove even more. It would be a great race to win, especially since it is sponsored by Chevy."

On the two-day test at Atlanta Motor Speedway...

"The first day was decent. We weren't great, but we weren't bad either. The second day we were really good and worked on different set-ups and got the truck exactly where we wanted it. We left feeling like we were one of the best Chevy's out there. We brought it back to the shop and touched it up and are ready for Texas. It is the same truck we ran in Las Vegas and California. Wally and I felt that it wasn't the chassis's fault that we finished poorly the last two races. We had the throttle-stop back off and then the motor blow up. We had a win taken away from us in Vegas, so during this two-day test we were really able to get a great feel for the truck. Atlanta and Texas are very similar, so we wanted to really be prepared for this race to help turn our luck around."

No. 6 GM Goodwrench crew chief Wally Rogers on Texas Motor Speedway...

What is the key to racing at TMS?

"In the trucks you are pretty much wide opened all the way around. The draft plays a big part and we want to make sure we can stay up front for the cleaner air. Our pit stops are going to be key as well. If you get shuffled to the back the truck has a really good tendency to become aero tight, which makes it hard to come to the front. If we are all on our game then we should walk away with a solid top-five run and ultimately be there at the end fighting for the win."

Points of Interest...

*Runnin' It...Team GM Goodwrench will take chassis No. 008 to Texas Motor Speedway for this weekend's 219-mile race. This chassis was run at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway in August, two races ago at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway, most recently at California Speedway. It brought home a seventh place finish in Nashville, a 22nd place finish in Las Vegas, and a 24th place finish in Fontana.

*Track Stat...In seven attempts at the 1.5-mile tri-oval, Crafton has compiled three top-10 finishes, two top-15 finishes, one top-20 finish, and one top-25 finish.

*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 again in August at Nashville Superspeedway. His career-best finish of third came at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway five races ago.

*It's all tied...Crafton's series leading 13 top-10 finishes came to a halt when he posted his fourth disappointing finish in a row at California. He now shares the most top-10 finishes with two other drivers - Bobby Hamilton and Carl Edwards.

*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 12.9 and his average finishes have jumped from 16.3 to 11.3.

*Birds eye view...Veteran NASCAR driver Rick Carelli has been in 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/electrical work.

*Start time...for Saturday's Silverado 350K is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. EDT. TV coverage of the 149-lap event on SPEED starts at 1:00 p.m. EDT, with radio coverage on MRN beginning at 12:30 p.m. EDT. Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings.

-khm-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Michael Waltrip , Matt Crafton , Rick Carelli , Carl Edwards
Teams Michael Waltrip Racing