With Truck title in sight, Crafton approaching final race with singular focus

Call it superstition...

HOMESTEAD, Fla.— Call it the ultimate exercise in compartmentalization.

With a 25-point lead entering the final NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race of the season Friday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway (8 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1), Matt Crafton steadfastly refuses to discuss the prospect of a second straight championship — something no other driver has accomplished in the 20-year history of the series.

“If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be,” Crafton told the NASCAR Wire Service after the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship Press Conference at the 1.5-mile track. “I’ve stuck with that saying since Daytona. We have a shot at winning it, and if everything… the stars and the moon align, and we just go out there and do what we’ve been doing all year, we should be fine.”

I haven’t had one sleepless night — not one sleepless night — waking up and thinking about it,

Matt Crafton

That’s a colossal understatement. All Crafton has to do in Friday’s season finale is finish 21st or better to shut out the only other driver still in contention for the championship, Ryan Blaney. Only twice in 21 starts this season — and not since the seventh race of the year at Gateway Motorsports Park outside St. Louis — has Crafton finished outside the top 21.

In his last 14 races, his worst finish is 14th at Talladega, and that’s his only result outside the top 10 during that stretch. Only an early catastrophe could keep the NCWTS trophy out of Crafton’s hands.

Nevertheless, Crafton contends he can block thoughts of an unprecedented second straight title out of his mind.

“I haven’t had one sleepless night — not one sleepless night — waking up and thinking about it,” Crafton said. “If we do what we’re supposed to do, and we do what we’ve been doing all year, we’ll be fine. God willing, it’ll happen.”

Crafton, 38, is content with life in the Truck Series, but he also has shown speed on occasional stints in the No. 33 Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Nationwide Series car. In four NNS starts over the last two years, he has finished third twice, 10th and 12th.

“If I stay here for the rest of my driving career, I’ll definitely be happy with that,” Crafton said of the Truck Series. “I know each and every week I can go win races. I have no desire to go somewhere where I’m going to run 15th to 25th and be happy with that.”

Nonetheless, Crafton is justifiably proud of what he’s accomplished in his four Nationwide starts.

“We’ve been very, very fast and led laps in a lot of those races as well. I know I proved to a lot of people that I can do it, I can go run with the capability of the guys in the Nationwide Series. If I had that opportunity to go run with them, I’d go run with them — in the right equipment.”

Reid Spencer - NASCAR Wire Service

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Event Homestead
Sub-event Thursday practice 2
Track Homestead-Miami Speedway
Drivers Matt Crafton , Ryan Blaney
Teams Richard Childress Racing
Article type Commentary
Tags richard childress racing