Crafton Gets Another Top-Five in Second ARCA Start Finishes Fifth in Prairie Meadows 200 MOORESVILLE, N.C. (July 12, 2010) - Matt Crafton drove his No. 88 Messina Wildlife Management - Menards Ford to a fifth-place finish in his second ARCA...
Crafton Gets Another Top-Five in Second ARCA Start Finishes Fifth in Prairie Meadows 200
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (July 12, 2010) - Matt Crafton drove his No. 88 Messina Wildlife Management - Menards Ford to a fifth-place finish in his second ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards start. Crafton, who lined-up 12th for the Prairie Meadows 200, was sent to the back for the start at Iowa Speedway but quickly made his way through the field.
Saturday was a jam-packed day for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver, as he practiced and qualified both his truck and ARCA car before the Prairie Meadows 200. Crafton started off his day with ARCA practice, where he laid down the 17th fastest lap of 24.681 seconds (127.629 mph). Ten minutes later, Crafton switched gears and practiced his truck. Crafton had another ten minute break before ARCA final practice. Crafton improved from first practice, completing the fourth fastest lap of 24.069 seconds (130.874 mph).
Following truck final practice and an autograph session, the Calif. native jumped back into his No. 88 Messina Wildlife Management - Menards Ford for ARCA qualifying. Crafton circled the .875-mile oval in 24.063 seconds (130.906 mph), good enough for the 12th starting spot.
Crafton then qualified his truck and got ready for the start of the Prairie Meadows 200. Crafton lined-up 12th for the start of the race but was sent to the back for not keeping pace on the warm-up lap. Taking the green flag from the back of the pack, Crafton muscled his No. 88 Messina Wildlife Management - Menards Ford to the 22nd position by lap eight. Radioing to the crew that the car was really good, Crafton was on a mission to get back to the front. By lap 10, Crafton was up to the 14th position, when the car started to get a bit tight and free off the corner.
Crafton settled into the 14th spot for the next 25 laps but worked his way up to the 13th position before the first caution flew. The Messina Wildlife Management - Menards team opted to stay out during the first caution in order to save new tires for later in the race. The race went back to green on lap 45 with the No. 88 in the eighth position. Fast on the restart, Crafton passed the No. 51 of Casey Roderick and a lap car three-wide to take the seventh position, when they crossed the line for the 46th time. Crafton then passed a car a lap to take the fifth position by lap 48.
When the second yellow flag few on lap 52, Crafton was up to the fourth position despite a tight condition. Crafton drove his No. 88 Messina Wildlife Management - Menards Ford down pit road on lap 54. The team got to work, adding fuel, changing four tires and making a trackbar adjustment during the stop.
On lap 56, the green flag was dropped again, with Crafton in the 12th position after the stop. During the next run, Crafton methodically worked his way through the field. He was up to the sixth position by lap 83. On lap 85, Crafton was the fastest car on the track and making his way to the front. A crash off turn two brought out the third caution of the day. The team elected to stay out once again.
Crafton restarted the race in the second position on lap 95. Crafton took no time to pass the leader in turn one. The No. 88 Messina Wildlife Management - Menards Ford lead the field for 28 laps, before eventual winner Tom Hessert passed Crafton on lap 124. Crafton continued to battle a tight race car and began running different lines looking for an answer. The fourth and final caution of the day was called on lap 152, with Crafton in the third position.
Crew Chief Bud Haefele called the No. 88 down pit road for a four-tire pit stop and a trackbar adjustment. Crafton came out from the stop in fourth. Unfortunately, this set of tires did not help the car on the track. Crafton radioed to the crew that the car was worse than when they came in. By lap 162, Crafton was in the fifth position. Lap 174 saw the start of an intense battle with the No. 22 of Dakoda Armstrong. The two drivers battled until lap 193 when Crafton could no longer hold-off the fast rookie. The No. 88 Messina Wildlife Management - Menards Ford finished the Prairie Meadows 200 in the fifth position.
"Scuffs were really, really good," Crafton reflected. "It's our second ARCA race, so we didn't know what tires we were going to do. We put stickers on at the end, and it went from a fairly neutral balance, free off to just dead-sideways, really, really loose with stickers. I guess we realized that scuffs were a lot better. We live and learn. All in all, it was not a bad night. We had fun tonight. We got some good TV time for Menards and Messina Wildlife Management, so it was a good outing for them too."
Crafton finished the weekend third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 200 at Iowa Speedway. The ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards will return to racing next week for the Tim Richmond Memorial ARCA 200 at Mansfield Motorsports Park.
-source: matt crafton PR