Matt Crafton Finishes in the Top-five in First ARCA Start TOLEDO, Ohio (May 24, 2010) - NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) veteran Matt Crafton finished in the top-five in his first ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards start...
Matt Crafton Finishes in the Top-five in First ARCA Start
TOLEDO, Ohio (May 24, 2010) - NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) veteran Matt Crafton finished in the top-five in his first ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards start Sunday. Crafton, who finished 11th in the truck race in Charlotte late on Friday night, flew into Toledo to practice and qualify his No. 88 Messina Wildlife Management-Menards Ford at Toledo Speedway for the Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care.
After racing into the late hours on Friday night, Crafton posted the fourth fastest time in the only practice session of the weekend with a lap of 16.372 seconds (109.944 mph). He then qualified his Messina Wildlife Management-Menards Ford in the seventh spot with a time of 16.172 seconds (111.303 mph).
Competing for the race-entitled sponsor, Crafton met with several Menards representatives over the weekend and was excited to make his first start in ARCA with Menards on his car, as Menards also sponsors his NCWTS truck.
The No. 88 Messina Wildlife Management-Menards Ford took the green flag in the seventh position Sunday afternoon, directly in front of his teammate Frank Kimmel in the No. 44 Ansell-Menards Ford. Crafton, who has had previous success on short tracks, raced steadily in the top-10 for the first half of the race.
Utilizing the second caution on lap 58 to adjust the car, Crafton brought his No. 88 Messina Wildlife Management-Menards Ford down pit road to fill the gas tank and get four tires. He came out 11th and continued to race into the top-10.
Halfway through the race, Crafton received right front-end damage in an incident that ultimately led to a red flag. Crafton found his No. 88 Messina Wildlife Management-Menards Ford behind the No. 60 of Patrick Sheltra. As Sheltra slowed for the incident, Crafton made contact with the No. 60, causing front-end damage for the No. 88. Crafton then maneuvered his Ford Fusion around Sheltra and below the four cars smashed in the turn one wall. The four cars had heavy damage, causing ARCA officials to wave the red flag to clean up the track.
When the red flag was lifted and pit road was opened, Crafton drove his Ford down pit road to fix the damage and change tires. After pulling the sheet metal away from the front right tire, Crafton drove back on the track, staying on the lead lap. The damage did not appear to hinder the car, as Crafton drove up through the field to the 10th position. A caution waved on lap 140 for an incident with teammate Frank Kimmel and Steve Arpin in turn four. The No. 88 Messina Wildlife Management-Menards team took advantage of the caution flag to make further adjustments to the car.
After pitting, Crafton came out in the eighth position and held that place until a yellow flag flew on lap 170. Crafton once again pulled the No. 88 down onto pit road to get four tires. When the green was dropped for the final time, Crafton had 26 laps to work his way to the front. Crafton worked with his teammate Frank Kimmel as the two worked their way up the field. Crafton went on to finish in the fifth position.
"We were off at the beginning of the race, but we figured it out," reflected Crafton. "Our brake blowers stopped working, so my front tires would get so much air in there because of the brake temperature. We just kept waiting and waiting to put our last new tires on, we kept making adjustments throughout the whole race, and then got a ton better there at the end. I wish the race would have gone like that in the beginning. We would definitely have had something to race the race leaders with."
Crafton will return to the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards at the Prairie Meadows 200 at Iowa Speedway on July 10 at 8 p.m.
-source: kimmel racing