Matt Crafton No. 88 Menards/Australian Gold Chevrolet Preview: Atlanta Sandusky, Oh. (March 1, 2010) -- Matt Crafton is anxious to return to the intermediate speedways that make up a significant portion of the 2010 NASCAR Camping World Truck ...
Matt Crafton No. 88 Menards/Australian Gold Chevrolet Preview: Atlanta
Sandusky, Oh. (March 1, 2010) -- Matt Crafton is anxious to return to the intermediate speedways that make up a significant portion of the 2010 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule. The 1.5-mile tracks have given the team numerous top-five and top-ten finishes over the past several seasons, including Crafton's first career win at Charlotte in 2008. Crafton returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway looking for some redemption after a late-race scrape with another driver cost him a chance for a top-five result.
Do you have some unfinished business at Atlanta after last year? "The most frustrating part of that race last year was that we had one of the best trucks we had all season and we ended up with one of our worst finishes. We ran with Kevin (Harvick) all race long, it was just the two of us up at the front. Every time there was a caution, the green would come back out and we'd just take off and hide. Late in the race we lost a lot of track position because we took tires and a bunch of the other guys either didn't take tires or just took two. Once we were in the back we just couldn't get back up to the front no matter what. Then Ron (Hornaday) got to racing us really hard. We ended up eleventh with a truck that could have won the race, so yeah, we're going back there with some unfinished business to take care of."
Why do you and the No. 88 team perform so well on the mile-and-a-half speedways? "When Bud (Haefele) joined the team a few years ago and became the crew chief we looked at where we needed to improve. Our short track program was really good then but we were a little weaker on the intermediate stuff. He came in and really stepped up our entire program, and our performance at the intermediate tracks has been a big part of that."
How much of a boost does coming out of Daytona with a top-five finish give you for the rest of the season? "As long as I have been going to Daytona and as brutal as that place has been to us over the years, it is really awesome to come out of there with a top five finish and not have a huge points deficit to overcome. You can always use momentum to your advantage and it's given the guys back at the shop a big boost in confidence too."
Crafton at Atlanta: Matt Crafton has ten previous starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, collecting three top-five finishes and five top-ten finishes. His best finish is third, coming in the March race in 2007. His average start is 17.6 and his average finish is 11.6. He has completed 1,267 of a possible 1,313 competition laps (96.5%) and has been running at the finish of all ten previous starts at Atlanta.
Crafton's Atlanta Truck: Crafton will race ThorSport Racing Chassis 31 at Atlanta. No. 31 is the truck Crafton raced at the majority of the intermediate tracks in 2009, including runner-up finishes at Texas (June), Las Vegas, Texas (November) and Homestead. It is the first time Crafton will race this chassis in 2010.
-source: thorsport racing