Bristol: Matt Crafton preview

Matt Crafton GM Goodwrench: The Rest is History at the "World's Fastest Half-Mile" HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (August 23, 2004) - The longest running sponsorship in NASCAR history, GM Goodwrench, is looking to add another page to their history books ...

Matt Crafton
GM Goodwrench: The Rest is History at the "World's Fastest Half-Mile"

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (August 23, 2004) - The longest running sponsorship in NASCAR history, GM Goodwrench, is looking to add another page to their history books Wednesday, August 25, under the lights for the running of the O'Reilly 200 presented by Valvoline Maxlife at Bristol Motor Speedway. The "World's Fastest Half-Mile" and NASCAR fans alike, will witness this when the GM Goodwrench brand will be donning the hood of Matt Crafton, driver of the No. 6 Chevrolet Silverado as well as NEXTEL Cup star and team owner, Kevin Harvick's #92 Chevrolet Silverado.

"Under the terms of our Agreement with Kevin Harvick, Inc., Kevin can run two truck races, one in a GM Goodwrench truck and one race in another sponsored truck," explains Sue Seaglund, GMSPO's Manager of Event Marketing. "He ran Snap-On in Charlotte so the Bristol event is going to be GM Goodwrench. The performance of this team has surpassed our expectations and we are very excited to be representing two trucks in Wednesday nights race."

"This team consistently runs in the top-10, often the top-five, and has been there at the finish week after week," further comments Seaglund. "To be in the top-five in points, in such a competitive year, is an accomplishment in and of itself. If we are not at the head table in 2004, we definitely know the potential is there for 2005. GMSPO through its GM Goodwrench and ACDelco brands is accustomed to sponsoring champions: Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Mike Skinner, Steve Park, and Kevin Harvick. We have sponsored champions in every major NASCAR series and we have come to expect that level of performance in all of our race teams. We would like nothing better than to add Matt Crafton to that elite list of GMSPO drivers."

This will be the second time this year Crafton will face his boss on the racetrack. Crafton and Harvick's earlier meeting this year at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May had Crafton out qualifying his boss for a career-best effort of fourth, but Harvick beat him to the checker. However, the Tulare, Calif., native's love for Bristol Motor Speedway could play into his favor, as he is focusing on his rematch with Harvick and looks to keep his series leading 12 top-10 finishes alive, but most importantly his first Truck Series win.

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

What are your thoughts on Bristol after only racing there once?

"Last year was the first time I ever raced there. I had only seen the place on TV before, but absolutely loved the place. I qualified fifth and finished sixth. I ran in the top-five the entire race. It reminds me a lot of one of Kevin's (Harvick) hometown tracks, Mesa Marin Speedway, in Bakersfield, Calif.,. I am really looking forward to Wednesday nights race especially since I get another attempt to out compete my boss to continue to prove that I was the right guy for the job."

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

What are the key ingredients in making it around the "World's Fastest Half-Mile?"

"Bristol has been great to me in the past. It is one of my favorite tracks that we go to. It is one of those places where the combination of driver and crew chief is key in getting all our equipment dialed in to where it needs to be. You need to be not too loose getting in and you need to be able to rotate in and through the center to get around well at Bristol. There will be a lot of routing and gouging all night long. It's similar to IRP, where you go to the track expecting to loose some of the friends you have made throughout the year. But that's racing and you leave everything on the track on move on to the next one."

In an effort to contain team costs and level the playing field, what are your thoughts on the new gear rule set for 2005?

"I think it will be a positive for the whole series as far as bringing newer teams up to par with the motors. But, I think if I was an engine builder, I'd be a little more disturbed because of the fact that now you have to go out and change all your cam shafts and valve spring combinations to turn less RPMs. Everybody is going to make the same amount of power. They are just going to take that power band from running, lets say, 9200 RPMs to cutting it back to only running 8800 RPMs."

Points of Interest...

*Runnin' It...Team GM Goodwrench will take chassis No. 004 to Bristol Motor Speedway for this weekend's 106.6-mile race. This chassis has brought home top-10 finishes in 2004 at Lowe's Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway as well as top-five finishes at Kansas Speedway and Kentucky Speedway.

*Track Stat...Crafton had only seen Bristol Motor Speedway on TV before going there last year. He qualified fifth and finished sixth.

*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 he most recently tied that mark at Nashville Superspeedway. His career-best finish of fourth came at Kentucky Speedway in July.

*Sights are set...Crafton's series leading 12 top-10 finishes in 2004 surpass his total top-10 finishes in 2003 and with 10 races to go, his sights are set on knocking down his top-5 finishes and to capture his first win.

*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 11.8 and his average finishes have improved from 16.3 to 9.6.

*Birds eye view...Veteran NASCAR driver Rick Carelli has been in the spotter stand since Texas in June and has helped steer Crafton to two of his three top-five finishes and eight of his 12 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 Wednesday's O'Reilly 200 is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. EDT. TV coverage of the 200-lap event on SPEED starts at 9:00 p.m. EDT, with radio coverage on MRN beginning at 8:30 p.m. EDT. Remember times and dates of the race may change, so check your local listings.


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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Michael Waltrip , Steve Park , Mike Skinner , Kevin Harvick , Matt Crafton , Rick Carelli
Teams Michael Waltrip Racing