BRISTOL, Tenn. - On a night when he posted his career-best qualifying effort and matched his career-best finish, Matt Crafton sat on the front stretch wall of the Bristol Motor Speedway shaking his head and lamenting what might have been. "They...
BRISTOL, Tenn. - On a night when he posted his career-best qualifying effort and matched his career-best finish, Matt Crafton sat on the front stretch wall of the Bristol Motor Speedway shaking his head and lamenting what might have been.
"They knew we were here tonight," Crafton said. "But that's not quite enough. We spent over 100 laps in the top-five tonight but weren't there at the end. We just ran out of tires, got tight and some guys got by us at the end."
Crafton ran third behind Kevin Harvick and Travis Kvapil for more than 70 laps as the circuits waned in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 200. Having pitted for tires and fuel on lap 49, the tires on Crafton's Menards/Enzyme Magic Chevrolet Silverado wore thin in the final laps.
He surrendered positions to Robert Pressley, Rick Crawford, Brendan Gaughan and Dennis Setzer, falling to seventh as the field raced toward the white flag. A tire exploded on Harvick's truck, putting the leader into the wall and handing the win to Kvapil. The incident allowed Crafton to move back to sixth, matching his career-best finish.
The finish was Crafton's best since he took sixth position in a race in Fountain, Colo. in May, 2001. Crafton started 54 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race between the sixth-place performances.
"We're still looking for that first top-five, and that's frustrating," Crafton said. "We got a top-five qualifying run today. We're getting close to getting a top-five finish. It's only a matter to time now."
The O'Reilly Auto Parts 200 was Crafton's first race at the Bristol Motor Speedway. It was his 13th top-ten finish in a race marking the first time he'd run at a track.
The series continues with a race in Richmond, Va. Thursday, September 4.