Crafton Secures 3rd Top Ten Finish At Darlington NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Sandusky, OHIO (May 13, 2001) - Matt Crafton's first attempt at racing the "Lady in Black" produced an 8th place finish. After a series of inconsistent practice ...
Crafton Secures 3rd Top Ten Finish At Darlington
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Sandusky, OHIO (May 13, 2001) - Matt Crafton's first attempt at racing the "Lady in Black" produced an 8th place finish. After a series of inconsistent practice sessions, No. 88 FastTrack Chevrolet Silverado crew chief, Jerry Cook, discovered the problem. The team proved to know what they were doing, bouncing back after qualifying 24th.
The truck Crafton drove at Darlington is nicknamed "Rocky". It is the same truck that won at Flemington in 1998 (8/8/98) and most recently raced at Dover finishing in 14th place. Cook discovered some of the reasons for the truck's inconsistency, however the team didn't have another chance to test prior to taking the green flag.
"We struggled the first and second day and found some problems with the Silverado Friday night, made changes Saturday morning and went into it (the race) blind," stated Matt Crafton, driver of the No. 88 Craftsman Truck, "We ended up having a good truck, the best truck we have ever had."
Over the past month the SealMaster Race team has made major strides in stepping up their performances at the track. One focus has been on pit stops. The strategy at Darlington paid off in a top 10 finish.
"My pit crew did an awesome job," stated Crafton. "They had a great pit strategy. We (the trucks) all came in together on the second yellow. We got four tires instead of two like everyone else. I figured we would be on new tires for a little while and pass a bunch of them (the other trucks). At the end of the long run we pitted and had fresher tires than the others. We had our stickers so we were definitely looking forward to going green at the end of the deal."
"I didn't want to see the race go into rain delay or a rainout," stated Crafton. "Just before the first red we put four tires on and no one else did. We were back a ways. The others made a second stop after us. We were leading the deal. We had short-pitted to keep the position and then we were doing our Indian rain dance in the pit and it didn¹t rain hard enough. We were right there at the end. We had a set of stickers on it. I definitely wanted to go back racing."
Race results from the Darlington 200 report Crafton sitting in 12th place in the driver point standings and 3rd in the points for the Rookie-of-the-Year award.
Crafton is the reigning champion in the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series. He will return to racing a limited schedule in that series starting at Pikes Peak International Raceway on May 19th. For the No. 88 SealMaster Racing team, they too will be racing at Pikes Peak. Live race coverage on ESPN of the Jelly Belly 200 begins at 2:00 p.m. (E.S.T.) on Sunday, May 20. MRN radio coverage begins at1:30 p.m.
For more information, go to www.truckseries.com, www.mattcrafton.com