Indy IRP: GM Racing preview

Crafton Looks to Regain Momentum at IRP HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (August 3, 2004) - The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) will be the first of America's three premier motorsports series to take the green flag this weekend in Indianapolis, Ind.,...

Crafton Looks to Regain Momentum at IRP

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (August 3, 2004) - The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) will be the first of America's three premier motorsports series to take the green flag this weekend in Indianapolis, Ind., for the running of the NCTS Power Stroke Diesel 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP). Matt Crafton, driver of the No. 6 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Silverado, looks to regain momentum after his six race top-10 streak was ended last weekend in Brooklyn, Mich.

"I would be lying if I said it has not bothered me," comments Crafton. "But you can't dwell on it too much because in racing you can go from hero to zero one week to the next. We knew it was eventually going to come to an end. All good things come to an end, so we'll just pick our heads up and move on to the next one and try to start us a top-five streak."

The next race looks to be a good one for the Tulare, Calif., native. His track record of three top-10 finishes in as many tries at the .686-mile oval proves worthy to add to his current, series-leading top-10 finishes right now at 10. Three other NCTS drivers trail Crafton with nine. A win this weekend would further solidify Crafton's career-best year and help to close in on NEXTEL Cup star Kevin Harvick's pursuit of his first NCTS championship as an owner.

Points of Interest.

Runnin' It. Team GM Goodwrench will take their short-track chassis No.003 to Indianapolis Raceway Park for this weekend's 137.2-mile race. This chassis has already brought home top-10 finishes this year in Martinsville, Va., Mansfield, Ohio, Memphis, Tenn., Milwaukee, Wis., and Madison, Ill.

Track Stat. IRP is one of three racetracks where Crafton has never finished outside the top-10 since his arrival on the NCTS circuit in 2001.

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 his career-best finish of fourth came at Kentucky Speedway earlier this month.

Sights are set. Crafton's 10 top-10 finishes happen to be one shy of his 2003 total of 11 top-10 finishes. He has his sights set to surpass that mark and capture his first win with 12 races to go.

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 11.9 and his average finishes have improved from 16.3 to 10.0.

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 six of his 10 top-10 finishes.

Did you know? 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 Friday's Power Stroke Diesel 200 is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. EDT. TV coverage of the 200-lap event on SPEED starts at 8:00 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.

No. 6 GM Goodwrench driver Matt Crafton on Indianapolis Raceway Park.

Looking at your three previous top-10 finishes at IRP you seem to like the place a lot. Is that true?

"Yeah, I really like IRP. I led a few laps there in my rookie year. You can run down on the bottom of the racetrack really well. You will see some pretty good slide-jobs in the corners. I really look forward to short-track racing because the driver has a lot more input."

Does IRP remind you of any short-tracks that you grew up on in California?

"It does remind me of Irwindale Speedway. It is a racetrack in Irwindale, Calif., that I ran really well at in the past. I have always loved the side- by-side, door to door racing and that is what you get at Irwindale. IRP is going to be the same way so I am really looking forward to it."

No. 6 GM Goodwrench crew chief Wally Rogers on Indianapolis Raceway Park.

You have had top-10 finishes at all the short-tracks visited this season. How does IRP play into the equation?

"I think it is going to be a really good track for us. If we can qualify well enough, I don't see any reason why we do not have a chance to win the race this weekend. IRP also makes a great race for the fans as well as breaking up friendships in the garage with the door to door, beating and banging style of racing it offers."

Any thoughts on the team's top-10 streak coming to an end last weekend?

"I think everybody here was pretty disappointed. We had a good truck and ran competitive all day long but just couldn't free up the truck enough after our right side fender got pushed in a little bit there towards the end of the race. It wasn't like we were out to lunch or struggled at any point in time. It was just an unfortunate racing incident. We are just going to put it behind us and get on another roll."

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Kevin Harvick , Matt Crafton , Rick Carelli
Teams Michael Waltrip Racing